Transitions in culinary cultures? A comparative study of France and Britain

Gatley, Andy (2012) Transitions in culinary cultures? A comparative study of France and Britain. Doctoral thesis, City University, London.

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Final_thesis July 2012.pdf

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Considerable popular, academic and policy debate surrounds the alleged decline in cooking skills within contemporary society, the factors influencing domestic food practices and the impact upon diet and health. Often regarded as a global phenomenon, it appeared pertinent to undertake a cross-cultural comparative analysis and compare current domestic food practices in Britain with France. France was selected because, while it shares many similarities with Britain, it possesses a radically different food culture.
The research drew on a range of perspectives and disciplines and the first stage of the fieldwork involved interviewing members of the public in both countries about who cooks what, how, when and why. The second stage asked ‘experts’ within the policy domain to comment on the emerging narrative and discuss the implications of any ‘culinary transitions’ for policy development.
Both countries have witnessed changes in food supply, and combined with the demands of modern life, have resulted in a decline in cooking. However, food, cooking and eating remains symbolically more significant to French people’s cultural identity. A powerful culinary discourse was widely celebrated and frequently articulated by the State to underpin France’s national identity. Such attachment to a deep rooted culinary culture has acted as a bulwark against globalising tendencies within the food system.
Food related policy in France has supported French food and a ‘traditional’ daily model of three highly structured meals, often consumed in the company of others. In Britain, uncoordinated policies to promote healthier diets, lifestyles and occasionally cooking have occurred but with little focus on culture. The situation in Britain now demands a strategic approach supported via the state, the community and an understanding of how cultural practices, including the ability to cook, underpin how people make the choices they do from their food environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Hospitality and tourism
Depositing User: Marzena Dybkowska
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 14:53
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:18


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