IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 728: New Approaches to Food History

Tuesday 10 July 2007, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Alice Choyke, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest
Paper 728-aTable Manners in Late Medieval Germany
(Language: English)
Mamina Arinobu, Institut für vergleichende Städtegeschichte, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Social History
Paper 728-bThe Integration of Food and Cooking from Medieval Europe to Finland
(Language: English)
Marja Hartola, Department of European Ethnology, University of Turku
Index terms: Daily Life, Folk Studies
Paper 728-cWhat's in a Piece of Pork?: Musings on Chinese Food, Medicine, and Culture
(Language: English)
Sherry J. Mou, Department of Modern Languages, DePauw University, Indiana
Index terms: Daily Life
Paper 728-dThe Consumption of Meat and the Mentalities in the Later Middle Ages Urban World: Barcelona in the 14th and 15th Centuries
(Language: Español)
Ramón Agustín Banegas López, Departamento de Història Medieval Paleografia i Diplomática, Universitat de Barcelona
Index terms: Daily Life, Economics - Urban, Medicine, Mentalities

Paper a: Between the 13th and the 15th century in Germany and other parts of Europe many texts were written which are known as table manners (Tischzuchtliteratur). Some of them are independent and others are written as a part of conduct or manner books. There were at least three factors which influenced these table manners: the social role of the banquet, the tradition of medieval literature and the demand for good behaviour in the court society. The importance of good manners in the aristocratic society at court and the meaning of table manners in it are to be revealed.
Paper b: The Catholic Church unified the food and cooking in the whole of medieval Europe. After Finland was Christianised in 1155, people in this remote land could no longer eat meat every day because of Lent. The innovations of the food and cooking landed in Finland from other European countries sometimes very quickly, sometimes after some hundred years. Because we have been between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, we have also been influenced by the eastern food and cooking. Most of the innovations came, however, through Germany, Sweden, and Estonia.
Paper c: Named after its inventor, the famous poet, court official, and Neo-Confucian scholar Eastern Slope Su (Su Dongpo, 1036-1101), ‘Dongpo Pork’ was made from pork he received from grateful commoners in appreciation of his judicious governing of a region in southern China.
A few centuries later, a sculptor transformed a piece of jade into a Dongpo Pork. Today, this jade piece is paired with a jade napa cabbage to form the yin-yang ideal of food intake, and the two are among the three most valued pieces of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. From the centuries-old recipe Su Dongpo left us to the meaty jade sculpture on permanent display in Taipei, it is clear that food is not just ‘food’
to the Chinese; it is also medicine, art, philosophy, and politics, a holistic view to life and living. The paper will examine these aspects and how food was symbolically and practically integral in Chinese culture from before Su Dongpo’s time for several centuries afterwards.
Paper d: In the medieval cities, food provisioning is one of the main worries of the municipal governments, these governments to regulate the sale create a legal frame of reference inspired by a series of sources of medical, religious and even popular character. The case of meat is a very particular case, since it is the second food in importance in the urban diets of Later Middle Ages, after bread; but simultaneously it is the most controversial food from a medical and a moral point of view. It is precisely the polemic character of meat that makes the municipal governments to generate great quantities of documentation about its sale.