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Sidonie Naulin

Media and the building of a «gastronomic world» (1870-1940)

Le Temps des médias n° 24, Printemps-Été 2015, p. 26-43.


The last decades of the 19th century and the Interwar Years represent a crucial moment in the history of food media. During this period, a new type of media – food guides – and a new way of talking about food – the nostalgic and nationalist chronicle – appeared. Based on the analysis of historical and sociological studies, this article shows how food media discourses contributed to the constitution of a « gastronomic world ». At the beginning of the 20th century, gastronomic guides, magazines, and newspapers’ columns created at the end of the previous century multiplied and got more visible. With the expansion of tourism, the consumption of gastronomic meals developed as an upper class practice. At the same time, gastronomic discourses increasingly valued regional cuisines. These discourses had two dimensions : a political dimension centered around identity – cultural regionalism – and, at the same time, an economic dimension emphasizing modernity – economic regionalism. Food media were thereby key to the articulation between cultural and economic values.

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