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Historic evolution of

gastronomy:
when, why and how
cuisines have evolved
Kevin Fields
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Kevin Fields

How Did We Get from This?

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Kevin Fields

To this?
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Kevin Fields

From hunter / gatherers,


weve progressed to
consumers who view food
as more than just fuel for
our bodies.
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Kevin Fields

Initially, we ate what we could


catch or forage. Then it was
catch, forage or cultivate.
Now it is what we can catch,
cultivate, forage (not so common
anymore) or fly in from around
the world.
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Kevin Fields

In the developmental stages


from eating merely to survive, to
becoming sophisticated
consumers, there have been a
range of significant stages.

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Kevin Fields

Those stages apply across two


areas, what Gillespie (2001)
refers to as:

Gastro-geography
and

Gastro10/07/15
Kevin Fields
history

Gastro-geography
The food available to our
ancestors was determined by the
type of terrain and the prevailing
weather conditions in their
locality.
This controlled what would grow
(wild or cultivated), or what
could be caught or reared
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Kevin Fields

Gastro-history
This concerns food items,
influences and techniques
learned through trading with
adjacent nations, and brought
back by explorers traveling
further afield.

Migration of people has also


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Kevin Fields

Within Europe, the advent of


Greek civilisation brought about
much of what we know today
about eating habits and ancient
societies.
The writings of Archestrate,
Greek poet and gastronome (4 th
century BC), provides information
about early Greek gastronomy, but
very 10/07/15
little has actually
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Sicilian cooks were prized assets


for many rich Greeks.
The competition to deliver the
best food for guests resulted in a
move for feasts to be based on
quality, rather than quantity.
Standards of food production
increased.
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The Romans also played a major


part in the development of
gastronomy.
Apicius wrote about the ..art of
the table and recorded recipes,
processes and the dining habits
of Imperial Rome.
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Further gastronomic advances


were made as the very rich
competed with each other to
serve the best dishes to guests.
This process was enhanced by
the Roman habit of bringing back
foodstuffs and processes from
conquered lands, adding them to
their own culinary customs.
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The Romans also had a


gastronomic impact on conquered
countries.
Example - Britain.
Apples, garlic, onions, shallots,
leeks, cabbages, peas, celery,
turnips, radishes, asparagus,
rabbits possibly even chickens
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introduced by
the Romans. 14
Kevin Fields

The next significant stage is


probably the influence that
Portuguese explorers had by
bringing back previously
unknown foodstuffs to Europe.
Potatoes, peppers, tomatoes etc
are key ingredients in many
modern European diets
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Another stage in the development of


gastronomy, possibly a key one, was
the French Revolution. The death of
the aristocracy left many skilled chefs
out of work with little prospect of
ever again finding a fine household to
practice their art in.
The solution is that many of them
opened eating houses - perhaps
restaurants is too fine a word in their
early stages - but its what they
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became.

The advent of these restaurants


brought dining, rather than
eating, to the public in general
those that could afford it rather
than it being the domain of the
very rich.
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In the early 1900s our knowledge of


the world around us was greatly
advanced by the advent of cinema,
including newsreels between the main
feature.
Previously, if you werent one of the
very small percentage of the
population with experience of travel,
all knowledge was gathered through
Kevin Fields
books,10/07/15
papers, and magazines.

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The next significant stage was


the increasing popularity of
tourism. From the 1960s to the
present day, tourists from the
developed world have travelled,
learned, and then looked for
similar experiences,
gastronomically speaking, back
in their
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We now have critical mass of


experienced, knowledgeable,
adventurous, sophisticated
diners whose wants and needs
help push the boundaries of
gastronomic provision.
People who accept that
gastronomy is both an art and a
science.
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Modern Media
As well as knowledge developed
through experience, vicarious
learning takes place as we
absorb knowledge through the
experiences of others.
Travel programmes have done
much to teach us about food from
places well never visit.
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Modern Developments
Many tourism destinations have
developed gastronomic provision
through delivering an
international menu ensuring the
food is recognisable and
acceptable to visiting tourists.
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While some tourists will always seek


out the familiar, more and more are
looking for something different.
Food which represents both the
heritage and culture of the
destination. Not just national dishes
but regional specialities as well.
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This is an ideal time for this to


happen.
As our concern for the
environment grows, issues such as
food miles the distance that food
travels from production to
consumption are reaching public
consciousness.
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The promotion of local cuisine


satisfies environmental criteria, as
well as cultural ones.
Additionally, the benefits of tourism
are that much greater if economic
leakages are reduced as more food
is produced locally, and less is
imported.
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In summary, the greatest impact


upon the development of gastronomy
has been the movement of people.
Whether that movement was for
trade, for war, for tourism, or for
economic migration.
As the movement of people is
unlikely to cease, so is the
development of gastronomy unlikely
to cease.
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The gastronomy of a region may


rightly be considered to be part of
the culture and heritage of that
region, but just as culture grows and
evolves, so does gastronomy.
As it evolves, making it part of your
tourism product can only be
beneficial.
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So how did we get


from this?
To this?

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