A Boyar Wedding Feast, by Konstantin Makovsky, 1883 / Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens via Wikimedia Commons
There is scarcely an aspect of daily cultural practice which illustrates the processes of transformation in European culture as clearly as daily nutrition. Indeed, securing the latter was essential for the daily fight for survival right up to the mid-19th century, with large sections of the population frequently being confronted with harvest failures and food shortages resulting from wars, extreme weather, pests, fire, changes in the agrarian order, and population growth. Consequently, food and drink were central both in daily life and in the celebration of feasts, and provided an opportunity for social differentiation. The hope for better nutrition was the primary impetus for many migration processes and a canvas onto which desires were projected. The “Land of Cockaigne” motif, which can be traced from the Frenchman Fabliau de Coquaignes in the 13th century to Erich Kästner’s (1899–1974) children’s book “Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee” (1931), is a classic example of this.
Daily nutrition1 has in the past been dependent on many exogenous factors, and remains so.2 Individual preferences have only begun to play a more significant role in nutrition since the second half of the 20th century. Particularly in pre-modern society, what people ate was decided to a far greater degree by political, economic, and religious factors. The selection of foods, but also the dining culture and the norms of behaviour at the table were defined by tradition, and were considered to be binding on all members of society.3
For much of the modern era, European culinary culture exhibited enormous spatial and social diversity, which persisted well into the 20th century.4 However, this broad spectrum of traditions, which in effect only had an emphasis on energy-rich foods and protein-rich products in common, began to narrow from the 16th century onward – at least among the European social elite – as French aristocratic cuisine became the . In the 20th century, another dominant culinary culture, the , arrived on the scene, but this was now based on production, products aimed at a mass market, and in particular on a new dining context, which over time played a central role in the dissolution of established dining chronologies.5
Many aspects of daily nutrition have left little trace in the historical sources. This is particularly true of the rural context and of foodstuffs which were neither traded nor taxed, such as herbs and vegetables from garden plots, and mushrooms and berries gathered in the autumn. We nevertheless know, for example, that turnips, cabbages, beans, and peas, along with leeks, celery, and pumpkins formed the basis of the diet of the rural population. At the beginning of the 16th century, white cabbage, red cabbage, and savoy cabbage were added to the diet, and Brussels sprouts, swedes, cauliflowers, mangolds and lettuce were added from the late 16th century. The fertileof , the low countries and, in particular, were far superior to the less fertile soils of and when it came to growing these new vegetables. In the sparsely populated Scandinavian north, horticulture was not possible at all. However, gathering fruits and plants in forests played a more important role there.
Between 1866 and 1868, Finland and northern Sweden experienced a dramatic famine, during which approximately 15 % of the inhabitants of the region died. Having experienced a number of bad harvests in the preceding years, extreme rain during the summer of 1866 resulted in a total harvest failure, and the subsequent winter was particularly harsh. The harvest of 1867 was also largely destroyed by inclement weather. This sketch published in the newspaper Fäderneslandet shows the efforts of a starving family to feed itself with tree bark and leather. The situation only began to return to normal from 1868. / Wikimedia Commons
We have more detailed information regarding the consumption of alcohol, as this has left deeper traces in the historical sources – for both fiscal reasons and reasons of public order – which is why this topic is dealt with in greater detail in this article.6 There are a number of distinct phases in the history of nutrition in the modern period, though these overlap to a considerable degree, affecting one another but also diverging. For this reason, it is difficult to draw a hard and fast distinction between them. However, two large phases emerge rather clearly. There was the period, which ended with the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) and which gave rise to different dietary systems in close proximity due to the differences between the confessions of the issue of fasting. And there was the , which caused numerous harvest failures and continuing undernourishment up to the 19th century. However, new foods from other continents and the colonies also appeared on the menu in Europe during this period, and table manners which were formerly only observed among the aristocracy gradually became the norm among broader sections of the population.
The End of Medieval Cuisine?
At the beginning of the modern period, the diet in 7 though it is likely that roughly 50 kilograms of meat per person was consumed annually in the territory north of the . Meat consumption was considerably higher in the northern part of the German-speaking territory than in the , for example.8remained very similar to the medieval period, and old traditions were only replaced gradually. For the majority of the population – particularly in the towns and cities of – this meant that the calorie intake was higher compared to the preceding centuries, and compared to the 18th century and the early 19th century. It is estimated that roughly 200 kilograms of cereals was consumed per person annually. Recent research suggests that the consumption of meat was lower during this period than academics had previously assumed,
A complete daily ration usually consisted of a morning meal after the morning work had been completed (“prandium” or “imbs”) and an evening meal. In addition to these, up to three other meals were consumed daily: morning soup, supper and nightcap. Among the poor, the dietary staples were primarily bread and a kind of porridge (a puree made with grain, usually cooked in lard). The whiter the bread, the more refined it was considered to be. In the case of meat, boiled soup meat was the simplest and the cheapest option. Roasts, poultry, and game were more prestigious, and they were the preserve of the nobility.
There were also differences between rich and poor with regard to the consumption of fish, which was primarily consumed on fast days, of which there were up to 150 annually. The wealthier section of the population availed of a range of fresh salt-water and fresh-water fish. Salmon was the most popular species. As a fresh-water fish, it could be caught relatively easily almost everywhere in central Europe. In addition to native river crabs, the poor primarily ate salted or dried sea fish, even in regions far from the coast. From the mid-14th century, fish farming flourished in a broad belt stretching from, and through to and , providing a good supply of fresh-water fish up to the early 16th century. There were also dramatic differences between the social classes when it came to the supply of vegetables. The poor could scarcely afford anything other than dried legumes, while the rich could purchase fresh seasonal vegetables, and in the larger cities they could even buy citrus fruits from time to time.
The consumption of alcohol underwent a fundamental change at the beginning of the modern period. From the late medieval period onward, less wine was produced and consumed, primarily due to the increasingly unsuitable climate. Additionally, from the 14th century to the 16th century, the bottom-fermented hops beers, which could be stored for much longer, increasingly replaced the older gruit ales, which were brewed using a mixture of herbs.9 Wine – often spiced, sugared, and heated – then became a central element of the drinks culture of the higher social classes throughout Europe. However, the volume of alcoholic drinks consumed was not nearly as large as earlier studies of customs and culture had assumed. According to realistic estimations, the average consumption in , one of the wealthiest cities during that period, lay at most between 175 and 295 litres of beer per person annually.10 However, many people drank mainly – or exclusively – water, as pre-modern agrarian society was not capable of producing ingredients of sufficient quality for brewing in sufficient quantities.
The Flemish peasant wedding depicted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525–1569) provides insights into the traditions of peasant feasting in the 16th century. Bread, soup, and porridge are visible on the tables, while beer is served as a drink. The bride is sitting under a green baldachin, and a group of musicians provide the entertainment for the guests. / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The combination of food, the community, and public display played a central role in social and cultural life. This was fundamentally true of the agrarian context. Painted inaround 1568 and still medieval in structure, De Boerenbruiloft (The Peasant Wedding) by depicts this phenomenon. Due to numerous saints’ days, feast days, and public holidays, urban artisans worked no more than 265 days annually, which is equivalent to the modern five-day week. The food consumed on work-free days differed to that consumed on workdays for it was richer and higher in protein. However, just like during the week, it was consumed in a group, usually with work colleagues rather than with the family, and the dining context reflected hierarchies and traditions.
Elaborate and formal public feasts served to demonstrate hierarchical structures.11 For example, the aldermen of the wealthy city of on Lake Constance put on a feast in December 1452 in honour of the mayor and the reeve. As the city accounts record “100 mannen” as guests, we can conclude that no women were invited. The city accounts detail exactly what was served. The organizers purchased 95 pounds of beef, 37 pounds of pork and 18 pounds of sausage, as well as 30 fat hens, 31 ducks, and 121 thrushes. They also procured spices, sugar, almonds, saffron, and 110 eggs, in addition to 300 carp and pike, and 140 smaller fish in order to prepare the stock for the popular Galrey fish galantine. In addition to these enormous quantities of fish and meat, bread, rice, cake, cheese, confectionery, and nuts were provided. 537 litres of wine were served. Compared to the vast expenditure on food, the crockery provided was decidedly modest. 120 bowls and 120 wooden plates were bought, as well as Tellerbrot (literally “plate bread”), i.e. bread which was used to eat on.12
However, it is debatable whether these details can be taken at face value in a cultural analysis of the feast. Did each guest really eat two kilos of meat, numerous fish, and trimmings, and drink five litres of wine? That was certainly not the case. We must assume instead that the leftovers were brought home, donated to the poor, or given to employees of the city as a form of inflation-free payment-in-kind.
The transition from the medieval to the modern period had comparatively little effect at the dinner table, and many basic structures of medieval mealtimes persisted well into the 16th century. However, this does not apply to behaviour at the table. A range of French rules of behaviour from the mid-15th century clearly demonstrate how difficult it was even for people in the higher social classes to depart from older norms, for example to not dig into all the bowls with their hands at the beginning of the meal, to not toss gnawed bones back into the bowl or over their shoulders, or even just to wash their hands before eating.13 The “Prozeß der Zivilisation” (“civilizing process”)14 proceeded at best very gradually. In the late 15th century, many archaic characteristics persisted. On the one hand, people were still placing gnawed chicken bones back in the bowl, while, on the other hand, there was much discussion about the rules regarding fasting and the godlessness of gluttony.
During the course of the 15th century, Tischzucht (table discipline) was also discussed in the more urbanized regions of the German-speaking territory. One of the earliest such documents was a book entitled Von tisch zucht published in 1471 by 15, whose family were burgesses of . This work discusses among other things the hierarchy at the table and the importance of saying grace. Hätzlerin also encourages her readers not to use the tablecloth to blow their nose. Such rules soon became standard for the entire European bourgeoisie and they signalled the emerging homogenization of the dining culture of the European bourgeoisie and aristocracy.
At the beginning of the early modern period, taverns, along with other public places such as ports, churches and markets, were one of the major hubs for news, most of which were brought by travellers and transmitted orally. / Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, Amb. 317.2°
During the transition to the modern period, hostelries also emerged as an integrative component of the European culture of dining and imbibing. Particularly along trade routes and in cities, multifunctional hostelries became common and served as centres ofand the exchange of news, while in the countryside and in the sparsely populated regions of and eastern Europe, the older, archaic hospitality remained dominant.
Jan Steen (1626–1679) was a native of Leiden and his paintings capture numerous scenes from daily life in the Netherlands in the 17th century. His depiction of a tavern garden in summer shows not only the very simple food offered to the guests, which consisted of just a few different foods, but also the gregarious life of the time. / Bildagentur für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte (bpk)
We can summarize that the structure of the European diet changed comparatively little between 1450 and 1550, even in spite of theof the . However, the Reformation brought about more abrupt changes because it fundamentally changed the culture of fasting and feasting by getting rid of the feast days for saints in many territories (those that became Protestant). Additionally, the in particular resulted in a fundamentally more critical reappraisal of food consumption. condemned the supposed drunkenness of the Germans, but he himself did not fundamentally reject earthly indulgences. and , on the other hand, condemned all gluttony. Additionally, the strict fasting regulations which had persisted up to the Reformation were relaxed in the Protestant territories, or even reversed. Thus a bitter controversy soon emerged at the borders between Catholic and Protestant milieus over the supposedly correct diet, and this controversy had a considerable effect on people’s daily habits. What was served at mealtimes in the northern , in , and in and how public taverns were evaluated and, in particular, regulated, now differed considerably from those territories which had remained Catholic.
Consumption and Innovation at the Beginning of the Modern Period – Rice, Buckwheat, and Meat
Pietro Andrea Mattioli, Discorsi 1544, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
At the beginning of the modern period, the cuisine of the ruling elite and the dietary culture of the broader masses, which remained medieval in structure and heavily spiced, still received their primary impulses from 16. In particular, the old of dominated the cuisines of central Europe. Rice cultivation blossomed in in the late 15th century, and soon spread to central Europe as a result of trans-Alpine trade. While riso had previously been cultivated in monasteries and ground to make a binding agent for ointment, the political campaigns of individual rulers – particularly the Milanese duke – resulted in the large-scale cultivation of rice south of the . Compared to the established cereals, rice offered the prospect of a much higher yield and thus of an additional support in the event of food shortages. Promoted by advisory tracts such as the Discorsi (“Speeches”, 1544) of , the cultivation of rice spread throughout the whole of northern Italy during the course of the 16th century. In the well-watered , the “treasure of the swamps” (Mattioli) was already a standard component in the meals of the broader population by 1550.
Spoon, fork and knife of the king, 1727, BnF Gallica.
The Italian courts also influenced the refined cuisine of the European ruling class. The kitchen at the court of 17 Thus, eating with a fork instead of with one’s hands reached France via the court of Caterina de Medici, who became queen of France when her husband acceded to the throne in 1547. During the course of the 16th century, the table cutlery became more diversified until French aristocratic dining ultimately established the standard place setting which still applies today.was one of the main centres of innovation into the 16th century, where cooks like introduced numerous Catalan, Castilian, and Moorish influences, as detailed in early cookbooks such as Nola’s Lybre de doctrina Pera ben Servir: de Tallar: y del Art de Coch (“Textbook of Good Serving, of Cutting, and of the Art of Cooking”, 1520). The court of also became something of a guiding example of European court dining. The Florentine influence brought about a strong refinement of courtly table manners in particular. reported in his Journal du Voyage en Italie (“Journal of Travels in Italy”, 1580/1581): “Vor jene Personen, denen eine besondere Ehre erwiesen werden soll, stellen sie große silberne Platten. Darüber liegen eine vierfach gefaltete Serviette, Brot, Messer, Löffel und Gabel.”
The broader population in Europe was not initially affected by the civilising process which was led by the Italian courts and subsequently the French court. Instead, eastern Europe became an innovative space for simple rural cooking during the transition from the medieval to the modern period. Among the more significant innovations was the widespread cultivation of buckwheat, which entered eastern central Europe from Russia and subsequently spread to the countries south of the Alps, andand via Black Sea trade. The cultivation of buckwheat ultimately spread to the Netherlands and via seaborne trade between Venice and .
The large livestock herds from the territory of present-day 18 Descriptions of the supposedly sparse diet of the rural population are somewhat contradicted by these figures. Although wrote of the peasant diet in 1520 that “[g]eringes Brot, Haferbrei oder gekochte Bohnen bildet die Speise der Bauern, Wasser oder Molken ihren Trank”,19 the available figures show that a more nuanced understanding is required. The consumption of meat in the daily diet of the rural population was indeed mainly limited to boiled pieces of meat, which were eaten with porridge, soup, or coarse bread. This form of preparation involved only a small loss of fat compared to roasting, especially since all edible parts could be used. Meat as a dish on its own or roasted – as enjoyed by the aristocracy – was a prestige food which was reserved for important religious feasts and other important customary occasions, such as weddings and kermises., Poland, and , which were driven to the cities of central Europe, also played a large role in the food supply of central Europe. Consequently, the consumption of meat in central Europe reached a level during the 16th century which has not been replicated until the 21th century. It is estimated that more than 100 kilograms of meat was consumed per person per annum in the first decades of the 1500s, which corresponds to a daily meat consumption of nearly 1 kilogram for a family of three.
Hieronymus Bock, Teutsche Speißkammer 1555, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
The relative cultural prestige of the various types of meat also requires a more nuanced understanding. For example, the meat content of the daily diet of the rural population of central Europe was almost exclusively pig meat. Thus, 20 However, dietary orders, invoices and other sources pertaining to cities and their citizenry show that pork and (in contrast to the present day) beef were less preferred in the cities. Roast veal and mutton were the highest status meats.wrote in his work Teutsche Speißkammer (für gesunde und Kranke), which was published in 1555, that “Vnsere Bawren essen viel lieber feißt Schweinenfleisch gesotten vnd gebraten, dann alle hüner. Sie sagen auch, wann ein Saw federn hett, vnnd könt über ein Zaun fliegen, übertreffe sie alles gevögel vnd federspil.”
An extraordinarily detailed dietary order of the imperial countgives detailed information regarding the quantities consumed, sorts of meat and preparation techniques in the kitchens of the aristocracy and the commoners. According to the order, serfs received:
Des morgens ain suppen oder gemues [im Sinne von Mus = Brei]. ain millich den arbeittern. den andern ain suppen. – Des Mittags suppen vnd flaisch. ain kraut, ain pfeffer oder eingemacht flaisch. ain gemues oder mylich. IIII essen. – Des Nachts. Suppen vnd flaisch. ruben vnd flaisch oder eingemacht flaisch. ain gemues oder millich. III essen.21
This was in stark contrast to the roast dishes of game, poultry, and innards on the table of the imperial count:
An aim flaischtag auff vnsern tisch. Ain voressen. täglich geendert. Alß von voglen, wildpret. wurst. Kalbskopf. kröß. gelung. leber. kudlfleck etc. – Suppen des morgens offt eingeschniten vnd flaisch Henne oder Höner. so die wol vorhanden sind. darain. – kraut vnd ruben gesatten. So gut ochsen da sind ain stuck des flaisch. – Ain pfeffer. darjnn wildpret. zungen. Ejtter etc. – Ain gemues verendert all tag. – Ain eingebickts [Gepökeltes]. Sülts oder kaltfues [Kalbsfuß] etc. Ain prättes [Gebratenes] zwayer oder dreyerley. – So man sew metziget. ain stuck schweines prötlin. Ain reys. gersten. kern. lynsin etc. – Er mag auch geben für ein vor oder mittelessen. Ochsenhyrn gesotten oder gebachen. ein gebaiß [gebeizt] lendpratten von ochssen. Des Nachts sollen zway essen minder gegeben werden. alß ain pfeffer vnd ain gemues. ist VI essen.22
It is furthermore necessary to be cognisant of regional differences, as the types and quantities of meat consumed varied considerably between northern Europe,, , and eastern Europe. Thus, hospital accounts and other sources for southern Germany demonstrate that the rural diet there was considerably more sparse that in the regions between the Netherlands and the Central German Uplands. While in the latter regions boiled meat eaten with bread was an integral part of the daily diet, the diet in southern Germany at the beginning of the 16th century was more herbivorous. Bread was even less common in southern Germany, where soups, porridge, and flour-based foods played a more significant role.
Vegetarian food became dominant throughout central Europe from the second half of the 16th century at the latest. While the consumption of meat in the Mediterranean region remained relatively constant during this period at approximately 30 kilograms per person per annum, a shortage of meat and animal fats became a permanent feature of the diet in central and northern Europe, which in some regions persisted right into the 20th century. The decisive factor in this development was the sharp rise in food prices in the 16th century while wages remained relatively constant and the population grew strongly.23 Additionally, the area of land devoted to the cultivation of cereals in central Europe grew at the expense of the area devoted to livestock farming. Areas in southern Germany and the Alpine region which were particularly affected compensated for the scarcity of meat in the daily diet with the introduction of flour-based dishes24 – Swabian noodles (Spätzle), Bavarian dumplings (Klöße) and Austrian pancakes (Palatschinken) are present-day reminders of this change. The boarder population now scarcely consumed meat at all outside of the important feast days, and the general consumption of meat in the German-speaking territory fell drastically from about 100 kilograms per person per annum around 1500 to only 16 kilograms per person per annum around 1800.25
After bread had become the main staple of a large majority of the European population in the 16th and 17th centuries, its cultural and symbolic significance also increased. So-called Gebildbrote (figuratively shaped bread) like the one shown in the photograph were baked for religious feasts in particular, but also for other ceremonial occasions. / Deutsche Fotothek Dresden, signature 32008611
The proverbial “daily bread” gained its position of central importance in the European daily diet during this period, accounting for up to 75 per cent of the calorie intake of the total population in the German-speaking territory between the 16th and the 18th centuries. Numerous customs (for example, the large significance of the Gebildbrote, i.e. bread which is shaped to represent or symbolize something, such as an animal), proverbs, and expressions are continuing evidence of the central importance of bread in the historical daily culture of central Europe. Generally speaking, in central Europe bread was consumed from an earlier period and in larger quantities than in 26 porridge dishes – which were harder to digest but could be prepared using less energy, and were viewed as more primitive – continued to be eaten for a considerable period in the poorer rural regions of Europe, for example in the Central German Uplands. The same is true for the broad tillage plains of eastern Europe, such as those in Hungary.27, where maize played a much bigger role, and the . However, it is important to note both geographical and social variations when discussing bread consumption in pre-industrial Europe. While bread had become the predominant staple in rural areas of central Germany where tillage farming predominated as early as the early 16th century,
Health surveys (Physikatsberichte) from the mid-19th century illustrate, for example, that the population in 28, which was rural and had hardly experienced any industrial development, only ate bread on feast days, and otherwise predominantly ate soup, potatoes, and porridge. The types of bread consumed are also subject to geographical and social variation. While bread made of wheat flour was baked almost exclusively in the Mediterranean region, in the German-speaking territory fine wheaten bread was viewed as a prestige food of the higher social classes. North of the Alps, bread was primarily made using rye flour, with regional variations in terms of the spices added and the fineness to which the rye was ground.
Early Internationalisation and Innovations in the 17th and 18th Centuries – Potatoes, Maize and Hot Drinks
A plaque which was attached to the outward-facing surface of the garden wall of the Henri-Arnaud-Haus in 1899 refers to the planting of the first potato in Württemberg, which is attributed to Henri Arnaud himself. The plaque reads:”Arnaud once planted the first potatoes / here in Swabia / What a blessing he peacefully created / This felicitous hero!” / Henri-Arnaud-Haus in Ötisheim-Schönenberg
Some of the most significant innovations in European culinary culture resulted from the importation of new foodstuffs and stimulants from the New World. As regards its essential structural elements, modern European cuisine is essentially a product of the “Columbian exchange”. Starting inand the Netherlands, the potato entered the dietary culture of the broad masses of central Europe during the 17th century, as one of the first new crops to do so. The integration of the potato into the system of daily meals in Europe was one of the most significant innovations in modern European cuisine. It was also one of the most important steps towards overcoming subsistence crises of the type ancien. Thus
the potato, along with coffee and liquor, can be viewed as the decisive innovation – even as a central cultural norm – during the emergence of the modern system of dishes and meals in the 18th century. The potato brought about the ultimate decline of the porridge dishes which had been the main staple for broad sections of the population from the medieval period.29
However, the potato only established its position as a staple gradually. Here again we can see the significance of social status struggles in the cultural history of the European diet. In contrast tolike coffee, tea, and chocolate, the potato was viewed as a low-status foodstuff of the lower social classes from France to well into the 18th century. In fact, the potato was originally viewed as an emergency foodstuff in the rural diet, and its spread was hampered by the continued cultivation of traditional crops up to the great famines of the 1770s. It was not until 1770–1772 and the introduction of comprehensive political measures to promote cultivation of the potato that the potato became a staple in all regions north of the Alps.
Simultaneously, the cultivation of maize across large swathes of 30 replacing millet in many cases. In the 17th century, maize cultivation spread to through the .31 Maize played a particularly important role in overcoming famines and assisting population growth in the latter region.32, particularly in , , and the , helped to bring an end to famines in these territories. Due to its adaptability to different climatic conditions and its comparatively high and stable yields, maize spread more quickly than the potato. As early as the 1520s – just 30 years after first voyage to America – Andalusian peasants began to cultivate maize. During the course of the 16th century, maize cultivation spread through Spain and along the cisalpine region as far as Carinthia,
While the potato, as a rare example of an “upwardly mobile cultural good”, spread comparatively quickly, the example of coffee demonstrates how slowly changes were often adopted. Probably originating inand , coffee initially reached the Mediterranean region, and then spread northward in the 17th century by means of sea-borne trade from Venice, before spreading from Britain and the Netherland to central Europe. The earliest reports of the consumption of these exotic beans from the come from the courts of rulers. Again the nobility functioned as a testing ground for innovation, albeit hesitantly, as the European palate took some time to get used to the bitter taste of coffee. In 1710, Liselotte of the Palatinate, who was from 1671 onward, compared the beverage – which she had presumably become acquainted with at the court of – with “Ruß und Feigbohnen” (“soot and lupin beans”).
It was not until the mid-17th century that the gustatory conservatism of the broader European population was overcome, with the urban bourgeois coffee houses acting as a catalyst. The fashionable aristocratic beverage and luxury good now became very popular in broader, bourgeois circles also. The further spread of the consumption of coffee in the 18th century can be summarized using the term “sinking cultural good”.33 That is to say, coffee, formerly a luxury good, “sank” from the nobility via the urban bourgeoisie right down to the broad rural masses, and it gradually became a drink of the masses during the late 18th century and the 19th century. It ultimately became affordable for even the poorer sections of society – often in a diluted form or in the form of coffee surrogates.34 The fall in the price of coffee which made this development possible resulted from the expanding cultivation of coffee in the British and French colonies.35
As the practice of drinking coffee became increasingly common among the bourgeoisie, it lost its significance in aristocratic circles, and it was replaced there during the course of the 17th century by black and green tea imported from 36 The volume of tea shipped by the East India Company from to London grew from 50 tonnes in 1700 to 15,000 tonnes in 1800.37 Between 1799 and 1833, the quantity of tea imported annually into Europe as a whole was around 73,000 tonnes.38. At the court of in , tea replaced coffee in the beverage culture of the court in the 1660s. The first deliveries of tea had reached Europe around 1580 via the Portuguese trading post in . In 1610, the Dutch merchant fleet had also entered the tea trade via its ports on and , before the British became the dominant player in the global tea trade in the early 18th century.
With the exception of the Netherlands and neighbouring 39 It was thus easier to integrate the cup of tea into the existing system of meals, which was particularly important in the era of factory work with its short breaks., continental Europe only gradually acquired the tea-drinking habit, if at all. In Britain, on the other hand, tea-drinking quickly spread through all section of the population during the 18th century. There are a number of reasons why tea reached broader sections of the population much more quickly than coffee and cocoa, the other two hot drinks of colonial trade. In particular, it was much easier to prepare tea at home from the ready-to-use leaves than was the case with cocoa, for example, and the quantity of leaves needed was comparatively small. The tea leaves could also be supplemented with native herbs if necessary.
The ritual of the 5 o’clock tea with cake and biscuits, which developed in the 18th century, remains a quintessential part of British culture into the 21st century. / Library of Congress LC-USZ62-49944
Just as the tankard of coffee replaced the morning and evening beer in central and northern Europe, in Britain tea became the main drink at meal times, but it also became the social drink in the bourgeois milieus. The customary 5 o’clock tea with sweet cake, marmalade, and scones is still integral to British tea culture in the present day. And just as in central Europe Enlightenment writers criticized the consumption of coffee by peasants, the new fashion for tea in Britain also drew criticism, such as that expressed by the Scottish writer:
When I came to a friend’s house of a morning, I used to be asked if I had my morning draught yet? I am now asked if I have had my tea? And in lieu of the big Quaigh with strong ale and toast, and after a dram of good wholesome Scots spirits, there is now a tea-kettle put to the fire, the tea-table and silver and china equipage brought in, and marmalade and cream!40
However, reactions to tea, which was believed to be stimulating and to improve one’s health, were predominantly positive, and already in the 18th century traditional European medicinal herbs were used to produce a substitute tea for the broader population.41
Cocoa also began its career in Europe under medicinal auspices in the form of drinking chocolate. Due to its fat content and the calories it contains, cocoa can be considered a foodstuff. However, it was also considered a stimulant – due to its caffeine content – when the cocoa beans were roasted, peeled, and ground, in order to be served as a hot drink with sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.42
Europe’s first contact with the cocoa bean occurred during the Spanish conquest of 43 using the labour of west African . Raw cocoa exports from the Spanish colonies thus grew from about 28 tonnes per annum around 1650 to about 5,000 tonnes around the end of the 18th century.44 However, Britain, France, and the Dutch Republic managed to break the Spanish monopoly on cocoa in the 17th century by conquering the Caribbean, and also began to cultivate cocoa around this time in .45in the 16th century. Cocoa cultivated in this region found its way to the European courts in the form of drinking chocolate during the course of the 17th century. Spain met the rapidly growing demand for this fashionable new drink by means of new and by spreading the cultivation to the and as well,
As with tea and coffee, cocoa initially spread in Europe during the 17th century as a high-status beverage of the aristocracy, before public coffee houses and chocolate houses – initially in Spain and Italy – began to serve the hot beverage as a sociable drink.46 The spread of cocoa was assisted by the decision of the Catholic Church to allow it during Lent, as well as by the medical profession, which sang its praises as a laxative and prescribed it as an aid to the recovery of strength after childbirth.47 Nevertheless, cocoa only reached the broader population during the course of industrialization around the mid-19th century, after Coenraad Johannes van Houten (1801–1887) had invented inexpensive, long-life cocoa powder, which considerably reduced the quantity of cocoa needed to prepare a drink, and thus the price, as well as the time and effort involved. Starting in Switzerland, cocoa subsequently became the predominant chocolate product in Europe in the form of sweetened eating chocolate.48
This caricature shows George III of England (1738–1820) with his wife Charlotte (1744–1818) and their six daughters at the tea table. The queen tries to persuade the sceptical daughters of the pleasures of drinking unsweetened tea with the following argument: “You can’t think how nice it is without Sugar: – and then consider how much Work you’ll save the poor Blackeemoors by leaving off the use of it! – and above all, remember how much expence it will save your poor Papa!” Clearly, there are economic considerations as well as moral arguments for the sparing use of sugar. / British Museum, signature AN46509001
In addition to tea, cocoa, and coffee, sugar became very important in the cuisine and economy of Europe, as the consumption of these bitter drinks was only made attractive to the masses by the addition of sugar. The numerous sweet foods and cakes which were served as an accompaniment to tea and coffee were also only made possible by the modern European sugar trade.49 Christian crusaders encountered the cultivation of sugarcane in the Middle East as early as the 11th century. In the High Middle Ages, sugar reached Europe primarily through Venice, and it initially adorned the tables at royal courts as a luxury product, for example in the form of elaborate sugar figures. In aristocratic dining, cane sugar replaced honey as the main sweetening agent during the early modern period. Sugar was used by physicians and apothecaries to sweeten bitter medicines, and it was also considered a fortifier due to its energy content. The exceptional status of sugar as a luxury product is also emphasized by its very high price. At the beginning of the modern period, 1 kilogram of sugar was equivalent in price to 100 kilograms of wheat. Only spice from Asia enjoyed a comparable status.50
Sugar prices only began to fall after the discovery of the Americas. Portugal and Spain had begun to cultivate sugarcane in the 15th century on the 51 Subsequently, sugar was the essential ingredient in the success of the modern chocolate and sweets industry.52and in the Spanish Caribbean colonies. The plantation economy of the 16th century, which depended on the labour of millions of kidnapped African slaves, is among the worst chapters of European dietary history. Britain, the Netherlands, and France all participated in the triangular trade between Europe, , and America, raising the volume of exported sugar to approximately 140,000 tonnes per annum by 1750 by mercilessly exploiting the slaves. The massive quantities of sugar imported into Europe also enabled it to be integrated into bourgeois dining culture in the 18th century. By 1800, the annual consumption of sugar in Germany had reached 1.1 kilograms per person – a twentyfold increase since the 16th century. But it was not till the discovery and mass cultivation of sugar beet in the late 19th century, in conjunction with the agricultural reforms of the time, industrialisation and European customs reform, that sugar became ubiquitous as a sweetening agent.
Whereas coffee had initially only been consumed at royal courts, the coffee-drinking habit increasingly spread among the bourgeoisie during the 17th and 18th centuries. The coffee house, as a public meeting place and a place for the exchange of news, played a central role in this process. / Deutsche Fotothek Dresden, signature 30103523
“Hier können Familien Kaffee kochen” (Here Families Can Make Coffee), 1895. The title of this painting by Hans Baluschek (1870–1935) refers to a special form of gastronomy which emerged around 1800 in the Berlin suburb of Treptow. The Saxon hostelry owners who had settled there did not want to pay for the drinks licence, and were thus prohibited from serving any. An increasing number of Berlin hostelries then came up with the idea of offering hot water and crockery to their guests, who could then make their own coffee using coffee powder which they had brought with them. Such hostelries, which displayed the sign “Hier können Familien Kaffee kochen”, existed in working class neighbourhoods into the 20th century. / Bröhan-Museum Berlin
The colonial trade in sugar, coffee, tea, and cocoa gave rise to massive changes in the dietary culture of pre-industrial Europe. First of all, the integration of the new stimulants and foodstuffs into European culture went hand in hand with the emergence of European coffee house culture. The first oriental-style coffee house opened its doors in 53 and, after its first coffee house had opened in 1685, became the heart of European coffee house culture. During the Enlightenment period in particular, coffee houses spread rapidly as a public place of discussion and of sociable consumption, and they increasingly replaced the late medieval taverns as formal gathering places in bourgeois and petit bourgeois circles, even in smaller towns. By virtue of its role as a meeting place for the various social classes, the coffee house also started the process of spreading coffee consumption to the rural and proletarian milieus.54, the metropolis of fashion at the time, in 1643. Others followed in Venice, London, and in 1645, 1652, and 1671 respectively,
The integration of colonial stimulants into European culture played a decisive role in the emergence of another cultural and economic innovation, one which relates to dining culture. With the arrival of the early high-status drinks of tea, cocoa, and coffee, Chinese crockery made of porcelain also made its appearance in Europe. Again, it was the royal courts that adopted the precious material first. As it did not affect the taste of food, it was superior to tin and silver receptacles. It was also more robust and less likely to crack than European earthenware and glass receptacles. Not surprisingly, this new precious material was initially the preserve of the aristocratic courts. The establishment of the European porcelain industry in the first half of the 19th century with its centres in Germany and Britain resulted in porcelain becoming common in the homes of the wealthy urban middle classes.55
The 19th Century – Urbanisation and the Food Industry
Prior to the beginning of the industrial era, European societies, in spite of all their differences, had a number of structural characteristics in common. An absolute majority of the population lived in the countryside and was directly or indirectly employed in agriculture. Additionally, the people – and consequently the economy and culture – were heavily influenced by local factors such as soil composition and the climate. The years around 1800 witnessed fundamental change in a number of areas; this applies in particular to dietary habits.56
These changes had been coming for a long time beforehand, and they are also conspicuous when one examines dietary habits. The potato and liquor, which had become increasingly widespread during the second half of the 18th century, were, to an extent, harbingers of the industrial age. Other harbingers were a strong growth in the economy and in the population.57 Processes of industrialisation certainly did not occur in parallel throughout all parts of Europe. In the Mediterranean region of southern Europe in particular, structures which were at least partially preindustrial persisted right up to the mid-20th century. However, the political and socio-economic changes of the 19th century nonetheless manifested themselves particularly clearly in dietary habits.
Theinnovations of early industrialisation manifested themselves directly in rapid demographic changes. Workers were drawn to the newly founded factories, resulting in an explosion in the population of the cities. This fundamentally changed daily dietary habits in two regards. Firstly, the density of urban development in the industrial conurbations excluded the possibility of growing one’s own food in gardens or on larger plots of land. The agrarian subsistence farming of rural Europe was now replaced by a modern commercial system of food supply. Particularly in periods of economic stagnation, disease, and high unemployment, this change resulted in nutritional crises among the new urban proletariat. Secondly, the daily meals changed as a result of the new rhythm of working life. Particularly in the dynamic early phase of industrialisation, machines and the attendance clock hardly permitted any time for family meals. Eating on one’s own to fend off hunger replaced collective mealtimes.
In spite of serious social problems, industrialisation in the first half of the 19th century nonetheless raised the standard of living of large sections of the population. In particular, the rising consumption of meat can be viewed as an indicator that famines and the previously unstable food supply were being overcome. In 1845,description of nutritional circumstances among the working classes of emphasized the fact that the availability of various foods was very wage-dependent:
The habitual food of the individual working-man naturally varies according to his wages. The better-paid workers, especially those in whose families every member is able to earn something, have good food as long as this state of things lasts; meat daily and bacon and cheese for supper. Where wages are less, meat is used only two or three times a week, and the proportion of bread and potatoes increases. Descending gradually, we find the animal food reduced to a small piece of bacon cut up with the potatoes; lower still, even this disappears, and there remain only bread, cheese, porridge, and potatoes, until on the lowest round of the ladder, among the Irish, potatoes form the sole food, As an accompaniment, weak tea, with perhaps a little sugar, milk, or spirits, is universally drunk.58
The Potato Eaters, 1885. The potato, which had initially spread slowly throughout Europe, ultimately became one of the most important foodstuffs, particularly among the impoverished classes. It did not become part of bourgeois cuisine until the 19th century. Vincent van Gogh’s (1853–1890) painting The Potato Eaters from 1885 depicts a farming family eating a simple meal of potatoes. Another colonial product, coffee, which had by then spread to the lower social classes, is served with the meal. / Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation), signature s5V/1962 F82
While early industrialisation was concentrated in a small number of European regions, the processes of innovation nonetheless quickly also affected the smaller towns and the rural sphere. In addition to the demographic changes, the transformative processes of the first half of the 19th century also manifested themselves in an expansion of the range of foods available and the adoption of new foodstuffs. Three main developments can be identified. Firstly, the proliferation of the cultivation of potatoes resulted in profound change in the daily diet and replaced the early modern system of bread and porridge in many parts of Europe. The pace at which change occurred also depended on how readily the new foodstuff could be integrated into the existing dietary systems. It took a long time, for example, for the potato to integrate into the cuisine of southern Germany and Austria, which had been dominated by flour-based dishes. In northern Germany, by contrast, the potato replaced bread as an accompaniment to the main dish very quickly. In the Central German Uplands, the potato secured its place in the diet as an ingredient in soups and in the form of mash, which was comparable in texture and consistency to the porridge which had long been a part of the local diet.59 By the mid-19th century, the perception of the potato as the food of the impoverished classes had finally abated, and middle class European cuisine increasingly benefitted from the versatility of the potato.
[LEFT]: This steel engraving published by William Hogarth under the title “Gin Lane” was part of a campaign against the excessive consumption of gin among the poorer social classes of London. This campaign was conducted in the mid-18th century under the aegis of the writer and magistrate Henry Fielding (1707–1754). In 1751, the sale of this high-proof liquor in ordinary shops was prohibited. This measure was aimed at bringing an end to the kind of excesses that are depicted in the engraving. / British Museum
[RIGHT]: In contrast to the off-putting depiction of the chaotic conditions in “Gin Lane”, “Beer Street” shows a harmonious scene. With this engraving, William Hogarth (1697–1764) sought to draw attention to the refreshing and inspiring properties of the low-proof drink, which – in contrast to gin, which had been introduced from the Netherlands – was considered a British national drink. / British Museum
Secondly, the distilling trade expanded, with the potato and other substances increasingly being used in the distilling process. For example in 60 Thirdly, the extensive cultivation of sugar beet resulted in a dramatic reduction in the price of sugar, which had previously been an expensive imported commodity. It became commonly used among an ever-increasing portion of the population from the second half of the 19th century., the amount of liquor distilled doubled between 1820 and 1840. Societal criticism of the consumption of hard liquor soon followed, but the available sources show that the phrase “scourge of drink” greatly exaggerates the reality of alcohol consumption.
The general European perspective nonetheless indicates that, in spite of the great innovations in the area of nutrition as a result of industrialisation, the 19th century was characterized by the contemporaneity of phenomena that belonged to different eras. While the new factories fundamentally transformed life in some places, elsewhere medieval influences and the dependence on locally produced foods, which were dictated to a considerable degree by climatic and geographical factors, persisted. For example, the gathering of wild plants continued to play an important role in nutrition in 19th-century, as it did in the cuisines of eastern Europe and Russia, with mushrooms and berries providing a significant portion of daily nutrition. In the well-watered regions of northern Europe and in Scandinavia, the availability of fish all year round also helped to compensate to a degree for the prevalent dramatic shortage of protein in the diet.
Hanging macaroni drying in the streets of Naples at the end of the 19th cenutry. “Our wholesome macaroni drying in the dirty streets of Naples, Italy”. / Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division Washington, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b39540
The industrial era initially also had little effect in the Mediterranean region. Agrarian structures remained largely intact, and older dietary traditions persisted. However, these traditions came under pressure from another source, as the growth in population resulted in a narrowing of the dietary spectrum. The diet became even more cereal-dependent in many cases. Two main changes occurred: Maize finally established itself as a staple in the cuisine of the broader population, and noodles, which had been known in southern Europe since antiquity, finally became common in the diet in 61. Fresh and dried noodles made to meet the needs of one’s own family using flour, water, and eggs assumed a similar importance here to that enjoyed by the potato north of the Alps. This innovation gave rise to the stereotype of the southern Italian as “macaroni eater”.
At the opposite end of Europe, a combination of a population explosion, adverse political and agrarian conditions, and harvest failures resulted in the last great European nutritional disaster. Between 1845 and 1849, the “Great Famine” cost the lives of 800,000 people in 62. It was the earliest indication of the negative consequences of monocultures. The higher yields which the potato made possible had already resulted in its widespread cultivation in Ireland in the late 18th century, which had swept away the existing dietary system. Consequently, it was not possible to compensate with other crops when potato blight resulted in widespread failure of the potato crop.
The growing importance of sugar beet during the early 19th century, or more precisely the production of industrially refined sugar, indicates another development which would continue to fundamentally transform nutrition in Europe: 63 of food by means of newly developed machines, and the production of completely new food products, such as margarine, baking powder, artificial honey, and powdered milk.and technology became decisive factors in the production and distribution of food. The most significant innovations after 1850 were the application of technological advances to food (particularly in the area of preservation), the industrially standardized mass production and uniformization
Justus von Liebig, Die organische Chemie in ihrer Anwendung auf Agricultur und Physiologie 1841, Internet Archive.
In 1840, 64 Liebig and his colleagues and revolutionized the nutritional sciences by identifying protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, and mineral salts as individual nutrients, thereby laying the foundations for modern nutritional physiology. Building on these theoretical discoveries, Liebig established the foundations of modern preservation methods.published his Die organische Chemie in ihrer Anwendung auf Agricultur und Physiologie (“Organic Chemistry as Applied to Agriculture and Physiology”), which became a standard work.
The French chemist 65 in 1810, which had indicated the far-reaching possibilities for the preservation (“Appertisieren”) of food. However, it was not until the second half of the 19th century that the full potential of the new preservation techniques and the industrial pasteurisation developed by became apparent.66 The development of the industrial production of canned foods, pasta, and jam, the use of Liebig’s meat extracts67 for the production of soups and sauces, and the invention of refrigeration by in 187468 made it possible for broad sections of the population to live on commercially produced food. This also helped to accelerate the industrialisation of Europe.had already published his Art de conserver, pendant plusieurs années, toutes les substances animales et végétales (“The Art of Preserving all Animal and Vegetable Substances for a Period of Years”)
English seamen opening a can of food with a bayonet, 1914, BnF Gallica.
In 69 The Erbswurst (pease-flour sausage), which was developed by the chef Johann Heinrich Grüneberg (ca. 1819–1872) and which was first used as a cheap, easily transportable, and nutritious food for the frontline soldiers during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, was subsequently consumed throughout Germany. Increasing regulation of the materials used in cans, as well as of the contents of the cans, and other technological innovations – such as the invention of the sealing machine in 1889 – advanced the development of canned food, brought down prices, and made canned food a permanent component in the diet of the lower-paid sections of the population. In return, the making of homemade preserves declined.70, this development resulted in becoming a “Stadt der Konserven” (“city of canned food”) in the decades after 1850. It was a particularly important centre for the industrial production of canned vegetables.
In tandem with important changes in farming techniques and land usage (such as the use of artificial fertilisers and the development of agricultural machinery) and economic policies facilitating the easier circulation of goods (such as the foundation of the German Zollverein in 1834 as a precursor to further economic integration), these developments made it possible for the first time since the Middle Ages to ensure that the broad masses of the European population had a dependable food supply. Whereas around 1800 the work of four peasants had been required to provide sufficient food for one non-agrarian consumer, 100 years later one farmer was able to provide for four consumers.71 The last large famine that was not caused by war occurred in Europe in 1846/1847. The demographic development in Europe in the 19th century impressively reflects the improvement in nutritional circumstances. The population grew by one third between 1850 and 1900, from 266 million to 401 million people.72
Cartographical representation of the concentration of railways and telegraph throughout the world in 1901 / Wikimedia Commons
The continuing expansion of the railway network in Europe and of the 73 Intercontinental steam shipping also enabled a diversification of diets even in the rural parts of Europe. Colonial goods, tropical fruits, and imported spices now became part of the diet of broader sections of the population.of the retail trade, which further assisted an accelerated and comprehensive supply of basic food requirements, also contributed to the fundamental improvements in the supply of food during the 19th century. In the larger cities, large modern stores emerged to complement the smaller retailers.
The enormous economic and social transformations which characterised the first half of the 20th century hardly manifested themselves in the dietary culture at all because the world wars precluded large structural changes in this area – apart from the destruction they wrought. However, that destruction occurred on a massive scale. Initially, the wars resulted in a drastic reduction of the supply of food, and emergency foods such as “stretched bread” (gestrecktes Brot) and turnip soup became increasingly common.74 In the southeast of Europe, a restructuring of the dietary culture occurred in the second decade of the 20th century as the disintegration of the ailing brought an end to Turkish dominance over the Balkans. As the Turkish officials and merchants departed, their dietary habits left southeastern Europe also. In Hungary, in the territory, and in , native dietary traditions became increasingly dominant, and they served as constitutive factors in the coalescing of new national identities. The end of rule also brought a widespread departure from Muslim dietary regulations.
The foundation of the 75also set a chain of processes in motion which resulted in the from the to the , which had the effect of suppressing regional and ethnic dietary differences. Simultaneously, the fundamental restructuring of the societies under Soviet influence resulted in bourgeois practices losing their significance and in the spread of a culture which purported to be proletarian, and which emphasized the communal provision of food. The famine referred to as the Holodomor was a special case, which came about in the context of complex economic and political circumstances. With the Soviet regime not taking the measures required to prevent it, this disaster cost the lives of more than 3.5 million people in 1932 and 1933 primarily in the territory of present-day Ukraine. In the aftermath of the Second World War, large-scale occurred in the eastern part of the German-speaking territory, but also in the Polish territory. A number of regional cuisines all but disappeared as a result, such as the East Prussian, the Silesian, and the eastern Galician cuisines. Much more dramatic was the almost total demise of the Jewish culinary tradition in Europe as a result of the .
“Stew Sunday” was a propaganda and charitable campaign of the National Socialists, which was introduced in 1933 and which was renamed Opfersonntag (“Sacrifice Sunday”) during the Second World War. The citizens were encouraged to have stew instead of the usual lavish Sunday dinner once a month, and to donate the money which they had saved in the process to the Winterhilfswerk (Winter Assistance Works). The Winterhilfswerk, which was financed by means of more or less voluntary donations from the public, was supposed to spend these donations for the benefit of the needy and the unemployed. This public stew dinner in Worms was organized to draw attention to the work of the Winterhilfswerk. / Deutsches Bundesarchiv, Bild 133-295
The communal provision of food not only played a central role in the territories under, but also in National Socialist Germany. The most prominent example of this was the party decree pertaining to the Eintopfsonntag (“Stew Sunday”), which attached ideological importance to the traditional stew and introduced communal dining in the public space as a visible display of commitment to the national community (Volksgemeinschaft).
There was a degree of stasis in the area of commercial hospitality during the first half of the 20th century. From the last third of the 19th century, middle class restaurants had begun to replace the old taverns, particularly in the urban space, and these became an integrative component in middle class urban life. They experienced something of a golden age in the 20th century, which only came to an end in the 1970s. While the range of dishes offered was very broad during the early phase in the late 19th century, by the 1920s most restaurants only offered set meals with four or five courses. The restaurants were points where middle class life crystallised, both on work days and on the weekends, with the emphasis being on the midday meal, which usually consisted of soup as a starter, a main course (consisting of meat, a bulk ingredient – usually potatoes – and vegetables) and a sweet dish as a dessert.76
In the late 1940s, enormous geopolitical shifts occurred as a result of the independence of the former colonies of 77 Similarly, Dutch fast food features peanut sauce and chicken satay dishes besidesFrikandel and French fries.and (Indonesia), which had a lasting effect on European culinary culture. Curry dishes and chutneys had been party of British cuisine from the 18th century, and from 1945 these foods were increasingly on offer in fast food restaurants in British cities, where large sections of the population became familiar with, and partial to, these dishes.
At the end of the 1940s, the way was prepared for the “pluralisation of the palate” in 78 The presence of foreign soldiers in various parts of Europe after the end of the war also had a pronounced influence on the culinary culture. In the case of Germany, the natives – particularly the children – became acquainted with, and partial to, bubble gum, Coca Cola, and Hershey chocolate through contact with the American GIs. The broad acceptance which these products had attained by 1950 was a slight foretaste of what would happen in the second half of the century: a European dining culture which is heavily influenced by American fast food.79also. For example, the fast food restaurant Puszta-Hütte in Cologne sold Hungarian goulash from 1948 onward using a recipe which the founder had apparently learned during a period of captivity in Hungary during the war.
The advertisements for the company Maggi from 1957 and 1960 emphasise the origin of their products in Italian cuisine (“as delicious as in Italy”) by showing the connection to “typically Italian” products such as tomatoes, olive oil and red wine in a demijohn or scenery reminiscent of a holiday to Italy. In addition, they stress the simplicity of preparation a (“It’s so easy for you”) and the flavour. The latter is evoked by referring to Italy as the “home of gourmets”. / Maggi GmbH
In the mid-20th century, the European dietary culture was still divided on the basis of social class. It was dominated by middle class habits, it exhibited regional variation, and, in terms of the food consumed, it was highly seasonal. However, the emergence of uniformity and 80 Food was increasingly sold in aestheticised packaging and could thus no longer be examined or handled before being bought.81 Of course, hardly anyone would have predicted the trend which was about to develop. In the 1950s, consumers became acquainted with frozen food, which had been common in the from the 1930s. In 1958, the first ready-made meal came on the market in the form of Maggi ravioli, which became remarkably widely popular. From 1952, pizzerias82 began to spread, followed by Spanish, Greek, and Yugoslavian restaurants.83 The fast food chains followed from 1972 onward, greatly undermining the traditional meal consisting of three successive courses. Thus, the European dietary culture of the first half of the 20th century can be viewed in retrospect as a period of relative calm in a world of rapid change.84had already begun. Maggi sausages and Knorr pease-flour sausage were already in existence, and margarine of industrialised and uniform quality was already on offer.
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- We wish to thank Markus Schreckhaas, M.A. (Regensburg / Köln), Sarah Hoechstetter, B.A. (Regensburg), and Kathrin Ebermeier, B.A. (Regensburg) for editorial collaboration on this contribution.
- For example, see: Montanari, Hunger 1999, pp. 130ff., pp. 155–159.
- Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, pp. 12–19.
- See the following seminal article on European dietary history: Krug-Richter / Zimmermann, Ernährung 2006, pp. 463–485.
- For example, see: Köstlin, Perspectives 1996, pp. 171f.
- Hirschfelder, Gasthäuser 1998, p. 46.
- Abel, Stufen der Ernährung 1981, p. 13.
- See: Schubert, Essen und Trinken 2006, p. 106.
- On the shifting of the regions in which wine and beer were consumed in Europe, see: Landsteiner, Wenig Brot 2005, pp. 134–142; Irsigler, “Ind machden alle lant” 1996.
- Gechter, Kirche und Klerus 1983, pp. 108f.
- Kolmer / Rohr, Mahl 2000.
- For detailed information on the source, see: Fouquet, Festmahl 1992, pp. 103f.
- Elias, Prozeß der Zivilisation 1997, p. 207f.
- See: Elias, Prozeß der Zivilisation 1997.
- Hundsbichler, Nahrung 1986, pp. 196–231.
- See: Peter, Kulturgeschichte 2007, pp. 81f.
- “They lay a large silver platter in front of people to whom they wish to show particular honour. On this lies a napkin folded four times, bread, a knife, a spoon, and a fork”, transl. by N.W. (quoted from Peter, Kulturgeschichte 2007, p. 83).
- Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, p. 30.
- Quoted from Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, p. 30 (“a little bread, oaten porridge or boiled beans make up the food of the peasants, water or whey is their drink”, transl. by N.W.).
- Bock, Teutsche Speißkammer 1555, p. LXXVII (“Our peasants much prefer to eat fat pigmeat, boiled or roasted, than any hens. They say that if a sow had feathers and could fly over a fence, she would be better than all poultry and game birds”, transl. by N.W.).
- Quoted from: Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, p. 33 (“In the morning, soup or porridge. Milk for the workers, and soup for the others. – At midday, soup and meat. Cabbage, a Pfeffer [German meat stew], or preserved meat. Porridge or milk. IIII dishes. – At night, soup and meat. Turnip and meat, or preserved meat. Porridge or milk. III dishes,” transl. by N.W.).
- Quoted from Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, p. 33 (“On a meat day on our table [shall be served] an appetiser which is different each day. Such as birds, game. sausage. calf’s head. giblets. lungs. liver. tripe etc. – Soup in the morning, often with solid food in it and the meat of the hen or the chicken in it, depending on what is available. – boiled cabbage and turnip. Some meat from the oxen if available. – A meat stew, containing game, tongue, udder etc. – A different kind of porridge each day. – Something cured. Galantine or calf’s foot etc. A double or triple roast. – Depending on what has been butchered, a piece of fried pig. rice. barley. seeds. lentils etc. – As an appetiser or main course, there may also be an ox brain, boiled or roasted. a marinated loin roast of ox. At night, there shall be two small dishes, a meat stew and a porridge. is VI dishes”, transl. by N.W.).
- Hirschfelder, Brot 2005, column 443.
- Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, p. 39.
- Hirschfelder, Fleischkonsum 2006, columns 1015–1018.
- See: Wiegelmann, Alltags- und Festspeisen 2006, p. 34.
- See: Kisbán, Nahrungsgewohnheiten 1987, p. 181.
- Hirschfelder, Brot 2005, columns 443f.
- Teuteberg / Wiegelmann, Kartoffel 1986, p. 93 (transl. by N.W.).
- See: Röser, Biologie 2001, p. 37.
- See: Kaller-Dietrich, Mais 2001, p. 19.
- See: Antoine / Boehler / Brumont, L’agriculture 2000, p. 245.
- Naumann, Grundzüge der Volkskunde 1922, pp. 3f. (transl. by N.W.).
- See: Menninger, Genuss 2008, pp. 338f.
- Morris, Espresso 2008.
- See: Menninger, Genussmittel 2004, pp. 139–159.
- Paczensky / Dünnebier, Kulturgeschichte 1999, p. 471.
- Menninger, Tee 2011, column 336.
- See: Menninger, Genuss 2008, pp. 320–347.
- Quoted from: Fitzgibbon, Pleasures 1981, p. 30.
- See: Menninger, Genuss 2008, pp. 253f.; Menninger, Tabak 2009.
- See: Menninger, Kakao 2007, columns 266; Menninger, Genuss 2008, pp. 53f.
- See: Piñero, Cacao Economy 1988, pp. 75–100.
- Menninger, Kakao 2007, column 267.
- See Menninger, Kakao 2007, column 266.
- See Menninger, Kakao 2007, column 268.
- See: Harwich Vallenilla, Histoire 1992, pp. 237–275, 355–363.
- See Harwich Vallenilla, Histoire 1992, pp. 363–371.
- Mintz, Süße Macht 1992, pp. 183f.
- Menninger, Zucker 2012, column 589; cf.: Mauruschat, Preise 1985.
- See: Teuteberg, Kulturpsychologie 2003, p. 44.
- See: Hengartner / Merki, Genussmittel 1999, pp. 231–256.
- Hirschfelder, Europäische Esskultur 2005, p. 156.
- See: Menninger, Europas Kaffeehäuser 2006, pp. 85–118; cf. Cowan, Social Life 2005.
- See: Menninger, Genuss 2004, pp. 253f.
- Hirschfelder, Europäische Esskultur 2005, pp. 170f. (transl. by N.W.).
- The period actually began in 1765, when the Englishman James Watt (1736–1819) built the first steam engine in the world, thereby creating an important prerequisite for the subsequent industrialisation. The interplay of various factors ultimately resulted in the political revolutions which began with the storming of the Bastille in 1789, and which were brought to an end – temporarily at least – by the establishment of a new conservative order in Europe in 1815. The revolutionary phase resulted in a period of broad economic growth in most parts of Europe. The driving force behind this growth was the process of industrialisation which began in northern Europe and which fundamentally transformed traditional lifeworlds, particularly from the mid-19th century onward. (see: Komlos, Überblick 1997, pp. 461f.)
- Engels, Condition 1845, p. 73; cf. Schmidtgall, Friedrich Engels’ Manchester-Aufenthalt 1981.
- See: Teuteberg / Wiegelmann, Kartoffel 1986, pp. 115f.
- See: Tappe, Alkoholkultur, 1994, p. 55; see: Hirschfelder, Alkoholkonsum 2003–2004.
- Montanari, Hunger 1999, pp. 168f.; 172f.
- Hirschfelder, Europäische Esskultur 2005, p. 179.
- See: Spiekermann, Warenwelten 2006, pp. 99–124.
- See: Liebig, Organische Chemie 1841 .
- Appert, Art de conserver 1810
- Humbert, Entstehung der Konservenindustrie 1997; Shephard, Pickled, Potted and Canned 2001; Bruegel, Shop Floor 1998, pp. 203–247; Robertson, Mariners’ Mealtimes 1988, pp. 147–157.
- Brock, Justus von Liebig 1999.
- Beierl, Carl von Linde 2012.
- Ellerbrock, Lebensmittelqualität 1987, pp. 127–188.
- See: König, Konservenzeitalter 2004, pp. 272f.
- Hirschfelder, Europäische Esskultur 2005, p. 190.
- Osterhammel, Verwandlung der Welt 2009, pp. 183f.
- See: Spiekermann, Basis der Konsumgesellschaft 1999.
- Roerkohl, Lebensmittelversorgung 1987, pp. 325f., pp. 331f.
- Hirschfelder, Europäische Esskultur 2005, pp. 209f.
- Drummer, Restaurant 1997, pp. 303f.
- See: Collingham, Curry 2006, pp. 215–257.
- See: Hirschfelder, Kölner Fast Food 1995, pp. 24f.
- See: Kleindienst, Lebertran und Chewing Gum 2005.
- Kleindienst, Lebertran und Chewing Gum 2005, pp. 278f.
- König, Konservenzeitalter 2004, pp. 269–286.
- In 1952, Nicolino di Camillo (*1922) opened the first pizzeria in Germany in Würzburg. He chose the name “Capri” for his “Bier- und Speisewirtschaft” (“beer and food hostelry”) because it would be easy to pronounce for the Germans and the American soldiers who were stationed nearby at that time.
- See: Trummer, Pizza, Döner, McKropolis 2006; see: Möhring, Fremdes Essen 2012.
- See: Köstlin, Modern essen 2006, pp. 9–22.
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