Something Bulgarian for Dinner Cover Image

„Българско” за вечеря
Something Bulgarian for Dinner

Author(s): Rayna Gavrilova
Subject(s): Anthropology, Social Sciences, Customs / Folklore, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Culture and social structure
Published by: Фондация Медийна Демокрация
Keywords: national cuisine; cultural identity; restaurants; online representations; Bulgaria;

Summary/Abstract: The paper is an attempt to study the production of cultural identity in the hospitality industry, based on materials from a specific archive: the online self-presentation of the restaurants offering national cuisine. The questions driving the investigation are: is there an established new standard, new consensus among the caterers what is the national cuisine and culinary heritage. And if the answer is affirmative, how does it relate to past standards and how are they communicated to the consuming audience. The analysis of the advertised meals or the units (of R. Barthes) and the menus or the syntactic systems (ibidem) makes possible to offer a few observations: 'the past', 'the authentic', 'the Bulgarian' quality is modelled on the pre-World War II Bulgarian peasant home. We witness an ongoing and dynamic process of constructing and naming the structures of the national cuisine and this process is, essentially, a bricolage, which leaves ample space for individual contributions. In contrast to popular nationalistic rhetorics, the national cuisine incorporates freely Turkish names and products, identified and accepted as "Bulgarian". The vocabulary of the national style is open, flexible, inventive and benignly contradictory (a restaurant offers "chorbadzhi saladlet with balsamic dressing") as with any living language.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 12
  • Page Range: 58-83
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: Bulgarian