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An equation of the senses? A puzzle in food history

Abstract : Gastronomy presents food as something akin to a Gesamtkunstwerk. Meals are multidimensional, they excite all five senses. And yet an almost exclusive attention to taste has dominated food history since its beginnings. This chapter tackles the reasons why food historians have paid so little attention to the other senses in the 19th and 20th centuries. It argues that a physiological model emphasizing one individual sense at the expense of the others drove historical investigations in general. This historiography seems now to have reached its limits. Many recent studies call for taking up the challenge of explaining the interaction of the different senses in everyday life. So far, progress has been halting, not the least so because historians have ignored the one subject to integrate all the senses: food.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03223972
Contributor : Martin Bruegel <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 11:59:01 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 16, 2021 - 7:07:23 AM

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Martin Bruegel. An equation of the senses? A puzzle in food history. Sylvie Vabre, Martin Bruegel, Peter J. Atkins (eds.). Food History. A Feast of the Senses in Europe, 1750 to the Present, Routledge, 2021, 978-0-367-51558-4. ⟨hal-03223972⟩

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