From Peasant Dish to National Symbol

Abstract

The process of shaping national culture coincides with the production of traditions in which special meaning is given to increasing numbers of elements of everyday life. This paper discusses an example relating to food. The example is older than the mass-production of tradition. During the decades around 1800 it was the relatively numerous nobility who went in for the national idea in Hungary. When Austrian enlightened absolutism strove to unify the dependent countries, the Hungarian national features were endangered in the late 18th century. Most of the Hungarian nobility put up resistance which manifested itself both in political opposition and in the production of national symbols, in noblemen's clothing and peasant food alike. The peasant dish they chose as a symbol was further fostered at home, so that it soon reached the refined table physically as well.

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Kisbán, E., (1988) “From Peasant Dish to National Symbol”, Ethnologia Europaea 19(1), p.95-102. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1394

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Eszter Kisbán (Institute of Ethnology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

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