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Glimpse

Volume 14, 2012

Matti Itkonen
Pages 67-81

The Festive Spread - Its Laying and Its Writing
A Philosophical Study of Food Culture

Can recipes and cookery books function as mirrors of national identity or mindscape? If the answer is in the affirmative, then what kind of Finnishness can be found in its food culture? And the display of food as a medium: what is it able to communicate to later generations about the spirit prevailing in a bygone age or place? Nowadays the web pages of restaurants are comparable to a well-laid table; they share similarities m theh skilful arrangement. Entertaining increases a sense of well-being, both for the guest and for the host or hostess. We can even talk about the happiness doctrine of hospitality. Images of gourmet delicacies could boost tourism: after all, a warm culinary memory is also very often a memory of childhood or the home. This is something review writers would do well to realize. It is for this reason that we might assume that the ultimate incentive or spur m the work of a critic is to foster the ideal of reciprocity. Only in this way would gastronomic dialogue become possible—and the idea of a mutually shared experience take on a temporal form.

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