Early European Food Television: Some Differences and Similarities
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Tominc, A. (2022) Early European Food Television: Some Differences and Similarities. In: Tominc, A. (ed.) Food and Cooking on Early Television: Impact on European Postwar Foodways. London: Routledge, pp. 175-178.
This volume has brought together nine studies from eight European countries that feature food and cooking on early television in Europe that represent the many differences and similarities in which food and cooking were shown on television. Apart from Boulestin in the brief experimental period of British television in the 1930s the case studies here are mainly situated in the 1950s and 1960s and include a range of genres, from the cooking demonstration (cum advertising) and cooking competition, through travelogue to some more artistic takes on food and taste. Gender, religion (including secularism), class, and national identities are all foregrounded here, as food programmes across Europe shaped, reflected, and influenced how both individuals and groups understood themselves in these decades of significant social, political, and economic transformation that gave the continent its distinct post-war European identity. Despite all this, the collection offers only a starting point, through which the many facets of food programming can be further addressed, as TV encourages a conversation around the role of early food television in the development of European food culture after the Second World War. As this collection demonstrates, the answer may not be straight-forward, since the stories of these early food programmes, much as that of early television itself, unfold in context-specific ways, interacting with their audiences and immediate environment, government, and television agendas in ways both unique and, at the same time, comparable. A number of larger European countries are unfortunately not represented, most notably the USSR, Poland, Western Germany, Spain, and the countries of the Scandinavian peninsula that together account for millions of Europeans. This is either because in these countries food programmes only came into existence later or because, as this is still a niche topic, interest in the various academic fields that converge on the topic of early food television is yet to develop.