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La restauration ferroviaire entre représentations et consommations / Railway Catering Between Imaginary and Consumption

Consommateurs, images et marchés / Consumers, Images and Markets


Edited By Jean-Pierre Williot

La restauration ferroviaire est peu connue alors qu'elle entre dans l'économie de multiples prestataires de service dans le monde depuis le XIXe siècle. Elle intéresse une demande quotidienne. Fournir des denrées et des boissons aux habitués des gares et des trains est une source d'innovations régulières. Les propositions alimentaires s'adressent à des clientèles nombreuses, aux choix très différents et aux exigences multiples en termes de prix, de conditionnement et de goûts. Depuis l'invention des buffets de gare, qui ont pris la suite des auberges routières, et la conception d'une restauration en voyage proposée dans le célèbre dining car, les formules mises au point n'ont cessé d'être transformées. Qu'il s'agisse d'un plateau repas ou d'un grignotage, d'un repas gastronomique ou d'une manière de tromper l'attente, chaque voyageur a expérimenté la restauration ferroviaire. Il en résulte des représentations mentales, des récits de voyage, des situations subies ou gardées en mémoire comme des instants incertains ou des moments de confort rassurants. On en retrouve la trace autant dans des BD et des Mangas que dans des scènes improbables portées au cinéma ou sur le support d'affiches commerciales. La restauration ferroviaire – il conviendrait d'ailleurs d'écrire plutôt « les restaurations ferroviaires » – peut ouvrir de nombreuses pistes d'études littéraires, historiques ou anthropologiques, mais aussi d'études des techniques ou d'histoire économique de la consommation. C'est l'approche initiatrice dont cet ouvrage rend compte par des études saisies dans la diversité des cultures, aux Etats-Unis, en Inde, en Russie, au Japon et en Europe, du XIXe au XXIe siècles.


Rail catering is unknown even if it is an economy of multiple service providers in the world since the nineteenth century. It concerns a daily demand. Supplying food and beverages to the consumers and travellers of stations and trains is a source of frequent innovations. Food proposals present very different choices and several requirements in terms of price, packaging and tastes. Since the invention of the station buffets, which have taken over from the road inns, and the design of a restaurant catering proposed in the famous dining car, the formulas developed have not ceased to be transformed. Whether it is a ready-made meal or a snack, a gourmet presentation or a take away during an expectation, each traveller has experimented railway catering. The result is mental representations, travel stories, situations experienced or kept in memory as uncertain moments or reassuring time of comfort. Traces of it are found in comics and Mangas as well as in unlikely sketches taken to the cinema or on commercial poster stands. Eat and drink in railways open so many literary, historical or anthropological studies, but also studies of techniques or economic history of consumption. It is the initiating approach to this book, which is reflected in studies of the diversity of cultures in the United States, India, Russia, Japan and Europe from the 19th to the 21st centuries.

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From Caviar to Mystery Meat (Sharon Hudgins)


From Caviar to Mystery Meat

History of Dining on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

Sharon Hudgins

Former professor and administrator for University of Maryland University College programs at Far Eastern National University, Vladivostok, and Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russian Federation

The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of Russia’s “Great Siberian Railway,” the rail line crossing two continents and linking Moscow, Russia’s largest city, and Vladivostok, its major port on the Pacific Ocean. Built during a 25-year period from 1891 to 1916, the major part of the railroad was completed by 1904 and the remainder, in the Russian Far East, by 1916.

Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov (soon to become Tsar Nikolai II of Russia) initiated the construction in May of 1891, in a ceremony in Vladivostok where he tipped a wheelbarrow of dirt onto an embankment near the site of the present-day railroad station (which dates from 1910-1911) and laid the foundation stone of the original station, which became the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian route. The railroad was constructed simultaneously in six sections, in six different geographical areas of Asian Russia (Greater Siberia), from Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains to Vladivostok. These were finally connected into one continuous line in 1916 when a 22-span, 2.4-kilometer (1.5-mile) bridge was completed over the Amur River at Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East. At the time of its completion, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, as it is now known in many languages,1 was one...

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