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Food and the Internet

Proceedings of the 20 th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Department of Folklore and Ethnology, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Łodź, Poland, 3–6 September 2014

Edited By Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska and Patricia Lysaght

Discourses about food, especially on social media, affect the dietary choices of many people on a daily basis all over the world. In recognition of this phenomenon, the selection of 25 ethnological essays in this volume explores the effects of the digital age on post-modern food culture. It examines the influence of the Internet as a provider of a seemingly limitless flow of information and discourse about food sources, production, distribution and consumption. It also analyses the attitudes towards food in the context of ecological, environmental, ethical, health, and everyday lifestyle issues – at local, regional and global levels.
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A Global Food Tale in the Age of the Internet: Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska


Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska

A Global Food Tale in the Age of the Internet

Post-modern humans use the Internet to overcome the boundaries of their physical and social environment as well as the constraints of their “tribal” and inherited traditions. In the light of Internet sources, the global food culture phenomenon reveals a post-modern culinary outlook. During the last two decades transcultural food and nutritional knowledge, transnational behavioural patterns, and global marketing have influenced food culture. It has also been affected by global eating habits and by a cuisine influenced by fast food and slow food trends, particularly by organic and non-genetically modified healthy foods, as well as by so-called local and traditional farm market products. The author’s research is based on an overview study of Internet websites linked to food. Innumerable food-related sites show that the Internet is a global cookbook, a tourism food guide, a food bloggers’ and networks’ home, as well as a domain for stories about well-known chefs. All of these factors serve to create the background for global and transcultural post-modern food tales.

But let us start our tale ab ovo. From the physiological point of view, humans need to eat food to stay alive. Food is a basic need in Abraham Maslow’s well-known pyramidal hierarchy of human needs (Maslow 1943, pp. 370-396) (Fig.1).

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From the cultural point of view, food is also a universal notion (Counihan / van Esterik 1997), even though...

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