“When a diplomat smells garlic, things don’t go well.” This phrase from the film “Political Cuisine” accurately describes the importance of gastronomy both in diplomacy and in human life. In the gastronomy of a people are captured all those physical and mental needs of the individual that arise from the interaction of with the exogenous environment in which it lives. At the same time, manners, customs and traditions are included in gastronomy as an integral part of a ritual process of coordinating individuals in a common step.
Interwoven with the above framework, gastronomy emerges as a basic means of communication and as a place of conversation of the unconscious of societies. This is reflected in various forums, such as the European Region of Gastronomy, which was awarded first prize to Ireland in 2018. It was the Galway region in the west of Ireland that served as the frontline of Irish cuisine. Area of significant importance, it has managed to become a gastronomic destination attracting tourists from all over the world. It has Michelin-starred restaurants and all the restaurants in the area are the perfect places to taste the genuine produce of the Irish land.
Ireland, with a unique geomorphological landscape, is literally and figuratively the fertile ground for the emergence of dietary habits as a top cultural value. Holding a bridging position between the Atlantic and Europe, its climate contributed to the flourishing of potato cultivation, which was a basic food commodity for the subsistence of the poor populations of the 19th century on the island and goat breeding. At the same time, dairy production and fishing developed. Particular emphasis was placed on the manufacture of alcoholic beverages, as is beer and world-famous Irish whiskey. The latter is also a key ingredient of the famous Irish coffee.
All the above constitute the gastronomic identity of Ireland, which was promoted through the distinction that the country had in the European Region of Gastronomy. Essentially, however, the talk is about what one cannot see, smell and taste on a plate of food. That is, for those intangible benefits of gastronomy that a country can capitalize on in other fields of social life. Galway through this distinction it boosted the local economy, strengthened the role of agricultural production and advertised Ireland for tourism. It triggered the launch of funding for programs aimed at properly informing and promoting issues related to nutrition, health and education, such as “From the Ground Up Feeding our Future” preserving both the environmental well-being of the landscape and a deeper understanding of the role of food in shaping cultural heritage. Let us not forget that the potato crisis of the late 19th century triggered huge waves of Irish immigrants to the Americas where they thrived and thus increased the impact of Irish culture worldwide.
Through the gastronomy of a people, the emotional substrate on which it is based is perceived. As American chef James Beard has said, “food is a common ground, a universal experience.” Through gastronomy one dives into the depths of a culture. Mixing various flavors on one’s palate stimulates one’s taste buds, thus igniting one’s imagination. Imperceptibly, he is led to all of them the images, feelings and thoughts of the people who created them. The common experience of taste contributes to the creation of bonds between people.
- Ιmage has retrieved from: https://pixabay. com/photos/potato-field-aroostook-county-4357002/