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Numerous heritage-listed foods were initially created to respond to scarcity. At the time of heritagization, social and historical contexts are often forgotten. We propose to promote a debate around the processes of heritagization and confront them with memories, knowledges and practices of scarcity
The recognition of food systems as heritage began in 2006 under the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. If there are relatively few food preparations and regional cuisines classified, many of them were originally created to respond to famine and scarcity, such as the "Mediterranean Diet", or food that is made of the less noble parts of animals. This is also the case of some festive foods, such as sardines during the Santo António festivities in Lisbon, or the sweet blood chorizo in the sertão of northeastern Brazil. However, at the time of heritagization, economic situations that corresponded to specific food consumptions are not remembered and there is lack of analysis of social and historical contexts in which they were created. By placing famine at the center of our concerns, we want to evaluate memories, knowledges and practices of scarcity and to discuss, comparatively and critically, the clashes and consequences of the heritagization of food systems and culinary creations of the working classes. We will take this opportunity to open the debate on the enhancement of local or "typical" products, which so often refer to a disappearing society from which previous generations had to distance themselves: in an increasingly urbanized world and where traditional production systems are threatened by powerful food industries, who gains with heritagization? Finally, we will discuss the enhancement of cuisines outside official agencies, and as survival strategies, questioning if, in the end, heritage does not contribute to maintain or produce inequalities.