Accepted Paper:

"A place apart": the reawakening of Irish food culture in West Cork, Ireland  


Rita Colavincenzo (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Paper short abstract:

Renewed interest in traditional food knowledge creates new food experiences. I consider those in West Cork, Ireland who have worked to create a more traditional life through food production, and question how outsiders help to renew interest in traditional Irish foodways and shape regional identity.

Paper long abstract:

Traditional and domestic skills often associated with women such as dairying have recently seen a resurgence, with many embracing such traditional food production for the first time. A renewed interest in such traditional knowledge can create new and meaningful food experiences for both the maker and the culinary tourist. Such types of food events have become increasingly popular in the region of West Cork, Ireland. Looking specifically at those who have worked to create a more traditional or "homemade" life through food production, I call into question how often outsiders to this region have helped sprout a renewed interest in traditional Irish foodways, and the role food culture can play in shaping national and regional identity. These outsiders are mostly women and often non-Irish nationals. While in the past Ireland has not been usually associated with a rich and varied food culture, it has in recent years regained a better sense of its traditional and historical food memories. Part of this resurgence in food culture can likely be attributed to dedicated food producers. But did it take these producers to restore and recreate Ireland's "lost" or forgotten foodways? How have these West Cork producers reignited and created regionalised identity, but also created new food experiences, specifically new food memories that have helped to reshape the individual and collective Irish food experience? These are some of the questions and contemplations I offer to my discussion of contemporary Irish foodways examined through a regional lens.

Panel Food001
Culinary heritage as an island of well-being (Panel of SIEF working groups 'Historical approaches in cultural analysis' and 'Food research')