In Levi-Straussian terms cooking marks the "transition between nature and culture". Yet the study of cookbooks as placed cultural artefacts is largely neglected by consumer researchers. This essay seeks to address this oversight, setting out to explore the potential contribution of a turn to cookbooks for enriching our understanding of the character of contemporary consumer culture. It weaves a line of argument that asserts the value of treating cookbooks as cultural products, as objectifications of culinary culture, as constructed social forms which are amenable to textual analysis. In this respect it declares that, rather than simply being understood as reflections of contemporary consumer culture, cookbooks should be understood as artefacts of cultural life in the making. That is, cookbooks contain not only recipes but inscribed cultural tales which can be understood as productive of the culinary culture that they pretend only to display, and performative in their attempt to do things with us. We reveal cookbooks to be sites of aestheticised consumption.
- culinary cultures
- culinary tourism