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  • AutorenbildSaskia Lackner

Vienna, Culture and Food

Almost nothing can touch our senses as much as food. Good food is not only part of a certain lifestyle – the number of food blogs, for example, continues to rise, since 2014 it has increased by more than 70%. Numerous cooking shows on TV or Netflix revolve around the preparation of all kinds of food – with increasing popularity, not only in Austria. Don’t you just think of amazing food right now? I do.


From an intercultural point of view, the handling of food is usually seen in the context of table manners and rites or particularly exotic dishes that are typical for a certain culture. But what does a local cuisine say about a culture?

Tourism studies and cultural studies have – if marginally – been dealing with the topic of food for some time, be it in the form of the culinary arts of a country or eating and drinking habits as a cultural form. „Cultural processes can be seen both in the preparation of food and in the product “food“ itself: food reflects cultural processes” (Czáky & Lack, 2014).


Epicure and Socrates already described certain ritualized forms of eating and their social functions. If „culture“ is understood as the totality of symbols, codes, signs, etc. with which individuals exchange and communicate in a certain context in order to orient themselves, the production, acquisition, preparation and consumption of food and beverages must inevitably be counted as a communicative and cultural practice. Eating actions being ritualized actions are not only embedded in the meaning systems of a culture, but also in the emotionality of human existence. It is therefore more than just the intake of food, but the cultural practice that varies from situation to situation.


Food and how it is being processed plays a crucial role as a universal anthropological phenomenon for all people on this earth – such as dealing with birth, the polarity man and woman, confrontation with illness or death, etc. and can thus be seen as universal anthropologist phenomenon. The sociologist Georg Simmel also knew that food is usually more than a natural necessity, but rather part of a socio-cultural process: if food is ritualized, this was where the cultural memory of the next generation was passed on: „the family’s meal together was the place where content and social rules were communicated” (Csáky, 2015).


Wierlacher (2009) adds another intercultural component: „Many cultures define themselves through their traditional food systems, food orders and cooking techniques; some countries, such as the USA, symbolically present themselves in a single national dish (note: the burger)„. Just think of the accession of Austria to the EU in 1995 and the well-known „Protocol 10“. Over 100 words were submitted as independent Austriacisms, accepted from the EU were 23, all of which originate from the culinary arts. You want to know more about Austria’s culture? Check out our intercultural tool Diversophy Austria.

P.S: By the way, the Viennese cuisine is the only cuisine in Europe that has been named after a city….

Read more (mostly in German – I am sorry ):







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