MoMA R&D

Salon 27 Gastrodiplomacy

In 1970, in the midst of the Cold War, American statesman and diplomat Henry Kissinger famously remarked that “[when you] control food, you control the people.“ Even though Kissinger was referring to the management of global food supplies, his statement holds true also in the case of person-to-person interactions. Sharing a meal can help people transcend boundaries in a way that nothing else can. At the same time, as an important marker of cultural identity, food can become a driver of conflicts, too. In this salon, we embarked on a culinary journey into the politics of food. Our goal was to get closer to understanding how what we put in our plates functions as a tool of soft power.

Some of the questions we strived to answer: What is the nexus between food and politics? Is the kitchen the new political forum? How does our culinary past reflect our values, culture and set of beliefs? In which ways does world politics infiltrate into the jigsaw of restaurants that inform the culinary landscape of our cities? Is it useful to look at food through the lens of cultural diplomacy? What are the implications of having countries ‘represented’ by their culinary traditions? What are the limits of gastrodiplomacy programs? And how to quantify their success? When does food function as a conduit for lasting changes, building peace and cultural awareness? When, instead, does it become a terrain of conflict and confrontation? Where shall we draw the line between the protection of a country’s culinary heritage and gastro-nationalism? And when spreading culinary traditions become gastro-propaganda? Which state and non-state actors are emerging as champions of this type of diplomacy? And how can we, as citizens, contribute to make gastrodiplomacy an effective tool of conflict resolution?

This salon took place on September, 11th, 2018, and was dedicated to Anthony Bourdain.

Speakers

Reading Resources

THE OLDEST DIPLOMATIC TOOL

Laudan, Rachel, Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History, University of California Press (April 2015)

Porter Kirkwood, Kenneth, The diplomat at table: a social and anecdotal history through the looking-glasss, Scarecrow Press (1974)

Schwabe, Alon, and Pascu, Daniel Fernandez, The Empire Remains Shop, Columbia University Press (2018)

Shapiro, Laura. The First Kitchen, The New Yorker (11.22.2010)

Stelzer, Cita, Dinner With Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table, Pegasus (October 2013)

FOOD AND IDENTITY

Black Culinary History

Belasco, Warren James, “Identity: Are we what we eat?”, in Food: the key concepts, Bloomsbury (2012)

Ciezaldo, Annia, Eat, Drink, Protest, Foreign Policy (05.25.2011)

Cogan, Marin, American Buffet: What refugee chefs bring to our country, The Washington Post Magazine (12.07.2017)

Freedman, Paul, Ten Restaurants That Changed America, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (2016)

Harris, Jessica B., My Soul Looks Black: A Memoir, Charles Scribner’s Sons (2017)

Lam, Francis, Edna Lewis and the Black Roots of American Cooking, The New York Times (10.28.2015)

Twitty, Michael W., The Cooking Gene. A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South, Harper Collins Publishers (2017)

BRANDING A NATION

Albright, Mary Beth, Culinary Diplomacy Is On America’s Menu, National Geographic Magazine (04.25.2015)

Mahon, Elaine, ‘Ireland on a Plate’: Curating the 2011 State Banquet for Queen Elizabeth, Journal of Media and Culture, vol. 18, issue 4 (August 2015)

Mintz, Sidney, Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom, Beacon Press (1996)

Pham, Mary Jo, Food as Communication: A Case Study of South Korea’s Gastrodiplomacy, Journal of International Service, vol.22, no 1, pp.1-23 (Spring 2013)

Rockower, Paul, Projecting Taiwan, Issues & Studies, vol.47, no 1, pp.107-152 (March 2011)

Ruddy, Braden, Hearts, Minds, and Stomachs: Gastrodiplomacy and the Potential of National Cuisine in Changing Public Perception of National Image, Public Diplomacy Magazine (03.02.2014)

Singh, Maanvi, Who’s Behind The Latest Ethnic Food Trend? Maybe It’s A Government, National Public Radio - The Salt (04.26.2015)

Wilson, Rachel, Cocina Peruana Para El Mundo: Gastrodiplomacy, the Culinary Nation Brand, and the Context of National Cuisine in Peru, Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy, vol.2, issue 1 (2013)

FOOD AS A SOCIO-POLITICAL BAROMETER

What the World Eats, National Geographic Magazine

Johnson, Geoff, The great nutrient collapse, Politico (09.13.2017)

Latson, Jennifer, The Kitchen Debate: When Khrushchev Said No to Pepsi but Yes to Peace, Time (07.24.2015)

Michel, Charles, The Taste of Cutlery and the Multisensory World of Eating, MOLD Magazine (01.05.18)

Ray, Krishnendu, The Ethnic Restaurateur, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. (2016)

FOOD AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Lasky, Julie, Matters of Taste, The New York Times (02.27.2014)

Mendelson Forman, Johanna, Foreign Policy in the Kitchen, E-International Relations (10.05.2016)

Ojong, Vivian Besem, Food as a measure of complete diplomacy: balancing India-Africa partnership through accommodating taste, Nidan: International Journal for Indian Studies, vol. 25, issue 1, pp.34-50 (January 2013)

Rockower, Paul, Recipes for gastrodiplomacy, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy (11.14.2012)

Sciolino, Elaine, French Politics Served in a Pita, The New York Times (12.22.2014)

FEEDING THE RESISTANCE

Brooks, Courtney, The Diplomacy of Food: a Q&A with Ben Rhodes, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (04.04.2017)

Chapple-Sokol, Sam, War and Peas: Culinary Conflict Resolution as Citizen Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy Magazine (03.02.2014)

Poon, Linda, Gastrodiplomacy: Cooking Up A Tasty Lesson On War And Peace, National Public Radio - The Salt (04.03.2014)

Turshen, Julia, Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved, Chronicle Books (2017)

YUMMY PROJECTS

Brigaid

Chefs for Peace

Conflict Kitchen

Drive Change

Emma’s Torch

FoodLab Detroit

Hot Bread Kitchen

WATCH

A taste of conflict: The politics of food in Jerusalem, Al Jazeera - 101 East (02.02.2016)

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, CNN - Roads & Kingdoms

Who Invented Chai? Well, It’s Complicated, AJ+ (05.20.2018)

Svatek, Peter, Theater of Life (2016)