Food: Heritage and Evolution

Illustration by Anna Seibæk Torp-Pedersen

Cuisine is central to the heritage of many people across the world, who draw on national, local and familial traditions whenever they cook and eat. Dishes and delicacies help to define identities and have shaped popular perceptions of countries, from the steadfast sauerkraut of Germany to the classic coq au vin of France. William Hogarth used a side of British beef as a symbol of his nation’s wealth and power in his 1748 painting The Gate of Calais, a less than flattering comment on our closest continental neighbours. Food is undoubtedly one of the most salient and enduring aspects of culture. It is only in recent years, however, that it has been appreciated as a facet of heritage worthy of preservation by our institutions. Occurring alongside an ongoing food revolution in which multitudinous cuisines are on offer, their efforts to protect the traditional raise questions as to the onward trajectory of our culinary journey.