1st Edition

Food and Cooking on Early Television in Europe Impact on Postwar Foodways

Edited By Ana Tominc Copyright 2022
    194 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection critically examines the role of food programming on European early television and the impact this might have had on food habits and identities for the European audiences. It foregrounds various food programme genres, from travelog, cooking show and TV cooking competition, to more artistic forms. For the first time, it examines in one place eight European countries, from Portugal to Czechoslovakia and Britain to France and Yugoslavia, to explore ways in which television contributed to culinary change, demonstrating differences and similarities in which early food programme in Europe shaped and promoted progress, modernity, gender and national identities in both Eastern and Western Europe.

    Featuring a number of archival images that illustrate early food programme visually, this collection complements other research into postwar food history, adding a perspective of visual medium that is often neglected. As such, it should be interesting for food and media historians as well as those interested in European postwar history and culture.

    1. Food and Cooking on Early Television in Europe: An Introduction
    2. Ana Tominc

    3. The Man In The Kitchen’. Boulestin and Harben - Representation, gender, celebrity and business in the early development of television cooking programmes in Britain Kevin Geddes
    4. Negotiating and validating the ‘housewife’ identity: cookery advice in BBC TV Women’s Programming (1946-61), the influence of Marguerite Patten, and Cookery Club (1956-1961) as an early audience participation series.
    5. Diane Charlesworth

    6. Changing culinary imaginations. Early TV Cooking programmes and the transformation of Dutch food culture in the post-2nd World War period
    7. Eggo Müller

    8. Stylish, snobbish, aseptic and well-mannered: Culinary art on the French TV show Dim Dam Dom
    9. Joël Danet

    10. Mario Soldati and his Viaggio nella Valle del Po: a culinary journey between early television and Italian culinary identity
    11. Francesco Buscemi and Cristina Comunian

    12. Der Fernsehkoch empfiehlt. The Conflict between Ideology and Supply Reality in East German Television Cooking Shows
    13. Nancy Nilgen

    14. Chef Ivan Ivačič’s Contribution to Culinary Modernization in 1960s Yugoslavia (Slovenia) through TV Cooking Shows
    15. Ana Tominc

    16. Chefs with Tins. The Vaří šéfkuchař Show on Czechoslovak Television from 1963–1970
    17. Martin Franc

    18. Cooking the nation on Portuguese TV in the 1960s: the case of the cooking show Culinária

    Susana Barata Gomes

    Conclusion: Early European Food Television: Some Differences and Similarities

    Ana Tominc


    List of figures

    List of contributors




    Dr Ana Tominc is an Assistant Professor in Food, Communication and Media Studies at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

    This volume brings together two of the most powerful ingredients for identity building: food and television. Through its transnational and European focus, it offers a delicately balanced menu of national case studies highlighting how the new medium of television treated food and cooking as both object of culinary instruction or dietetic advice and aesthetic mise-en-scène of chefs as celebrities; education in taste and popular entertainment go hand in hand. As the authors convincingly demonstrate, cooking shows – be it in socialist Yugoslavia, under Portuguese dictatorship, or in countries of Western European democracies – served the ambiguous purpose of promoting national specificity and culinary traditions while at the same time acting as agents of culinary globalization and internationalization. The book fills a real gap in early television history – a truly European taste contest through the lens of TV.

    Professor Andreas Fickers, Luxembourg University

    Food and Cooking on Early Television is a gift for English-speaking readers—food studies and communication scholars like myself whose understandings of early food television programming and audiences have been constrained to a focus on English-speaking countries by our paralytic monolingualism. The collection’s contributors laser in on early food TV in eight countries across Eastern and Western Europe as they examine its role in the shifts from food shortages and wars to development and modernization. The contributors bring to light cooking shows and their audiences as agents and conduits for massive sociopolitical shifts in Europe—influencing national discourses about gender, religion, expertise, and celebrity—from the dawn of broadcasting to the late 1960s. The volume offers a fascinating account of how tensions between education and entertainment played out in various national settings as food and cooking TV mediated viewer taste(s).


    Professor Kathleen LeBesco, Marymount Manhattan College, USA

    An indispensable collection for anyone who wants to understand the history of food television in postwar Europe. Based on extensive primary research, the book provides fascinating and original insights into both media and food history and demonstrates how cookery TV was used to negotiate the meaning of modernity. The collection expands our understanding of the development of TV aesthetics and genres and the rise of celebrity chefs and highlights how food television has played a role in constructing the nation. Recommended for anyone interested in postwar European food cultures.

    Dr Joanne Hollows

    This is an important collection for several reasons. First, it provides a rich and critical contribution to the record of historical, geographical, and ideological complexities of the seemingly simple contemporary term "food TV". Secondly, its timing could not be more opportune as the world grapples with some version of a "new [post-COVID] normal" where, much like the post-war context many of these chapters examine, everyday roles and behaviours have already been fundamentally altered. The parallels of needing both education and entertainment in various stages of lockdown and sourdough frenzies in 2020 to cooking with rationed foods and learning to use a microwave six decades ago is both a startling and necessary reminder that the dynamics of "then" are not necessarily confined to the past, even if our "now" is more directly shaped by following Stanley Tucci eating around Italy on CNN than watching Philip Harben on the BBC in 1946. 

    Dr Signe Rousseau, University of Cape Town; Co-Chair Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies