The Pleasures of Being Global: Cultural Consumption of Pizza and Sushi in a Bulgarian City
This chapter envisages cultural implications of rapidly changing food practices in a Bulgarian postcommunist city, namely the consumption of two global foods, pizza and sushi. In the last 20 years after the fall of communism eating has been transformed from predominantly home consumption, based on traditional culinary practices, to a more open system of market and cultural interactions. Pizza and Japanese sushi epitomize new experiences gained in the venues of proliferating city cafés and restaurants. Being almost fully domesticated and hybridized, pizza restaurants are compatible with the traditional loci of social contact, places where new mass eating culture is shaped. On the other hand, sushi is almost entirely put in the realm of symbolic consumption. Sushi consumption as a part of Bulgarian city culture demonstrates the pleasure of being on a par with the global enjoyment of an exquisite food—experience requiring a certain level of expertise. Japanese food is for connoisseurs. It teaches and demonstrates certain knowledge to the newly emerging Bulgarian middle-class food fans. Visiting of such places and ways of eating there is what primarily matters. Consumption of foreign food is viewed as a social device producing local meanings in the time of intense globalization.
KeywordsPizza Sushi Japanese food Domestication Global foods Local cuisine Symbolic consumption
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