Literature gives us the opportunity to revisit a time when the saying ‘the world is your oyster’ was not yet invented. Two centuries ago the world of travel had not developed to a point where you could learn about new cultures by typing a search word into Google. Similarly, the cross-continental culinary experiences have reached a point of availability that offers you a trip abroad by introducing new foods to your pallet. Throughout the process of writing this blog I have explored various conversations between literature, food and travel. Whether it is to experiment with new culinary traditions, experience the atmosphere depicted in your favourite novel, or challenge your perception of the world, they all seem to have the ability to convert or support each other. By revisiting texts from previous centuries and looking back at episodes from my own travels I have forced myself to consider a traveller’s initial responses to new cultures’ customs. Notions of fear, disgust, memories or pleasure all seem to be part of these responses. In fact, through studying the connections between literature, food and culture it shows that these emotional and sensory responses have always been present. Interestingly though, earlier narratives such as Mary Rowlandson’s portrays how her reactions to encountering a new culture were brought upon her involuntarily, whereas recent literature and todays travellers’ seek the undiscovered and foreign by choice.
|The volunteer traveller seeking the undiscovered at The Louvre - Paris.|
Thank you for reading.