Florian Muehlfried – Sharing the Same Blood: Culture and Cuisine in the Republic of Georgia

This mainly ethnographic paper takes as its starting point two main questions. Why is the Georgian capital of Tbilisi among the cities with the highest density of restaurants, cafés and bars in the post-Soviet region? And to what extent does the popular taste for overindulgence amount to a form of compensation and escapism? With these questions in mind, I distinguish between three forms of socializing in Tbilisi society, putting each one into context: banqueting, beer-drinking and tea-drinking. Each of these forms evokes a particular pattern of ritualized behavior and public communication: formalized speech, colloquial speech, irony, flirting, and communicating with the dead. Georgian fast and festive foods are both considerably standardized and inscribed in performances of national culture. In diasporical contexts, a specific sauce called tqemali sometimes essentialises national identity. Finally, a historical framing illustrates the key role of eating and drinking in the maintenance and shaping of Georgian national identity.

Muehlfried, F. (2008). Sharing the same blood–culture and cuisine in the Republic of Georgia. Anthropology of food, (S3).

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