8º DIAITA Colloquium
26-28 October 2022 | Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Coimbra & Auditório da Biblioteca Municipal de Alcobaça
Soil and climate are the natural elements essential for food production. Nature is also made of forms of life, plants and animals that provide sustenance. This vital universe, which includes the human species, feeds and is food itself, within a dynamic chain where resources and nutrients are exchanged, based on the diversity and interdependence provided by nature. Human intervention in the environment has transformed natural resources into domesticated, transformed and conditioned food. These have acquired food status and are served on our tables but, in many circumstances, are still highly dependent on the type of soil, water resources, climate, the season of the year, and species’ adaptability. In that sense, even domesticated nature determines what we eat, thus becoming Ladyship of the Table.
Understanding the complex phenomenon of food must be done within its relationship with nature and requires the interpretation of the factors responsible for the overcoming of the purely biological level of the food act and its conception as a cultural phenomenon. Taste, concern about health, sustainability, social, political and economic representations, as well as religious values, philosophical, ethical and aesthetic concerns on what we eat contribute to make of the table a place of scrutiny. That is, the table, as a space for the staging of norms, representations and values, becomes the Mistress of Nature.