The modernisation of Nordic eating: studying changes and stabilities in eating patterns

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It is often claimed that in post-industrial societies eating is characterised by the dissolution of traditional cultural patterns regarding eating rhythms, the structure of meals and the social context of eating. This paper presents results from a Nordic quantitative and comparative study which was conducted in 1997 based on interviews with almost 5000 individuals from four nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). The study showed that even through some flexibility was evident, eating was characterized by nationally different, but socially coordinated rhythms. Two distinct meal patterns were identified, a "western" pattern with one daily hot meal (Denmark, Norway), and an "eastern" patterns with two, daily hot meals (Finalnad, Sweden). Even though a lot of eating took place in solitude, eating was most often a social activity. It is concluded that daily eating patterns are still socially shared practices and a flollow up study is announced which will enable more systematic analysis of specific patterns of change and stability in Nordic eating.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnthropology of Food
Issue numberS7
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
ISSN1609-9168
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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