Journal article

Legalism in the Kitchen: Relativizing the Ethics and Performance of Gastronomic Expertise

Michael Herzfeld

Gastronomica: the journal of food and culture | University of California Press | Published : 2019


By adopting a “weak” version of cultural relativism, we can manage our own ethical discomfort without disrespecting those whose culinary values and practices we do not share. This entails recognizing the contextual and performative aspects of all gastronomic rhetoric, including claims of expertise over questions of culinary authenticity and standards of acceptable behavior during the consumption of food and drink; all such claims, while often couched in the language of moral certainty, are in reality susceptible to contestation. It is thus in the language of right and wrong that those engaged in culinary discussions affirm, negotiate, and modify the prevailing standards of taste and good man..

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