The Role of Food in Karen Blixen’s short story “Babette’s Feast” and Juzo Itami’s film Tampopo
Durant de Saint Andre, O.E.N.H.A.
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Karen Blixen’s “Babette’s Feast” and Juzo Itami’s Tampopo are structured around the importance of food in our daily lives. In this thesis, I argue that the story and film manage to elevate food from its physiological need by presenting foodways as a vehicle for culture, a vector for social interactions as well as a means for female emancipation. The two texts represent food in an innovative way as it transcends its commodification to play an active role in “Babette’s Feast” and Tampopo’s narratives. Drawing on the theories of Stuart Hall, Roland Barthes and Barbara Welter, I show that “Babette’s Feast” and Tampopo represent foodways are a marker of identity. First of all, food has a symbolic function as it is able to signify a person’s traditions and intentions. Foodways also function as a form of communication inciting bodily interaction between individuals whilst signaling power relations. Finally, foodways allow women to liberate themselves from their domesticity as they use food to reclaim their agency.