What is food heritage?

Video interview with Laurier Turgeon about food heritage.
Duration: 1min 41s
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The title Heritage appears. Historian and ethnologist Laurier Turgeon speaks into the camera.

Heritage is sites, objects and skills that we value and wish to preserve, like treasures.


00:10 - 00:25  

The title Continuity appears. Mr. Turgeon speaks into the camera.  

Essentially, heritage is what enables us to ensure continuity: to pass things down to our loved ones, mark our passage in time and build a lasting identity.


00:26- 00:37

The title Change appears. Mr. Turgeon speaks into the camera.

It is also made up of changes stemming from adaptations to physical and social environments that are in constant evolution and of appropriations and borrowing from other cultures.



The title Food heritage appears. Mr. Turgeon speaks into the camera.

Food heritage is a very particular and little known concept, since we tend to associate heritage with material things: monuments, historical buildings and objects.



The title Immaterial heritage appears. Mr. Turgeon continues, speaking into the camera.

Food heritage is particular because, for the most part, it’s immaterial: made up of foods that don’t last very long because they decompose quickly and disappear once they’re consumed.



The title Know-how appears. Mr. Laurier Turgeon speaks directly into the camera.

More than the foods themselves, it is culinary know-how that constitutes a food heritage. The skills passed down from one generation to the next make it possible to recreate the same dishes, aromas and tastes and ensure continuity.



The title Why eat? appears. Mr. Laurier Turgeon concludes, speaking directly to the camera.

We need to eat to ensure our biological survival but the foods we eat also serve to nourish our social and cultural lives.

It is often said that we must preserve our heritage. But what makes up this heritage? Laurier Turgeon, ethnologist and historian at Université Laval, explains what defines heritage and how it encompasses the food on our plate.