Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Postmodernism, Romanticism and Norwegian Cuisine
Adrian has a comment on August 26th about restaurants in Bergen and postmodernism:

when i first came to bergen in 1998 there simply was not a restaurant that went remotely close to what what i'd have described as postmodern cuisine, the sort of food that anders actually describes. it has all the qualities of the postmodern; a return to the value and significance of the local, of quotation and pastiche, and the loss of the authority of a particular metanarrative (master or national cuisine). today in bergen i know of 3 restaurants that provide food like this, they are all new. change does happen.

What does Anders (aug.22nd) describe? He describes cooking with traditional Norwegian ingredients, but with tastes which can compete with french or italian cuisine. This might be "quotation and pastiche", but it's not a post-modern expression. Quite to the contrary, it's neo-romanticism - note the reference to the Vikings, a favourite of Norwegian romanticisms. The reason why you didn't find post-modern restaurants in Bergen three years ago is that Norway never got over modernism. We still believe in progress - we're just awfully romantic about those nice, old days when living was easy and mussels tasted like mussels after you had picked them with your own hands and to your armpits in water.

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