Pršut as an Element of Cultural Convergence in the Food Habits of Croats, Montenegrins, and Serbs
[Prshut kak sostavnaia chast’ naplastovaniia kul’tur v traditsiiakh pitaniia khorvatov, chernogortsev i serbov]
Type of publication: Research Article
Mediterranean, Balkans, anthropology of food, traditional culture, raw cured ham, pršut, identity
Researching the production of pršut, or dry-cured ham, serves as an example for studying food habits as a cultural and social phenomenon. I examine a food-related complex of functions and symbols that have developed in historical, cultural, and religious contexts. The Balkan cuisine is a typical example of regional cuisine that took shape under the influence of interaction and supersession of various civilizations, being a symbiosis of mutually unlike nutritional canons of Slavic, Hungarian, Austrian, Turkish, Venetian, and Arab cuisines. Its benefits consist of including differently cooked dishes or fresh foods of both vegetable and animal origin in the daily ration. Greatly unique in its diversity, the regional cuisine is meanwhile an important segment of Balkan cultural identity, a key element of its representation. Pršut, lightly smoked on coals and then jerked over a long period of time (that of Dalmatia, Njeguši, and Zlatibor) or simply dried in breeze and sun (of Istria), is an archaic food akin to its Italian counterpart but also qualitatively different in the Balkans. Pršut finds its place in the traditional Croatian, Slovene, Serbian, and Montenegrin food cultures as a distinctive ethnic marker.
Martynova, M.Yu. 2020. Pršut as an Element of Cultural Convergence in the Food Habits of Croats, Montenegrins, and Serbs [Prshut kak sostavnaia chast’ naplastovaniia kul’tur v traditsiiakh pitaniia khorvatov, chernogortsev i serbov]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 42–56. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150010832-5
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