The Making of Mămăligă
Transimperial Recipes for a Romanian National Dish
Mămăligă, maize porridge or polenta, is a universally consumed dish in Romania and a prominent national symbol. But its unusual history has rarely been told. Alex Drace-Francis surveys the arrival and spread of maize cultivation in Romanian lands from Ottoman times to the eve of the First World War, and also the image of mămăligă in art and popular culture. Drawing on a rich array of sources and with many new findings, Drace-Francis shows how the making of mămăligă has been shaped by global economic forces and overlapping imperial systems of war and trade.
The story of maize and mămăligă provides an accessible way to revisit many key questions of Romanian and broader regional history. More generally, the book links the history of production, consumption, and representation. Analyses of recipes, literary and popular depictions, and key vocabulary complete the work.
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