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"We don't want any German sausages here!" Food, fear, and the German nation in Victorian and Edwardian Britain

Waddington, Keir 2013. "We don't want any German sausages here!" Food, fear, and the German nation in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Journal of British Studies 52 (4) , pp. 1017-1042. 10.1017/jbr.2013.178

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Abstract

This essay brings together aspects of the history of science, food, and culture, and applies them to the study of Anglo-German relations and perceptions by examining how between 1850 and 1914 the German sausage was used as a metaphor for the German nation. The essay shows how the concerns that became attached to German sausages not only provide a way of understanding Britain's interaction with Germany but also reveal further dimensions to popular anti-German sentiment. Alarm about what went into German sausages formed part of a growing strand of popular opposition to Germany, which drew on increasing insecurity about Britain's position on the world stage and the perceived economic threat that Germany and German immigrants presented. Such sentiment was translated into how Germans were caricatured and onto material objects—in this case, the “deadly mysteries” that were feared to go into German sausages. Cultural and gastronomic stereotypes overlapped in a discourse that linked Germany and Germans to their national diet and aggressive nature, as well as associated German sausages with fears about diseased meat, adulteration, and the risks that eating them entailed. The result was that the German sausage was used as a staple for satirical comic representations of Germany, as representative of dishonesty in food production, and as a xenophobic slur. Around the German sausage, anti-German sentiment and questions of food safety merged and became mutually reinforcing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0021-9371/ (accessed 28/08/2014)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0021-9371
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:25
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/38815

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