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              The gastronomic meal of the French at Unesco: the representation of a good time by Kilien Stengel

              Le Cordon Bleu conferences: A taste for knowledge

              The gastronomic meal of the French at Unesco: the representation of a good time

              The inscription of the gastronomic meal of the French on Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, in 2010, reflects a desire to promote culinary practices, to the point of positioning them in an official heritage framework. This is why the definition given to the gastronomic meal of the French in the Unesco application bid outlined its deep roots in the history of society and stressed that “it always takes place following the same rites”. The profound story of a “good meal” is influenced by the history of the relationships between agriculture, trade, religions and rituals.

              Even if a good meal is far from the simple act of eating, the act of transmitting culinary expertise, at it is perceived today, seems to belong as much to the private sphere as the public one. Whilst regional and outstanding cuisine belong, in the imagination of the consumers, to the same gastronomic heritage, this “good food” portrays the important moments in the lives of individuals, with family or friends, celebrating the moment and enjoying life.

              So, out of all the practices associated with cuisine and the dining experience, which traditions should be transmitted? Society positions the diner and the chef in a socially structured and hierarchical situation, where each choice is guided by rites in order to promote a living heritage that is created on a daily basis in homes and restaurants. This dormant heritage, made up of forgotten grape varieties and recipes, is a heritage built by mankind, for mankind, on a daily basis in order to be in the minds of all. 

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