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Moral economies and commercial imperatives; food, diets and spas in central Europe: 1800-1914

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jill Steward


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Nineteenth-century central European spas were important components in the medical marketplace as well as centres of recreational tourism. Histories of the spas emphasize the pivotal role of the mineral waters in spa life. Food and eating practices seldom feature in these accounts, even though some attention has been given to the role of diet in spa medicine and many spa patients suffered from dietary-related disorders. Mealtimes were, however, important social events in the daily routines of spa life; eating practices affected everyone and brought into play issues of social class, gender and cultural identity, just as much the rituals of the pump room and promenade. This essay examines the way that changes in eating practices and the growing importance of diet and nutrition in spa medicine were linked not only to shifts in medical theory and practice, but also to the broader movements and changes taking place in social life and consumer culture. It was at the dinner table that theories of dietetics (the principles of healthy living) conflicted most directly with the values of an urban leisure culture which thrived on the desire and ability of individuals to consume as much as possible.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Steward JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Tourism History (Special Issue: International Histories of Mineral springs Resorts: The Mondariz Balneario Symposium of 2011, Part 2)

Year: 2012

Volume: 4

Issue: 2

Pages: 181-203

Print publication date: 04/07/2012

ISSN (print): 1755-182X

ISSN (electronic): 1755-1838

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/1755182X.2012.697487


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