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„fallega framreiddur matur“: greining á gestgjafahlutverki húsmæðra í íslenskum matreiðslubókum 1800-1975.

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Matreiðslubækur eru áhugaverðar heimildir um líf fólks. Yfirleitt hafa slíkar bækur verið nýttar í matarfræðilegar rannsóknir, en nú eru þær í vaxandi mæli notaðar til að rannsaka hlutverk húsmæðra og hvernig það hefur breyst í tíma og rúmi. Áður fyrr var samfélagslega samþykkt að konur mættu skrifa og gefa út matreiðslubækur þótt enn stæði styr um annars konar rit. Ástæðan var sú að þessar bækur tilheyrðu að mörgu leyti einkasviðinu — þær voru skrifaðar af konum sem oft tengdust kvennaskólum eða húsmæðraskólum landsins og var markhópurinn íslenskar húsmæður. Þess vegna er spennandi að skoða hvað þessar bækur sögðu lesendahópi sínum um hvernig hin „rétta“ húsmóðir átti að fara að. Í þessari grein verður sjónum beint að einu þeirra hlutverka sem höfundar matreiðslubókanna leiðbeindu um: gestgjafahlutverkið og þróun þess frá 1800 til 1975. Í greininni eru til skoðunar frumsamdar íslenskar matreiðslubækur og hvað í þeim er sagt um heimilishald — hvernig leggja skyldi á borð, borðsiði, skreytingar og síðast en ekki síst, félagslegar skyldur húsmæðra sem gestgjafa.
„Nicely Served Food“: The housewife as hostess in Icelandic cookbooks, 1800–1975 Cookbooks represent interesting sources on lifestyles. While they have hitherto mostly been utilised for studies of food culture and consumption, they are increasingly being investigated to study the role of the housewife and how it has developed historically and geographically. The idea has been voiced that whereas society allowed women to write and publish cookbooks, other writings by them met with disapproval. The reason for the exception was that cookbooks were felt to belong above all to the private sphere, i.e. the home. Furthermore, they were usually compiled by women who were connected to home economics schools or schools for women, and were aimed at housewives. Cookbook authors in Iceland generally had some connection to Denmark, came from the higher echelons of society and emphasised bourgeois customs, so that their cookbooks now serve as intriguing research material on the social and cultural shaping of the role of housewife. This article concentrates on the housewife’s functions as a hostess, including serving, table manners, decorations and, last but not least, her social duties. The materials studied were Icelandic cookbooks published between 1800 and 1975, with Pierre Bourdieu’s theories on the four types of capital serving as a basis for analysis. The purpose was to reveal how a housewife could increase her capital, i.e. raise the value of her work, by utilising cookbook instructions. As Bourdieu notes, capital only has value if it is socially accepted, and the role of hostess gave the housewife an ideal opportunity to demonstrate her capital. The first Icelandic cookbook was published in 1800 and was intended for upper-class housewives; in contrast, the last one studied, published in 1975, focused on everyday circumstances and family togetherness at mealtimes. The job of the hostess – to show good taste and etiquette — had yielded to the role of mother. In this way, the cookbooks of the period reflect trends in the social status of women. It is maintained that women who were versed in the latest bourgeois manners, as well as traditional Icelandic dishes and customs, were supported by their cultural and social capital in writing books which instructed other women on proper behaviour. Cookbook authors thereby established and maintained their own position in society, as well as managing to a large degree to control what was considered good taste for Icelandic housewives. The housewife reader, on the other hand, was able to follow these instructions in order to augment her own capital and even the reputation of her household.