The call for papers of the First International Conference on Food and Culture in Translation started with this sentence: “Food, the cornerstone of life, lies at the heart of our cultural identity.” So very true indeed. If you have travelled a bit, you may have noticed that conversations that involve people from more than one nationality always end up revolving around the differences in local foodways. When I was on Erasmus in the Canary Islands, I remember that one of my goals was to taste as many local dishes I could. I did enjoy the papas arrugadas very much (to this day, I still make my own mojo picón), while I really hated the garbanzos con bacalao, but I ate them nonetheless. A few years ago, my dad was astonished when he saw his visiting Korean colleagues drink strong Belgian beer with couscous. My fiancé takes great delight in telling me about lutefisk and pickled herrings from his days in Denmark. Most of my friends and I have a sense of nostalgia when it comes to remembering our first fish & chips, age 15, on our first trip to London.
So I couldn’t agree more with the first statement. I sent an abstract regarding the translation of food-related realia and it was accepted. I was on cloud nine given that (1) someone had actually chosen my work, (2) it was a conference on food and translation, (3) in Italy. FOOD. IN ITALY. Whoever (and it’s probably Pr. Linda Rossato) came up with that idea is a genius. I will not go on and on about how interesting the presentations were, but my rule of thumb is that a rate of three interesting talks per day makes a good conference. In that respect, FaCT was flawless. All the talks I attended were interesting. All of them. I even shed a tear when Fred Gardaphé read a story about an abandonned tuna tin in an empty shop (you had to be there to understand, it was a very moving reflexion on Italian-American identity).
Here are a few photographs of the conference and its beautiful venue, the CEUB (Centro Residenziale Universitario di Bertinoro):