Connecting food memories with the rural: the case of Portuguese and British consumers


This chapter aims at exploring the meanings of organic and local foods amongst Portuguese urban and British rural consumers through their food memories. The empirical material draws on about 60 interviews with consumers in both countries. It was possible to identify similar processes through which Portugal and the UK went through across time: the reconfiguration of provisioning systems together with processes of institutional, social and market mobilisation around ‘quality’ food. It is concluded that food memories served, to a certain extent, to overcome the rural–urban divide, as both groups of consumers evoke similar rural images despite positioned in different urban–rural configurations in two different countries. However, consumers use and enact their food memories in everyday food handling and display evocative images of the rural to demarcate what is quality food, ending up reinforcing, instead of totally overriding, the rural–urban divide.