Ihor Lylo is a historian whose research focuses on the cultural significance and influence of Eastern European gastronomic traditions, particularly on Ukrainian cuisine. In this talk, Lylo argues that traditional gastronomic practices of social and religious groups play a crucial role in shaping collective memory. This poses a danger to totalitarian regimes that use food and supply security as a tool of terror or political propaganda.
Artificial famines or even threats of their use remain in the memory of oppressed societies and have real consequences for the social behavior of citizens. At the same time, there are fears that the desire of postcolonial countries to use gastronomic traditions in building a new identity may lead to the strengthening of “gastronomic nationalism.” The discussion about the balance between these issues is an excellent opportunity to reflect on whether we are what we eat.