Same stuff, different meaning … same meaning, different stuff? A story of ’bread’ and ’wine’ in Indonesia


  • Gabriele Weichart University of Vienna


bread, wine, travelling food/drink, consumption, North Sulawesi


Throughout history, food and drink travelled over continents and oceans and found new ‘homes’ among societies with eating cultures very different from those of their places of origin. The present article takes as example two classical foodstuffs from the Mediterranean region, namely bread and wine, which finally made their way to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. There, among the predominantly Christian Minahasa, roti (bread) and anggur (wine) have been incorporated into the local food culture although they neither are nor do they mean ‘the same’ as their European or Western counterparts. Guided by questions about the status and significance of foods/drinks as linked to their integration in or exclusion from different social and culinary spheres, I will explore the particular roles of roti and anggur in relation to other foods and drinks of similar kinds in Minahasa society. I will argue that besides time, place and identification, it is the labour invested in its production that plays an important role in the appropriation of certain food/drink among the rural population.