The first study on gastronomic cultural identity: Romanian food has a great potential for reinvention
"Romanian cuisine is going through a period of adaptation and transformation, in which it takes care of its present and prepares its future. Specialists in the field of gastronomy show an active concern in this regard and come up with initiatives and solutions. However, what is the state of Romanian consumers when they think about Romanian food? How many still cook or eat from what we call a traditional menu? How much importance do you attach to Romanian cuisine? These are some of the aspects we want to elucidate using a concentrated sample of diverse people, interested in cooking and food in general", explains Silvia Teodorescu, our partner from Cronicari Digitali and Zaga Brand
The study shows that Romanian cuisine has some obvious features: it is not very practical, it requires a lot of preparation time and it is cooked in peace, something that modern life lacks. At the same time, Romanian food is heavy, has many sauces and is served in large quantities. It's not attractive, the ingredients are mixed and often it doesn't sit nice and appetizing on the plate, which also leads to another obvious feature of Romanian cuisine: it takes trust to taste what's in front of you.
"Romanian food is built on the cornucopia metaphor: plenty, colorful and tasty. It is seen as the most accessible form of attaining happiness. Food for Romanians means full and abundant meals, lots of people gathered around the table, lots of talks and laughter, no rules and inhibitions, and abundance in the freedom of expression. A never ending party. It is the most splendidly disinhibiting and therapeutic way to enjoy life, however your life may be", as Adina was noting in the study’s communication
The study carried out for Amintiri Gustoase shows that people talk more about cooking today than before the pandemic. Cooking becomes sustainable and healthy, because it is seen as the smartest way to reduce food waste, respecting the condition of cooking in small quantities.
Because time seems to be cooking's biggest enemy, many respondents say they are interested in technical options to reduce stress in the cooking process and turn to technology.
Among the main qualities of Romanian cuisine are taste, consistency and healthy recipes. As minuses, the participants of the study point to overly complicated recipes, the fact that the food does not always look nice on the plate, but also that it is often too heavy and with many sauces.
The qualitative study was carried out by Unlock Research at the behest of Zaga Brand, the agency that created the “Cronicari Digitali” cultural platform, which also integrates “Amintiri Gustoase” project. To collect the data, two focus groups were organized between January and February2023, the conclusions being presented in Bucharest, as part of the Tasty Memories Masterclass, an event that brought together chefs, anthropologists, content creators from the food area, foodies, as well as media specialists.
The information revealed by the first study about Romania's gastronomic identity will form the basis of the Tasty Memories projects from the next period, which can be easily followed on the official Instagram and Facebook accounts.