Lunch in an East German enterprise - Differences in eating habits as symbols of collective identities
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 131.2006:51-70
Keywords: food, eating habits, consumption of food, commensality, culture and food, canteens

##Although specific food items have been a recurrent theme before and after German unification, we know little about eating habits as a relational idiom in the course of transformation. This article argues that studying patterns of commensality can contribute to our understanding of how social relations change with the imposition of a new economic system. With this approach the author argues also for a broadening of traditional anthropological studies on food consumption in the household towards the inclusion of other settings, such as the semi-institutional environment of the enterprise. The article starts with an historical overview of the development of canteens and their interpretation in East and West Germany. In the subsequent case study, taking part or not taking part in mid-day commensality mirrors social differences. Furthermore, people interpret eating habits in the light of past experiences and understand present developments as markers of East and West German differences.##