This essay touches upon questions about the use of food as an identity marker, the nature of local food, and the influence of foreign food. Since 1830, Belgium witnessed two international food waves that alternated with two local food waves, both opposing as well as using each other's characteristics. In this process, local food was continuously redefined. Belgium reveals a relationship between local and foreign food both in the sense of incorporation and exclusion. Foreign food always influenced local cooking and eating. The opposition between the ““self”” and the ““other”” is at times strongly upheld: local food is labeled as ““our,”” ““authentic,”” ““national,”” or ““regional”” (the ““self””) to make the difference with ““their,”” ““artificial,”” or ““international”” (the ““other””). This classification of foodways as national/regional is used to forge sentiments of belonging, especially in Belgium where strong separatist political feelings lead to intense regional reactions.

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