Author: Kathleen Burke

Abstract

This article combines methodological approaches from global history and food history to demonstrate the multi-direction interactions between mobile people, plants and material culture and the creation of a new global food culture in Batavia, the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. It reconstructs the global world of Batavia in the eighteenth century and shows how the horticultural, cooking and eating practices of its inhabitants revealed the port city’s connections with distant shores. Batavia was populated by a minority of Europeans, together with more numerous Chinese migrants from Fujian and enslaved people from across the Malay-Indonesian archipelago and the Coromandel, Malabar and Bengal regions of India. Food producers and consumers, traders, and enslaved cooks and cultivators from all these places contributed a diversity of culinary influences that were re-assembled into cooking and eating practices, many of which had never before existed in the same culinary context. While the article uses sources produced by Dutch-speaking colonists, it reads them against the grain in order to reconstruct this diversity of actors, spotlighting the role of enslaved cooks as mobile circulators of knowledge.

In: Crossroads
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories