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n South African Journal of Cultural History - Have your cake and eat it! – Butterkuchen in the Philippi descendant community and the role of food, self and identity - research

Volume 33 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3053

Abstract

Butterkuchen (in Low German Bodderkoken, literally butter cake, but also Platenkuchen, or tray bake) is a North German cake specialty. It is also inseparable from the identity and food tradition of the descendant community of German immigrants to Philippi in the Western Cape. Indeed, it is part of the food tradition of all descendants of the Hermannsburg Mission communities to South Africa. This article discusses the history of this “peasant cake” and how it has since become a speciality bake and cultural “marker” of the identity of the descendants of the Philippi German immigrants. As context, a brief historical background is provided, including reference to the Hermannsburg Mission. Food as part of cultural history, and therefore identity, is discussed briefly, in this case in respect to Butterkuchen as a specific cultural-historical “marker” of the Philippi community. This discussion is followed by the main focus of the article, namely Butterkuchen and its significance – from the sense of security that a slice of Butterkuchen provides, to the shared history it symbolises. This simple food tradition contributes to this community’s collective historical consciousness, sense of identity and belonging. The tray bake literally also strengthens the emotional bond between different generations and their commitment to a unique history, e.g., how the recipe has been demonstrated to different generations. This almost literally strikes a bridge between the descendants’ ancestral land of origin and the 21st century, not only as an “infusion” into the next generation’s cultural identity, but, in fact, as cultural heritage embodied in butter, flour, a mixing bowl and a baking tray.

Kry vir jou nog! – Butterkuchen in die Philippi-afstammelingsgemeenskap en die rol van voedsel, self en identiteit

Butterkuchen (in Platduits Bodderkoken, letterlik botterkoek, maar ook Platenkuchen of platekoek, laasgenoemde soos wat die afstammelinge in Afrikaans daarna verwys) is ’n Noord-Duitse spesialiteitsgebak. Dit is onlosmakend deel van die identiteit en kostradisie van die afstammelingsgemeenskap van Duitse immigrante van Philippi in die Wes-Kaap – inderdaad uniek aan die kostradisie van alle afstammelinge van die Hermannsburgse sendinggemeenskappe na Suid-Afrika. Hierdie artikel bespreek hierdie eens “armmanskoek”1 – vandag ’n gesogte gebak – as deel van die kostradisie en dus kultuurhistoriese merker van identiteit van spesifiek die Philippi-gemeenskap. Eerstens word ’n kort historiese agtergrond aangebied, insluitend die Hermannsburgse Sending-verbintenis. Voedsel as deel van die mens se kultuurgeskiedenis, en dus identiteit, word vervolgens bespreek. Daarop volg ’n bespreking van dié baie spesifieke soetgebak as unieke kulturele “merker” van die Philippi-afstammelingsgemeenskap. Dié eenvoudige gebak dra belangrike kultuurhistoriese betekenis – van die geborgenheid wat ’n stukkie Butterkuchen bied, tot die gedeelde geskiedenis wat die gebak simboliseer, en dra so by tot die Philippi-gemeenskap se kollektiewe historiese bewussyn, asook ’n gevoel van identiteit en samehorigheid, veral vir ’n gemeenskap waarvan die kern al hoe meer bedreig word deur onder meer stedelike uitbreiding. Butterkuchen versterk ook die emosionele band tussen die verskillende geslagte en hulle verbondenheid aan hul unieke geskiedenis – soos hoe resepdemonstrasies vir verskillende generasies gegee is. Dié koestering en geborgenheid vorm amper letterlik ’n brug tussen hulle voorgeslagte se land van herkoms en die 21ste eeu, as’t ware ’n infusie in die volgende generasie se kulturele identiteit, en is inderdaad kulturele erfenis vergestalt in botter, meel, mengbak en bakplaat.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-18e3ce3c8d
2019-07-01
2020-02-27

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