Attentiveness and planning in the creation of menus within the frameworks of public nutrition systems, which not only include restaurants but also various receptions and street food, is not just a characteristic of modern times in the 20th and 21st century. A look into the history of man shows that nutrition was always connected to religious, health-related and above all economic (financial) facts. For centuries, the alternating rhythm of hunger (fasting) and abundance was regulated by various forms of religious consciousness and shaped a firm system of annual, monthly and daily sequences or calendar rotations. As with all areas of cultural heritage, their historic development did not feature them as absolute terms, as they saw a very diverse development. It was not until Protestantism that meat again played an important role in human nutrition when the importance of fasting was reduced.
Throughout history, nutrition was connected to health and healthy living. Not long ago, sometime after the Second World War, the prevalent opinion was that a person needed to eat well and in abundance, since if you are plump, you will be healthy! Modern views on healthy nutrition and knowledge of the negative influences (e.g. allergies) that determine and direct nutrition have a rich history. Even the author of the first cook book in Slovenian, Valentin Vodnik, wrote in his famous introduction to Kuharske bukve (Ljubljana, 1799):
“Cooking means to make food that is appropriate for human pleasure. The aim of cooking is to preserve health, with dishes being the medicine for the healthy. Therefore, everything that is used for cooking has to be healthy, as well as the manner in which the dishes are cooked. Therefore, smart cooks warn about too much fat, grease and lard, bacon, pork meat and cured meats. They eliminate and reject rancid food, do not serve reheated food, do not cook in copper or zinc dishes or pewter when there is too much lead but only use earthenware and iron dishes. They keep their kitchen beautiful and clean. They make sure that the dishes are prepared in a manner that is not only good for the throat but also the stomach."
The extent and type of nutrition has always related to increases or reductions in personal and family budgets. This applied on both the domestic and the public level, i.e. restaurants. Reductions in budgets were always related, and they still are, to hunger, famine, unvaried nutrition and insufficient food intake. In modern times, general reductions in budgets unfortunately rarely lead towards healthy possibilities but instead often work in favour of unhealthy, street or fast food that have negative health effects. If we look at this budgetary aspect through historic development, we can see that it used to prevent an abundance of content and quantity but people still remained within the frameworks of healthy nutrition, even if it was often less diverse or highly monotonous (stews with various groats, cabbage and turnip and from the 19th century onwards also potatoes, which we call the bread of the poor.
In modern times, religious influences, the impacts of health or allergies and reductions in budgets are more consistently regarded in planning menus and the culinary offer in restaurants, inns, hotel restaurants and for various receptions and catering events. I can see this in the mass or so-called fast or street food. The situation is at its worst in bars, bistros, cafeterias and similar places where the only foods are alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. With the greedy acceptance of possible and, above all, impossible global and globalised values (!), it is interesting to see that Slovenia remains special in this field. This is yet another, albeit not too stimulating example of our modern recognisability. I Feel Slovenia!