Khir Johari's recent study "The Food Of Singapore Malays" sets new standards in the regional study of everyday cultural practices. The knowledge of entire cultures and regions is stored in the use of food, its preparation and the dissemination of recipes and images. Comparable to the Baltic Sea region, Southeast Asia as a region is shaped not only by trade, conflict, and migration, but also by traditions and practices that people use in the daily preparation of food. In the regional availability of ingredients and the diverse variations of taste, a geography becomes visible that redefines regional contexts, borders, and spaces once again in comparison to previous approaches. Khir Johari's book joins promising beginnings of a newer cultural history of food, in which, for example, Elisabeth Bronfen recently succeeded beyond traditional cookbooks with "Besessen." Khir Johari's book is likewise not a cookbook, even if it does contain some recipes. It is a regional history of a cultural heritage that has yet to be discovered in this form for the Baltic Sea region.
Khir Johari is a historian and an acknowledged expert on Malay culture. A former vice-president of the Heritage Society in Singapore, he is a long-time partner in maritime cultural research.
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