A Culinary Metaphor
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Selected in "The Best of The Best - 1995-2020" (Gourmand World Cookbook Awards)
Publication date: 
183 pages, 13 photos and 7 recipes

“As simple as burek” is a popular phrase used by many young people in Slovenia. In this book Jernej Mlekuž maintains that the truth is just the opposite. The burek is a pie made of pastry dough filled with various fillings that is well-known in the Balkans, and also in Turkey and the Near East by other names. Whether on the plate or as a cultural artifact, it is in fact, not that simple. After a brief stroll through its innocent history, Mlekuž focuses on the present state of the burek, after parasitical ideologies had attached themselves to it and poisoned its discourses. In Slovenia, the burek has become a loaded metaphor for the Balkans and immigrants from the republics of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Without the burek it would be equally difficult to consider the jargon of Slovenian youth, the imagined world of Slovenian chauvinism and the rhetorical arsenal of advertising agents when promoting healthy foods.

In this analysis, Mlekuž refers to the burek as the “metaburek.” All at the same time it is greasy, Balkan, Slovene, not-Slovene, Yugoslavian, familiar, foreign, the greatest, the worst, disturbingly unhealthy, plebeian, junk food, and finally, a cherub (burek spelled backwards is kerub, the Slovene word for cherub). And this metaburek, the protagonist of this book, is never a completely pure, innocent, unconditioned burek. It is much more.

A word of warning: after consuming this text, the burek will never be the same.

List of Figures vi
Foreburek (I Mean: Foreword) Jože Vogrinc 1
Preburek 5
Towards the Burek 11
The Burek and the Metaburek 11
The Metaburek and Discourse 13
The Metaburek and the (Non-)Discursive 21
The Metaburek and the (Im)Material 26
The Metaburek and Discourse (Part II) 31
The Metaburek and Discourse (Part III) 35
The Metaburek and (Non-)Interpretation 41
The Burek and the Metaburek (Part II) 43
About the Burek 47
The Burek is Great and/or a Nutritious Junk Food:
on the burek and healthy lifestyles 47
Nutritious Junk Food 47
The Burek is Great 68
…Burekwarriors 85
Slovenes into Europe with Bureks and/or the Dictatorship
of the Carniolan Sausage, and most of all a good joke:
on the burek and the national essence 93
The Dictatorship of the Carniolan Sausage 93
Slovenes into Europe with Bureks 126
A Good Laugh 140
Afterburek 155
Burekbibliography 163
Primary Sources 163
Literature 170
Burekindex 174