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Burek: A Culinary Metaphor

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by Jernej Mlekuz
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The cultural significance of the the burek, a humble pie eaten across the Balkans and in other places once a part of the Ottoman empire, looms large in Slovenia. A popular street food, the burek is also a symbol of young people's ambivalence toward their country's past.

Jernej Mlekuz, a scholar at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, employs a playful style to examine the manifold identities of the burek and its pervasiveness in Slovenian culture and conversation. He reveals it as at once a fundamental touchstone of Slovenian culinary heritage, a tool for Slovenian chauvinism, and a symbol of retrograde attitudes that some hope have been left behind.

Despite touches such as labeling part of the book as the "foreburek," "preburek," "afterburek," and "burekindex', Mlekuz's examination is serious, looking not so much to resolve inconsistencies in Slovenian attitudes as to highlight them for further examination.

Paperback. Black-and-white photographs.

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