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Bread is baked from the crushed (or ground) seeds of grain. Around 10,000 years ago people cooked porridge or gruel and at least 3000 years ago leavened the dough of bread. In Europe, north of the Alps, it was only from the 16th century that the consumption of bread (and porridge) spread widely. Urban population concentrations grew, while yields fell due to the climatic deterioration. Greater areas of land were ploughed for grain cultivation and, independently of the quality of flour improved as a result of technical innovations in milling. The main factors for the dominance of grain were given. In regions where little was produced due to the natural endowments, such as the Mediterranean, bread grain was imported from Antiquity (Panem et circenses!). In mediaeval Europe nutrition was still characterised by the consumption of meat and vegetables (mainly cabbage). The balance tilted in the towns where the predominance of cereals can be observed. North-western Europe imported grain from the Baltic region. Up to the 18th century Eastern Central Europe exported beef cattle to the towns of Central Europe. As the demand for grain grew grazing land was ploughed and in the 19th century the country exported grain. Cereal consumption took the forms mainly of porridge, griddle-cakes, and later bread, dumplings and various kinds of boiled noodles. At the same time the role of soups (hot pots) in the daily diet increased. Bread and soup marked a new era in the history of menus. The people of Eastern Europe are still porridge-eaters. Almost from the start brewing has been one of the technologies for cereal consumption. Beer, with an increasing alcohol content, was at first the drink of urban dwellers, but later after the Middle Ages the peasantry also drank increasing quantities of ever stronger beer. Together with this latter process, grain spirits (whisky, gin, vodka, etc.) were also drunk on a growing scale. Distillation was an Arab invention and spread in the monasteries from the Middle Ages. At first Aqua vitae was a medicine but later shifted to the profane sphere in almost all respects.

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Senior Editors

Editor-in-Chief: Ágnes FÜLEMILE
Associate editors: Fruzsina CSEH;
Zsuzsanna CSELÉNYI

Review Editors: Csaba MÉSZÁROS; Katalin VARGHA

Editorial Board
  • Balázs BALOGH (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities)
  • Elek BARTHA (University of Debrecen)
  • Balázs BORSOS (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities)
  • Miklós CSERI (Hungarian Open Air Museum, the Skanzen of Szentendre)
  • Lajos KEMECSI (Museum of Ethnography)
  • László KÓSA (Eötvös University, Budapest)
  • lldikó LANDGRAF (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities)
  • Tamás MOHAY (Eötvös University, Budapest)
  • László MÓD (University of Szeged)
  • Attila PALÁDI-KOVÁCS (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities and Eötvös University, Budapest)
  • Gábor VARGYAS (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities and University of Pécs)
  • Vilmos VOIGT (Eötvös University, Budapest)
Advisory Board
  • Marta BOTÍKOVÁ (Bratislava, Slovakia)
  • Daniel DRASCEK (Regensburg, Germany)
  • Dagnoslaw DEMSKI (Warsaw, Poland)
  • Ingrid SLAVEC GRADIŠNIK (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
  • Dmitriy A. FUNK (Moscow, Russia)
  • Chris HANN (Halle, Germany)
  • Krista HARPER (Amherst, MA USA)
  • Anya PETERSON ROYCE (Bloomington, IN USA)
  • Ferenc POZSONY (Cluj, Romania)
  • Helena RUOTSALA (Turku, Finland)
  • Mary N. TAYLOR (New York, NY USA)
  • András ZEMPLÉNI (Paris, France)

Further credits

Translators: Elayne ANTALFFY; Zsuzsanna CSELÉNYI; Michael KANDÓ
Layout Editor: Judit MAHMOUDI-KOMOR
Cover Design: Dénes KASZTA

Manuscripts and editorial correspondence:

Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Institute of Ethnology
Research Centre for the Humanities
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
H-1453 Budapest, Pf. 33

Mészáros, Csaba or Vargha, Katalin review editors
Institute of Ethnology
Research Centre for the Humanities
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
H-1453 Budapest, Pf. 33
E-mail: or

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Journal Rank
Quartile Score
Cultural Studies Q2
Demography Q4
Music Q2
Cite Score
Cite Score Rank
Cultural Studies 508/1002 (Q3)
Demography 83/104 (Q4)
Music 60/142 (Q2)


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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Language English
Size B5
Year of
2020 Volume 65
per Year
per Year
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1216-9803 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2586 (Online)