Food is the great merge that connects us over the cultures and generations. We have all had those times when we smelled something that reminded us of our childhood, or reproduce a dish that we had abroad that immediately brought us back to that foreign place.
Food can quite directly move you to another time, another country, another culture without even leaving your dinner table, which is why food culture is such an significant way that we as people are able to attach and relate to one another.
Definition of Food Culture
Food culture refers to the practices, attitudes, and beliefs as well as the networks and institutions surrounding the production, distribution, and consumption of food.
That’s a mouth full so let’s break it down — food culture is the connection, beliefs, and experience we have with food and our food system. It incorporates our cultural heritage and ethnicity, but is not limited to it.
Our food culture is as much about our ethnic cultural heritage, as it is about our environmental culture and the way our surrounding impact the foods we eat and the way we experience them.
Food Culture Around the World
There are many different food cultures of the world, some more distinctive and globally popular than others, and some which very hardly leave their particular environment but are still just as valuable to the local community they influence.
Different food cultures around the world are impact by many aspects, but the most observable is arguably the way in which several food cultures use specific ingredients and spices to invoke different flavor profiles that settle their food culture.
This is why food cultures often change regionally even within one country depending on the landscape, weather, and history that each field differently experienced. While the United States is not known for retaining the most optimistic food culture, this is something that is very noticeable as local cuisines in the United States vary drastically expecting on what region you live in. The same holds valid for Italian food culture, which varies drastically from North to South.
But indifferently of what ingredients, flavors, or traditions exist between the different food cultures of the world there are two things that act as connected threads woven throughout them all — community and pleasure. There isn’t a food culture in the world that does not include these two parts of our food experience, even though they are often highly overlooked and undervalued in the American interpretation of food culture.
What this means is that we were meant to enjoy our food, and we were meant to enjoy our food with friends and family. Food cultures were founded on the way in which food was used to celebrate religious holidays, community events, and family gatherings. In other words food was celebrated and respected as an essential part of what makes humans human.
How Food Culture effects Our Health?
Without a stable food culture food come to be something that we work for personal gain. It ends being something that we honor, and instead becomes something that we use to control, and the more we use to influence our food the less we truly value and experience it.
Because food cultures are profoundly routed parts of our original history that have grew and developed overtime, they are necessary parts of how we help our overall health and nourish our bodies. However, over the past half century within the United States especially, commercially processed foods and the insurgence of supermarkets and marketed diet culture have disconnected many Americans with their traditional food culture to the point where they may not even recognize it anymore.
Also read: Junk Food Vs Healthy Food: Good and Bad
For so many people the phrase food culture doesn’t mean much. Food is something that comes packaged, that is counted and manipulated, and overall disconnected from any real meaning. At some point we decided to remove the culture from our food and our health began to suffer. our food culture is as much a part of our personal and societal well-being, as our food is itself.
Importance of Food Culture
To crack it down even further food cultures, no matter where in the world, all hold a few key factors:
- They embrace sharing food with community and family
- They have importance the needs of the land over the facility driven needs of people
- They use food to recognize religious and community occasions
- They focus on local and seasonal elements, and use them to create different and discernible flavors
- They value their food occasions and then move along with their day
- Food is not something to be manipulated, it is meant to be shared and celebrated
This is where we begin to be eligible to clearly see how our food is meant to endorsement to the land it is grown on, alimentary both our bodies and our atmosphere, and something that we are meant to live in balance with, not control.