Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are

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A Gastronome who Coined a Proverb

A well-known gastronome who coined the proverb "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are" is Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. People from diverse cultural backgrounds and customs inhabit the globe. Each of these areas has a unique culture that is largely influenced by the type of food that its residents eat. Brillat-Savarin acknowledged that people consumed various kinds of food as a result of cultural differences when he made the aforementioned remark. In some places, eating a certain meal might be frowned upon, but in other places, it might be encouraged. This analysis, therefore, affirms the above phase, which insinuates that what you eat can be used to determine who you are. To justify the above statement, the analysis will focus on various articles that reflect the different foods consumed and their cultural origins.

The Influence of Culture on Food Consumption

According to Sand (39), culture plays a very significant role in the determination of the food consumed by an individual or a group of people. A culture can be used in determining where food comes from and the communities or nationals that consume the products. Sand gives an explanation using the monosodium glutamate, which has for a long time been a Japanese food component. Culturally, the Japanese were the original users of the additive. Over the years, it grew, and Chinese became the primary consumers of the products. In this context, a person found to be largely using the monosodium glutamate can be considered a Japanese. It was later on broken down into smaller portions making it manageable to spread. Given its widespread use, the place of origin remains to be Japan.

Impact of Location on Food Consumption

Notably, Sand observes that changes in the location of manufacture lead to a change in perception on the origin. For instance, the shifting of the menu from North Korean-made the locals to completely change their consumption pattern. Other regions, therefore, acquire the consumption pattern thereby causing them to be related to the given food culture. The culture of food consumption is distinct in various regions. Cwiertka analyzes similar sentiments while taking about the impact brought about by Japanese colonization. In the analysis, Cwiertka (340) refers to the manner in which Japanese dominated the use of Soy source despite the product being manufactured in Korea. From the observation, Cwiertka notes that a constant presence of a food substance or item within a region makes it transform into a significant aspect of human life. This can explain the reason behind Japanese use of the Soya source regardless of the fact that they were not the producers.

The Contribution of Asia to World Cuisine

Mintz while presenting an analysis on the contribution of Asia to the world cuisine, he notes that the diverse food materials within the Asian market are as a result of the different cultural groups in the continent. Most food prepared by Asians follow a particular preparation pattern that was taught to them in the ancient days. This has enabled them to have the largest cuisines in the world. The article notes that most of the foods consumed in the market come from Asia and their kitchen is inclusive of various items that have been borrowed by other regions such as French, British, and the United States.

Cultural Differences and Food Preparation Styles

Mintz explains an incident where Mr. Bowen Samuel, an American citizen prepared sago flour, noodles, and soya beans from plants he had grown in America. Bowen carried these products to Britain where the King was pleased with the idea and handsomely rewarded him a gold medal for the great work. The incident occurred approximately ten years before the commencement of the American Revolution. This can only point out to the fact that Americans were enjoying the food items from the Asian countries. Other individuals such as Benjamin Franklin were farmers and engaged in activities that enabled them to produce cheese from beans. This nature of creativity was seen to be high among them, depending on the cultural differences that existed. Each of the groups, therefore, had a distinct taste and culture for preparing certain foods. Also, the customs of the communities and countries are different hence causing them to practice unique styles of food preparation.

Cultural Significance of Food Consumption

Based on the above observations, what you eat can be directly connected to what you are through cultural practices. The menus depict the customs cultures of the various communities and as a result consumption of such products makes one a member of the common setting. Consuming a particular food product for a longer duration of time causes them to form an integral part of one's lifestyle. The Asian community has been known to have the largest cuisine in the world. Many cultures have borrowed from their practices and adopting the same in preparation of the foods. Others detest certain foods consumed in the regions; for instance, Chinese food is considered to be highly delicious in the Asian countries, in Africa such foods may not be quickly welcomed as the culture does not make provisions for such menus. Given the cultural ties associated with foods, it can be easy to identify a person through what he eats.

Works Cited

Cwiertka, Katarzyna. "The Soy Sauce Industry in Korea: Scrutinizing the Legacy of Japanese Colonialism." Asian Studies Review 30.60 (2006): 389-410. Web.

Mintz, Sidney. "14 Asia’s contributions to world cuisine." From Food and Foodways in Asia 3 (2007): 1-49. Web.

Sand, Jordan. "A Short History of MSG Good Science, Bad Science, and Taste Cultures." Investigations 1st ser. 1 (n.d.): 38-49. Web.

June 26, 2023

Food Sociology


Race and Ethnicity

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