Food & Culture

Posted: December 2nd, 2013

Food & Culture




Part 1

1.         Are there activity studies this semester that could be described as carnivalesque?

Carnivalesque refers to the satirical method involving mocking or humoring traditional social hierarchy or authority. For instance, the studies regarding the rites of passage are considered carnivalesque.

2.         Why does drink fall under the category of food ways?

Drink falls under food ways because they define the cultural practices of a certain group because every cultural group is defined by what they eat.

3.         What is the difference between esoteric and exoteric?

Directly, esoteric is how we understand ourselves while exoteric refers to how we comprehend others. Reflexively, esoteric is how we understand other people’s understanding of us while exoteric refers to how others realize our understanding of them.

4.         Give an example of a food or cuisine that has made a mainstream shift from inedible to edible?

An example of a cuisine that shifted from inedible to edible is the Mexican Cuisine. At one point, it was regarded as totally inedible and unfit for consumption.

5.         What does it mean when we say we consider our bodies to be inviolate?

Considering our bodies to be inviolate means that we are undecided about the things that enter and leave our body.

6.         What does it mean to make tomatoes?

Making tomatoes refers to the process of integrating authentic ingredients into various cuisines, which are edible and palatable.

7.         How is food associated with ideas of nationalism?

8.         Food is associated with nationalism because it represents the culture of a particular group. For instance, traditional foods such as chilies and tortillas are reminiscent of the Mexican culture and hence describe the culture and its region.

9.         Can pre-packaged or manufactured foods be considered traditional? Why or why not?

Pre-packaged or manufactured foods cannot be considered traditional. This is because they are processed and thus unnatural and not part of the native population.

10.       What is the structure of a rite of passage?

A rite of passage is comprised of a tri-partite structure. The three components of the structure are separation, liminal period and reassimilation.

What is the difference between something being unpalatable and something being inedible?

Something that is unpalatable refers to something that is unpleasant in taste regarding food or drink. On the other hand, something that is inedible refers to something that is not fit for human consumption disregarding the notion of taste.

Part 2

3.         Why should we study food and culture? What does the folklorist bring to its study?

Food is a basic and necessary requirement in our society. It is necessary because it contributes to human beings’ existence. In relation to culture, food is defined by a variety of normal cultural structures. These cultural structures are what we eat, the way we eat, with whom do we eat and when we eat. Concerning culture, lack of resources such as transportation facilities limited the mobility of food in historical context hence associating food with place. Furthermore, food is associated with place depending on its availability through trade. For instance, barter trades were common in past societies and they usually involved the exchange of various goods, which mostly comprised foodstuffs. In the past, there were limited methods of storing food. Because of this, food, which is a perishable good, spoiled. Thus, food is associated with time and season. For instance, specific foods such as maize and wheat go through different times of harvests. Moreover, environmental change comprising the change in seasons influences the perishability and storage of food. Moreover, food is related to tradition because of the passing down of cooking as a skill from elders to novices. This can be identified by eating particular foods at a particular time because other related people did so. For instance, the Thanksgiving Dinner is a tradition that was passed down from the Pilgrims to the modern American society. Food is also associated with belief because the rules governing dietary are often dictated through prescriptions such as religious interdictions. Such interdictions refer to foods that are forbidden. For instance, the Islam religion forbids the consumption of pork. Moreover, belief also extends to non-religious proscriptions. This can be identified by the non-consumption of beef and beef related products by vegetarians. Food is essential to survival therefore, it is associated with corporeality. Consequently, food is associated with hospitality because it is costly. Food is also associated with nutrition because people require certain varieties of food to be healthy. For instance, balanced diets are emphasized in relation to consumption in order to encourage healthy lifestyles and restrict consumption of unnecessary or dangerous food.

The folklorist attempts to identify the artistic communication involved among individuals and groups in an informal setting. In relation to food, the folklorist tries to identify the various aesthetic components comprising food in relation to diverse groups based on the food consumed. For instance, the folklorist attempts to identify folklore in a typical sandwich. By understanding the creation and consumption of the snack, the folklorist deduces that sandwiches are personal and aesthetic expectations. Sandwiches are also perceived to be informal because the instructions for their construction are transmitted through informal channels. Snadwiches are also deemed to be democratic and appear in popular cultures. Sandwiches are also authentic despite being in a popular culture. Thus, folklorists attach anthropological and deep meaning respective of culture to various objects such as food in the society.


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