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Food - Research Paper Example

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Date Food Comparison Why Different Regions Have Different Foods The reason why foods are different in different regions is because food is cultural and becomes a part of a nation's identity. Food becomes a part of one’s identity, according to Alison James in her article “How British is British Food,” in the book Food, Health and Identity by Patricia Caplan…
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Download file to see previous pages This may be seen, for example, in the cultural prohibitions against eating pork in the Jewish and Muslim religions – this is an essential part of their cultural heritage, and it sets them apart and defines them as a part of their cultural group (James, 3). Food also forms memories, and these memories and associations form the basis for what is commonly termed as “comfort food.” Wansink et al., (740) state that comfort foods are foods which conjure a comfortable and pleasurable state in the person, and that childhood experienced and social-affective contexts influence these food preferences. The psychological pleasure that these foods bring is based upon the feelings of pleasure and love which are behind these foods. The researchers state that this psychological response explains why some people love liver and onions, while others find this aversive. Moreover, chocolate is often favored in part because of its association with gift-giving and rewards in childhood experiences. At the same time, certain foods may have negative connotations, and these negative connotations creates food aversions. Concurs Wood (36), food often has a certain nostalgic appeal that is based upon sentiment, and is often associated with home and contentment. Familiar foods evoke comfort and psychological benefits. Wood also found, interestingly enough, that when individuals are in the midst of great personal change, they choose familiar favorites less often (Wood, 36). Thus, as Wansink and Wood acknowledge, there is a very powerful memory component in the consumption of food. Whether one remembers mum serving Yorkshire Pudding every Sunday evening at dinner, or one remembers one’s father serving curried chicken, these will be the foods which will be psychologically comforting, because these are the foods which are steeped with memories of home, childhood and love. These will be the foods which will create the nostalgic craving, that, interestingly enough, according to Wood, are not as appealing when an individual is going through great personal change. While this paper will concentrate on three different regions of the world, and some of the trends or the staples of their diet, James (3) cautions against using stereotypes in ascertaining typical regional diets, given the diversity within cultures for what people prefer to eat. James states that people have an idea about typical diets, such as a typical Italian diet, or Greek diet, or Spanish diet, and this is what gives society at large a general idea of what to expect when visiting these countries. Furthermore, as each region of the world is influenced by the global nature of society, as well as immigrants into the country and the general fluidity of the populace with regards to travel, food, according to James, has more of a global character than a local one. She points out that olive oil has only become a staple in the Provencal region since the end of the 19th Century (James, 4). Therefore, James argues that regional cooking is influenced by globalization, and, as such, is ever evolving. Since there is such diversity in each of the areas which are explored – for instance, even in the United States of America, there are distinctive regions that serve different kinds of foods (southern food is much different than New England food, which is different from West coast food, etc) – ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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