Date: The Role of Food in Understanding Chinese Culture(s) The significance of food in human culture understanding precisely lies in its infinite variability. If food was eaten for survival reasons, then people could be consuming the same type of food measured in carbohydrates, calories, proteins, fats and vitamins…
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Hierarchically, culture is a significant factor that divides food variability. Individuals’ with the same culture share same eating habits. As a result, they share the same food variables assemblage. Individuals belonging to distinct cultures share different food variables assemblage (Chang 1). This is a clear proof that food choices vary from culture to culture. Within similar cultures, food homogeneity is not mandatory. As a matter of fact, there exist a small range of food variable manifestations in various social situations. Individuals belonging to distinct occupations or social classes eat differently. People in mourning, on festive occasions or on routine occasions consume differently. Different eating codes are upheld by different religious sect. In various life stages, women and men eat differently. The eating differences might be as a result of taste preferences, but some are determined by an individual culture. Explaining these differences, identifying and relating them to other social life facets are of great significance. The availability of natural resources determines the food style of a culture. That is the main reason why the Chinese food is characterized by the animals and plants assemblages that have existed in their land for a long period of time. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to elucidate the role of food in understanding Chinese culture. Role of food in understanding Chinese culture Chinese cooking involves the combination of food stuffs. For example spices, meats, fruits, vegetables, legumes and starch staples. In the category of spices we have the ginger, red pepper, cinnamon and spring onion, for meats we have dog, pork, mutton, beef, chicken, goose, venison, fishes and pheasant, with fruits we have the apricot, peach, plum, apple, pear, jujube date, mountain haw, orange, litchi and longan, under vegetables we have Chinese cabbage, amaranth, malva, turnip, mushroom, radish and mustard green, legumes consists of broad bean, soybean, mung bean and peanut and lastly starch staples comprises of rice, millet, maize, wheat, sweet potato and kao-liang. Given the fact that ingredients varies from culture to culture, Chinese foods have a local attribute due to the used ingredients. It is not efficient and effective to use ingredients for purposes of characterization; however, they can be used as a good start. With regards to food, Chinese are not that nationalistic as they do not resist imports. This is evidenced by the presence of foreign foodstuffs adoption since the beginning of history. Goats, sheep and wheat were perhaps brought into China in the prehistoric time from Western Asia, whilst many vegetables and fruits came into the country from Central Asia. Furthermore, sweet potatoes and peanuts originated from the coastal traders (Jacques 135). As a result, all these ingredients became part and parcel of Chinese food. Up to date, dairy products and milk have not occupied a place that is prominent in the Chinese cuisine. In comparison to other food traditions, the Chinese culture of preparing food from ingredients that are raw to morsels that can be eaten involves the combination of interrelated and complex variables. Shopping for fresh fruits on daily basis is significant for all the cooking in China. Unlike the United States fast food society, live sea food, vegetables and seasonal fruits are often selected to ensure freshness. In that case, snappy crabs,
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