Food holds a special place in our lives. We need it to survive, and for most of human history we’ve struggled to sustain our cultures with enough sustenance. Everyone gets hungry. This is a fact of life. People get cranky and severely agitated when they’re hungry. On the flipside, someone who is well fed on a healthy diet will live a life that is much improved because of it.
Whether you believe it or not: you are what you eat. This is true in a biological sense because we can’t grow without an intake of material. Your entire body was built from food starting from when your mother ate while she was pregnant. In an even
In a more abstract sense, food can say a lot about your culture. Different cultures eat completely different foods in completely different ways. Consider that a certain culture may have unique ingredients because no one else can produce them (or cares to) in such large quantities. You can see this difference between American culture with the emphasis on the potato and the cow, versus Oriental culture that focuses on pork, chicken, and rice. The real reason behind this cultural difference was simply that rice grew better in Asia while potatoes grew better on American and European soil. Furthermore, since cows weren’t widespread in Asia, there is no great popularity of dairy products there and many citizens are lactose intolerant.
If you think it’s just the ingredients that define a food, think again. Have you considered the essential differences between the ways we eat food? Europeans and North Americans are big fans of the knife and fork (and other utensils). Meanwhile, Orientals favor the chopstick. Certain Middle East and South Asian cultures use their hands to eat more than anything else. While I am quick to note that no particular method is superior, there is certainly a telling difference between the ways people eat food. To further the point, consider that Chinese food is more communal in spirit. Many Chinese restaurants use round tables where the entire family can sit around and take portions from shared dishes. Meanwhile, in America we prefer rectangular tables and individual dishes for each person. That’s some food for thought right there!
Next, there is the way different cultures cook food. Some prefer the wok and lots of oil, others steam, others deep fried, and still others prefer the oven. There’s just so much variety in food you could spend an entire lifetime trying to sample it all.
Luckily for us, in our modern globalized culture we now have the luxury of sampling foods from many different places. Modern farming and ranching techniques have also provided us with a virtually unlimited food supply. Like I said before, you are what you eat. And likewise, you can expand your outlook on life by trying as many different international dishes as possible! Food is good. Really, really good. In our following sections we’ll discuss as much as we can cover about everyone’s favorite topic!