Saturday, January 7, 2017

Food Culture

What the hell are we eating half of the time? Is it based on a recommendation a friend made or someone a bit more credible?  Does the saying "if it looks good, eat it" describe your mantra? Are you adventurous or a simple meat and potatoes type? 

It's funny to see what certain cultures deem to be normal, everyday food and others look at it as a complete nightmare or even as a high end food only to be consumed on special occasions.  It is very common to see what was once only eaten by the poor and underprivileged to become sought after and over priced by the upper class, well to do folks in society. Pieces of meat that were "leftovers" on estates, given to the "help", have found their way to mainstream American cuisine as specials and main dishes. Sometimes we just don't know how good the food is that we have until we discard it and someone shows us what we were missing. 

Whether expensive or "left over", the food that was made was authentic.  It had meaning and purpose. It belonged to somebody and they put their whole self into making it, their culture, their family history of culinary knowledge and so on. Just the pure taste of a single bite can teach you about that person, their history and where they came from. We can see adaptations to traditional meals for individuals to make that meal their own, their family’s own. Food culture is changed and developed simply by the crossing of cultures.  The food culture of southern states in America comes mostly from the African cultures.  The slaves that were held in these states gave us such an understanding of food and how to use ingredients to the best of our abilities.  Add that to the influx of immigrants to this country many years later and we have such an amazing culinary cabinet to choose from.  

Parents teach their kids, they teach their kids and so on.  Each generation adding something new to fit what they like at the moment.  New food cultures are born, others are renewed, all the while adding substance to this great country.  No politics involved, just pure people doing what pure people do.  Food.  Wherever we are, we always try to incorporate what our parents taught us about food.  We end up bringing all the things we didn’t like as kids into the lives we live as adults for the simple fact as to not to lose our heritage.  No matter where you come from, where you are at the moment, you will always long for the things that you ate when you were a child.  Your mom or dad made things in a way that you can’t find in any restaurant.  They added that one thing you never knew about to make it theirs.  The one thing that would differ from everywhere else.  You will add yours and make that dish yours and yours alone.  Your family will long for it, and it will bring them home.  

Whatever it is, food always reminds us of family, reminds us of different times.  It shows us what others have gone through to bring it to us, what others sacrificed to allow us to share this wonderful thing called food.  Food is the highway in which we talk, share, grow, and change.  

Make every meal count.  Each one will have its own meaning and take away.  No matter who is cooking it, you will learn something.  Food is more than just a meal.  It is life.  Embrace it and move on!

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