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Celebrating Food Culture!

2011 October 21
by Paul Mabrey

Cross-posted from Shenandoah Valle Food Day blog

The relationship between food and culture is fascinating. Food is a necessary and important part of culture. How one produces, prepares and consumes food can often be a unifying (and dividing) cultural marker. Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss suggested that a cultural divide existed among society based on attitudes and practices toward raw or cooked food.

Whether you appreciate grits or not might place you inside or against Southern culture within the United States. Having grown-up in Kansas, I was anti-grits. After spending some time in Atlanta, GA; I understood the wonderfulness of cheese grits. Interestingly, Virginia occupies a a space in-between, both inside and outside of Southern food and cultural traditions. For example, if from the South, you might identify Harrisonburg and the Valley as part of the North and Northern food practices. Whereas if you are a New Yorker, the Valley might certainly be part of the South.

Food Day is a great opportunity to think and celebrate food culture. Take a moment to understand your food cultures or even the growing sentiment of food itself as A culture. Perhaps even more importantly, shake your own comfort zone to understand different food cultures. If you identify with Southern food cultures; try to know, understand and taste Californian food cultures. This is true whether international, vegetarian or any food culture.

Time did a provocative, startling and beautiful story about what different families eat in different parts of the world. Their pictures are a peek into what and how different people eat across the world; in terms of food culture, resources, nutrition, corporatization, diet, access and so much more.

What would your food table picture look like?

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519_1373675,00.html 

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1645016_1408103,00.html

Paul E. Mabrey III is a Lecturer of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of Debate at James Madison University.

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