Experience Culture Through Food

Since the beginning of time, there have been many activities that have linked groups of people together: Protection from dangerous elements, animals or events, fighting for or striving for a common cause or objective, or sharing a collective vision of a better way of life, just to name a few. However, there are few activities in human life that bond groups of people together more than the act of breaking bread with one another. Sharing a meal with those for whom we care is a central event in most of our lives. As such, we all have been raised with different expectations of family meals from what this event is to include and how it is to transpire to when and where it will happen, who will be invited, and what will be served.

Because of the central nature of food in our cultural lives, students will have the opportunity to experience the norms and morays of another culture as related to food.

 

Students are asked to think of a culture whose food they have not tried (this activity might be somewhat easier if you see what is available in your location and choose among available options). Then, each student will spend a little time researching the importance of food to that culture including the types of foods consumed, norms of dining, the role of food in family life and so on. Finally, each student is to sample as many or as few items as desired from that culture as he or she feels comfortable, but you are encouraged to try as many different types of food as you can. It is preferred that you visit a restaurant or snack stand that cooks the food rather than trying to prepare food items from this culture at home. Finally, each student will write a brief reaction paper that will include two parts: (1) A brief overview of the culinary beliefs and customs of the chosen culture; and (2) a reaction to your experiences of both learning about the culinary customs and then enjoying food from your chosen culture. Your paper should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in length (12 point font maximum), and you should devote approximately 1.5 pages to each section. Standard APA format it required.

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