Essay: Food Is an Expression

Pages: 3 (940 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Agriculture  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Clearly, the experience of Besito represents a fusion of American and Mexican cultural cues.

In Tibetan Kitchen, the same classmate enjoyed a meal of momos, thukpa, and other Tibetan delights. Encounters with the Tibetan culture through the food revealed the lifestyle of the people on the Tibetan plateau and nearby regions of the Himalayas. Although unavailable at the Tibetan Kitchen restaurant, yak butter tea is a staple of the Tibetan diet. Such cultural symbols are communicated in the act of sharing foods between individuals from different backgrounds. As the classmate points out, the owners of the restaurant were Tibetan but from India. The food they cooked represented a modern "fusion" interpretation of traditional Tibetan offerings. The history and plight of the Tibetan people can therefore be communicated via the food: as the food reflects the migration of the people from Tibet to India due to the Chinese incursion onto the Tibetan plateau.

A different classmate visited Obao, a Thai restaurant, and Panna II, an Indian restaurant. The cultural experiences at each restaurant were remarkably different, as were the different foods. At the Indian restaurant, the servers were "obnoxious" and "pushy" about ordering certain items. The aggressiveness of the servers might be a cultural expression; the ways Indians communicate might indeed be more assertive than North Americans are used to -- or Thai people, for that matter. Because of intercultural communication differences, enthusiasm for the food might be interpreted as "obnoxiousness." Alternatively, the "pushy" servers might be individual differences, rather than reflective of the culture as a whole. One must be very careful not to make generalizations about a culture, its communication style, or any other element for risk of stereotyping.

As the Food and Culture Resources (2012) website indicates, the types of food eaten in specific cultures reflects what is available geographically. "Sheep's brain and eyeballs, frog's legs, hot tea with fermented yak butter, or animal blood are not considered to be universal foods - nor are insects, but they are relished by some people," (Food and Culture Resources, 2012). Partaking of the foods from different regions allows for exposure to the ways of life in other regions of the globe, thereby revealing our own prejudices about what is normative to eat. Similarly, eating habits and customs reflect different cultural norms. In an Indian and Ethiopian restaurant, for example, it would be acceptable to eat with one's hands. In a Chinese or a French restaurant, eating with the hands would not be acceptable. Eating and food offer some of the richest, most interesting methods of experiencing intercultural communication.

References

Food and Culture Resources (2012). Welcome to food, culture, and tradition. Retrieved online: http://www.food-links.com/

O'Neil, D. (2006). What is culture? Retrieved online: http://anthro.palomar.edu/culture/culture_1.htm [END OF PREVIEW]

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Food Is an Expression.  (2012, June 10).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/food-expression/6424106

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/food-expression/6424106.