Cultural Self-Awareness and Family Heritage Foodways Assignment
Foodways and Health Beliefs
It is fundamental to include all foods that originate from all corners of the world, especially that we are privileged enough to be able to cheaply in the age of globalization. Foods that are eaten daily in my apartment include free range eggs, raw milk, lentils, chickpeas, salmon, tuna steak, broccoli, kale, brazil nuts, bok choy, rice, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, dates and lychees. Foods that are necessary to make a meal are a protein such as eggs, chicken, or fish; beans or rice; and a steamed vegetable. Smoothies are prepared daily. Since moving to this county, access to cheap produce has changed my dietary lifestyle positively.
I consider produce to be high status, for reasons being that human society as we know it has been established from agriculture and the growing of food. I consider highly processed foods to be of low status, for the reason that human beings did not evolve eating highly processed food. I eat dinner with my girlfriend, whom I live with every single day. I do not avoid food for religious reasons, but I try to cut down on meat consumption for ecological reasons.
Turkey for Thanksgiving, the white bread standard. Home cooked meals 7 days a week are prepared between me and my girlfriend. We rarely go out to eat, occasionally sushi, but one cannot live frugally going out to eat consistently. As a child, depending on who I was with as my parents separated, my mom loved to go to restaurants and my dad always cooked. Ever since I have moved to a more plant based diet, I have not really gotten sick. But when I do have nasal and sinus congestion I make incredibly spicy Thai ginger soup to drain everything from my sinuses.
My favorite convenience and snack foods are bananas and nuts. I eat roughly 3 – 5 meals away from home per week, mainly if I am at work at the pharmacy. I feel as though I eat much better now than I did when I was young. I have learned a lot about nutrition from my girlfriend who has lived in Toronto for about 9 years. Toronto is culturally pluralistic, there is little racism. From there we try to add influences from India, SE Asia, the Mediterranean, and South America.
My last name, even though Italian, is dynastic and derives from the Greek which means friend of horses. I have learned nothing from ancestry.com that I didn’t know already, my great grandfather was a higher ranking lieutenant and cooked for Mussolini and his generals. I grew up on stories of how great Mussolini was, how he made Italians proud, and how poor the Italians were. Traditional Italian meals DO NOT INCLUDE tomato, as tomatoes were not in Europe until the Colombian Exchange. Italians ate alot of seafood, handmade pasta, cured ham known as prosciutto, olives, and dates. I have asked my grandparents and who emigrated from Italy, and they commented that their diet, during the Second World War, consisted of bread and poached animal.
My family regularly eats squirrels and pet bunny rabbits. My grandfather himself taught me that the white “pet” bunny rabbits are the tastiest because they do not have the gamey flavor that wild rabbits acquire. Similarly, pheasant is also considered a prize in my family, even though there were no pheasants in Italy and they are increasingly hard to find in the United States. Lastly, the family prides themselves in making their own wine, mead, and in growing their own mushrooms.
Heritage is one way I justify my diet. Not exclusive to my own heritage though, I try to eat foods that mankind has evolved eating from everywhere in our world. I love eating dates, goat cheese, and proscioutto. My favorite lunch in the world is an antipasti with olives, cheeses, and meats. My preferred ethnic food though is Indian cuisine, I love spices. Samosas are the best thing in the world and my spice cabinet is overflowing with so many incredible spices.
I pay loyalty to principles. Applying the principles of the scientific process, I have performed my first social scientific observation in a Vietnamese restaurant in my home town of
The restaurant is named *removed* , and caters to a mainly Caucasian clientele since moving out of the inner city. The food is colorful and is perceived as more dazzling compared to non-ethnic food. Visually, patrons would often show non-verbal signs of satisfaction upon the first glance at the fancifully arranged food.
The air smells of lime leaves, ginger, and lemongrass. It seems that some fruit are used as a vegetable. For example, a salad made solely from unripe papaya is delicious and a common appetizer spotted 12 times. People choose to interact with the hostess and the server but do not interact with any of the kitchen staff, similar to many restaurants. What surprised me was that patrons chose not to engage in prolonged interaction with the ethnically Vietnamese owner/manager who would regularly make rounds and ask patrons what they thought of their meal.
The majority of the clientele ate together. During the hour, 37 patrons, and 9 staff were observed. There were 6 couples and 5 groups of three of more. One thing I was interested in observing was alcohol consumption. Even though this is a small sample size, one thing that particularly surprised me is the increased incidence of wine consumption among couples compared to larger groups. In this statistic, I counted 1 table if at least one individual chose to consume an alcoholic beverage. 5 out of 6 couples chose to drink wine, while 2 of 5 groups drank alcohol. It’s impossible to place a p-value on this observational study, thank goodness it is not required.
Overall, social interactions between the “food providers” and “food recievers” was minimal.
This study has reinforced to me that I prefer food from all ethnicities. I have learned many others are willing to try, and love food from cultures other than their own. I prefer not to pay for the restaurant experience just because I cannot really afford it regularly. My biggest shock is that I realized how much I am set in my ways when it comes to food pathways. Even though geographically, many humans are physically close, but their foodways could differ. My next area of interest to incorporate into my diet would be food from the middle east.