The Culture of Food

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Have you ever heard of someone going on a vacation and losing weight? Yea me neither. That is because vacation is a time to sit back, relax, and eat enough food to make us question our morals. Food, good or bad, is a huge part of traveling because it is often the easiest and most convenient way to ‘experience’ an area. Some people will even plan entire trips around certain cities or countries solely because of the renowned cuisine in that area. Why is that?

As humans, we need a few basic commodities to survive; food being one of them. When visiting somewhere new, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to eat at some point in your trip. If you are staying somewhere without a kitchen then the only option is to go out to eat. Cities and tourist heavy areas realized this and made it a point to create restaurant environments that mirror the culture and feel of their geographical location. The United States is a great place to witness this; from Boston clam ‘chowda’ to Texas BBQ, each major location of the country has established a foodie culture that defines the area. Fast-forward 10 or 50 years and it’s easy to see how the regional specific food industry became so large.

chicken heart
Chicken heats are a common treat in Brazil

Personally, I believe food is an important part of traveling no matter where you go. Many countries, such as Japan, were shaped by the food that was readily available for them to eat. In Japan’s case, the fishing industry became one
of the foundations for the culture that we experience if we were to travel there today. While traveling in Italy, I found that a few of our meals took hours to finish. This was because in the Italian culture, eating is a time for family interaction and communication. Cultural experiences like this can only be shared through the power of food.

Experiencing new food while traveling also opens our minds and taste buds to exciting new flavors that we might not have tried otherwise. I sometimes find myself going out of my way to find these new flavors in restaurants and grocery stores in my hometown. Adding other cultures foods to our diet can help stir creativity while cooking and keep us somewhat in touch with another culture.

Have any great experiences with food in another culture? Have a favorite type of cultural dish? Comment below or send me a tweet!

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