[Sca-cooks] Food and personality

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Mar 4 07:32:39 PST 2008

On Mar 4, 2008, at 9:36 AM, Suey wrote:

> Cuisine has been and is based on scratching the earth for legumes or
> beans to begin with. How did that legume or bean affect one's
> personality and one's heritage? How did food eaten by our ancestors
> contribute to making us different, regionally, nationally and  
> universally?
> Suey

It seems pretty clear there has been, at various times, a certain  
resistance to change in the foodways of various cultures: for example,  
the Elizabethan aversion to German and Flemish beers and preference  
for ales, some aversion to foods imported from the New World (say, the  
white potato in France among the common people), some of the foods  
eaten as appropriate for a Roman patrician of an ancient gens in  
emulation of people like Cato the Elder, or even the recent avoidance  
of imported rice in Japan on an allegedly spiritual/cultural basis (my  
suggestion was that they be told that Americans hold their automobiles  
to be a part of their religious observances, and could not, in good  
conscience, buy them from Japan, which the Japanese would surely  
understand was not a matter of stifling competition).

Conversely, some cultures have, at various times, actively embraced  
the new almost immediately when it represented an obvious upgrade  
(haricot beans from the New World, for example).

I think the dynamic give-and-take relationship between culture and  
food moves in both directions: sometimes what we eat defines who we  
are, and at other times who we are defines what we eat.

This could get quite a bit longer, but this is pretty much a  
philosophy question, so I hope we all have decent beverages and comfy  
chairs before going further.


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