Ethnography of a Meal-- Food, Identity and Time

3516 WordsJun 2, 201215 Pages
Anthropology Ethnography of a Meal-- Food, Identity and Time Is there a correlation between food categories and social categories? This essay seeks to critically evaluate Delaney's (2010: 259) assertion that "food categories also correlate with social categories." In order to evaluate this claim, it is therefore necessary to explain what it means. In addition, the evaluation of this claim, in an anthropological context, needs be conducted through the research method of an ethnography of a meal. My argument will use the ethnographic experience of a Shabbat meal with David Horowitz's family to assess this assertion and whether it could be applied and verified through the interactions which occurred around food at this meal.…show more content…
In light of the above interactions, by incorporating specific gender roles into this family's Shabbat meal; food, its preparation and the rituals and behaviours initiated by this meal deepened the intricacies and levels of this family's identity-- in other words, the notion of food and its link to the social category of a religious and familial identity was emphasized through the gender roles each family member was required to play, as per the religious tradition surrounding the meal and the food being eaten. 18 minutes before sunset, which is the start of the Sabbath, the Horowitz women lit eight cream-white candles. The significance of eight candles, Dave explained, is that they represent each family member at the meal. The women also said a blessing over the candles to mark the start of the Sabbath-- this is a point which I will explore later in terms of how food, religion and a familial identity relate closely to concepts of time. However, let us return to the atmosphere created once the candles were lit: they gave a serene yellow atmosphere to the dining room which we would later eat in. And, during the meal, the candle flames flickered from the breath of each family member as they sang in Hebrew to Helen, thanking her for preparing the meal. At this time, I noticed the detailed yarmulkes worn by the men at the table. I suddenly realised that this was much more than any Friday night meal that I was used to-- To illustrate Delaney's (2010:

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