Food and Culture Essays

1398 Words Apr 17th, 2015 6 Pages
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The traditional and contemporary food habits of African Americans compared with the typical American majority diet Introduction I have chosen to write on African American food habits because I believe their food tells a story of endurance and adaptability during hard times. I’ve heard the word ‘soul food’ bandied about without actually knowing what the essence of it was. I would like to see what it’s unique features are and to know more about the possible cultural, social and other factors that informed early food choices. There are 41.6 million African Americans which amounts to about 13 percent of the total population. Traditional Food Habits The basis of African American food is ‘soul food’, a term that relates to the ingredients
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The liquid from boiled greens was used as a nutritious gravy or as a drink or used as a cure for the common cold. To add taste to their vegetables when cooking, they would add salted pork, cheese, bacon, butter, sour cream, sugar, and a variety of spices and seasonings (Bovell-Benjamin et al., 2009). The added fat was said to make the vegetables taste richer. Dairy food consumption was low. There would also be onepot meals. It was an early family tradition to sit down together for meals. Eating was an intimate or spiritual affair when they gave thanks for what they had, so African Americans were selective of where they ate, what they ate and with whom. This togetherness was a way of preserving traditions and maintaining group identity (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). Adaptation of food habits in the United States African Americans have in ways adapted to standard U.S eating habits, although most of the adaptation has been towards unhealthy processed foods such as hamburgers. It’s been their culture to be adaptable. Soul food in itself represents an adaptation to the historical circumstances and environment they found themselves in such as slavery and racial and economic disadvantage afterwards (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996). They made do with what was available (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996) For healthy eating to take off, adapting to it would have to become a necessary
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