Food and Multiculturalism
I find it interesting how some people who are truly concerned with multicultural education and overall human acceptance of the fellow human sometimes aiming to make a point of broadening the perspective dismiss as superficial the food of a people.
Although we cannot fully understand the complexities of a culture by simply preparing and eating its staples, they are a great source of information if we are willing to explore. The reasons behind each item, the influence the weather has on what is produced or not in a determined region, what is considered sacred, what is considered profane, what is eaten every day and what is reserved for special occasions, how things turned out to be prepared the way they are and what they are called, all these aspects of what we eat in each nook of the world may not determine the people’s character, but are very likely determined by the same factors. Dry weather, dry food, dry people. Hot weather, hot food, hot people. Not always straight forward like that, but connections can often be made. Isn’t it interesting that most middle eastern cultures use bulghur wheat, lamb, mint, yoghurt…? The list could go on. In South America, for some reason, beans are favored, along with beef and vegetables. Different seasonings mark the variations in countries or regions, but we can almost certainly count on beans.
I see an undeniable connection between food, geography, and culture, and I firmly believe it is perfectly plausible to begin diving deep into the most intricate aspects of diversity beginning with the eating habits and traditions – as long as we keep in mind that these are the path to understanding, not all of the culture in itself.