Food and Culture
What is culture? Why does food is heavily involve with culture? For example, food makes a huge impact of every different type of culture. As readers, we all grew up with different lifestyles, some might grow up in a different culture than most others who grew up and lived in America. In the essays, “Let Them Eat Dog” by Jonathan Safran Foer and “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?” by Geeta Kothari, these two authors all did an excellent job of going into depth and exploring the connection between food and culture at the same time. These authors challenge their readers to question themselves about what they are eating, making them think harder about their eating habits, and exploring the different type of food that some culture have to offer.
In the essay “Let Them Eat Dog” by Jonathan Safran Foer, he goes into detail talking about the different meat sources that we can expand into and how we can take advantage of it for a good use. One example he brought up was how we can use dogs and make it into a local meat supply. Throughout the essay he talks about how there’s a ton of stray animals and how they’re economically a problem. To solve this problem he believes by “eating those strays, those runaways, those not-quite-cute-enough-to-take and not-quite-well-behaved-enough-to-keep dogs would be killing flock of birds with one stone and eating it, too”(Foer 604). He describes how some animals are more equal than others animals and those they are acceptable to society to be sent to a slaughterhouse to be killed and eaten. He challenges his readers by making us question ourselves if we should really expand our food choices. Another great example Foer brought was how eating dogs is taboo, how could you eat a “man best friend”. But “eating dog isn’t a taboo in many places…”(Fore 604). He proves a topic that eating dog is taboo in our society. is He kept questioning us why waste a food source when you can expand it. Most people, they find it disgusting to eat a dog, for us it seems unusual, barbaric, and repulsive. Right away we’re quick to judge. The thing that we don’t understand is that its part of some people’s culture and how around some parts of the world eating dog is a cuisine. Yes, we see a dog as a companion not a food source but for others it’s the other way around. We need to learn to not judge so quickly of other people’s culture and to be respectful.
Do I agree with Foer assertions? No I don’t agree with him with some points he made. For example, he is saying we should expand our meat supply into dogs and cats. He isn’t being serious that we should eat our companions, but to make us see that in some cultures they are eaten. It doesn’t mean that we should do it. Throughout his essay he constantly judging but he does bring out some important points about animal cruelty. For example, he stated, “There are those will defend a system that allows for occasional animal cruelty, but no one defends the cruelty, itself”(Foer 606). Sadly this is true, for us our minds are already program to think that it’s okay to kill some type of animals to fill our needs of food and how where following this system that divide our food sources. Do I agree with him using a dog as a type of food supply? Absolutely not it doesn’t seem right but in some other parts in the world it does and it seem normal. We just need to find other food sources that would work and that everyone agrees with.
In “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?” by Geeta Kothari, she talks about the different aspects she faces through her life with her culture and her relationship with food, she is an Indian growing up in New York with her family. Her parents are originally from India while she and her siblings were born and raised in America. The struggle that Kothari had to face was when she went to a school filled with American children. She said “I wanted to eat what the kids at school eat: bologna, hot dogs, salami”(Kothari 172). They always brought “American” food every single day while she brought her mother’s Indian food ever every single day to school. From that she always wonders what their food was like. She became curious because she knew her parent would never allow her to eat that kind of food at home. Throughout the essay you can see her having an identity crisis with her culture. Kothari talks about her family culture but in a negative perspective. She didn’t like being different. She pushed her parents away especially her mother. She stated, “We have expectations and my parents fail to meet them, especially my mother…” (Kothari 173). She wanted to be like the rest of the kids in her class; all she ever wanted was to fit in. Toward the end she finally see that it okay to be different from the rest. She was finally happy with her culture.
Do I agree with Kothari? Yes I do agree with her, out of these authors I felt more connected to Kothari essay I did struggle with my culture for the longest time. My parents emigrated from Mexico into the United States. I did grow up with my family culture but I didn’t like half of the food. Kothari stated “I cry over the frustration of being single out… at that moment, more than anything, I wanted to be like my cousin”(Kothari 175), no matter where I went, I felt I didn’t fit in with my family or my friend’s culture. I was tried of being alone I desperately want to be like my family members. There will be times that I would give someone else a dirty look over what they were eating and I know that is wrong, but growing up I have matured and I now have an open mind to everything. Everyone is different and every culture is different in the end we just have to embrace whom we are and our cultures from within.
In conclusion, food makes a huge impact of every different type of culture. We all grew up with different culture. These authors from “Let Them Eat Dog” by Jonathan Safran Foer, “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace, and “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?” by Geeta Kothari, challenge their readers to question ourselves about what we are eating, making us think harder, and finally exploring the different types of food that some cultures have to offer. We need to be more accepting of people cultures, we shouldn’t be closed minded or judge them so quickly because of it.?
Foer Safran Jonathan. “Let Them Eat Dog” The Writer’s Presence: A
Pool of Readings, 8th ed., edited by Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan. Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2015, pp 603-606
Wallace Foster David. “Consider the Lobster” The Writer’s Presence: A
Pool of Readings, 8th ed., edited by Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan. Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2015, pp 760-775
Kothari Geeta. “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?” The Writer’s Presence: A
Pool of Readings, 8th ed., edited by Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan. Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2015, pp 723-728
Food and Culture