Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Advertising

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/exfordy/376948846/in/photolist-ziXL3-ziY91-ziYcN-dcMDLE-dcMxEg-dcMDMU-9dQXpK-dcMAh5-dcMA61-bMDfoZ-rj7enb-dcMAL4-dcMD5Q-ziYQA-dcMDtU-dcMCo9-ziYon-ziYBs-ziXW7-oPMPD9-dcMAVT-dcMAKK-dcMA8q-dcMB5F-dcMAVZ-dtQyzG-eihqPm-dcMAvE-dcMyae-dcMyeT-dcMybV-dcMyg2-dcMy64-dtQyxu-iRh3b5-dcMxJc-dcMxSa-dcMAc9-8rpuBt-6cRtLb-nLwMb9-5g4RN9-ziXkg-fUT7nu-ziXrW-ziXvh-ziXHo-dcMA6H-qXS8Zy-dtQyFG

    Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

    Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

    Advertising

    http://www.quizz.biz/uploads/quizz/342440/3_3lo4p.jpg

      Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

      Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

      The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

      Advertising

      9627593094_585ee3ae00_k

        Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

        This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

        Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

        Advertising

        4826670465_b7e4735647_o

          Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

          Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

          So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

          https://www.flickr.com/photos/karen_roe/7710763910/in/photolist-cKnFtm-vR9Pce-77TBC2-77XwjY-764cwk-7686GL-9XZmkA-e924xM-e8nBQr-8Z6gtC-7XBVoD-72cCtE-dJZTPW-aCRFNm-aCZTHV-9s9mCQ-cZ99aC-dNMxvF-9M5B7v-aqiCnK-uCccEs-cZ8QkC-qm6A1n-3oHNny-eX6Zc4-dNM7fB-6zTD1b-fkzFMh-cxFoc7-9ojvc5-9pi9t5-7KNak1-vAF7Sy-6BATiQ-72bq9R-oGVxeF-c9uczw-8oNFf4-jyYtV-8Esx2w-aCREPo-aCZTvk-aD14di-9Q5UGu-dNTao9-7Q1Baq-dha248-t7LP4G-bKy1GM-5GRGo

            Featured photo credit: Butter Chicken/ Kelly.Garsha via flickr.com

            More by this author

            6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children 7 Tips to Manage Family When Working During the Holidays 6 Signs You’re in a Great Job Parents With Four Or More Kids Are Happier, According To Researchers Here’s Why Solo Female Travelers Are Amazing Employees

            Trending in Food and Drink

            1 10 Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Brain Power 2 25 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Energize Your Day 3 15 Healthy Recipes for Dinner (For Fast Weight Loss) 4 20 Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss 5 The Best Refreshing Morning Routine: Have a Vegan Breakfast

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on May 28, 2020

            How to Overcome Boredom

            How to Overcome Boredom

            Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

            I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

            If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

            What is Boredom?

            We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

            You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

            Advertising

            It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

            If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

            When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

            Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

            If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

            Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

            Advertising

            Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

            In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

            It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

            Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

            Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

            Advertising

            In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

            3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

            1. Get Focused

            Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

            You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

            Here are a few ideas:

            • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
            • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
            • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

            2. Kill Procrastination

            Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

            Advertising

            So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

            Here are some ideas:

            • Do some exercise.
            • Read a book.
            • Learn something new.
            • Call a friend.
            • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
            • Do a spring cleaning.
            • Wash the car.
            • Renovate the house.
            • Re-arrange the furniture.
            • Write your shopping list.
            • Water the plants.
            • Walk the dog.
            • Sort out your mail & email.
            • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

            3. Enjoy Boredom

            If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

            Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

            So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

            More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

            Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next