No matter where we are from, eating is one of the most personal experiences of life. Everyone finds enjoyment and comfort in eating foods associated with their early days and heritage, but personal sensations and perceptions on eating are merely a fraction of the global picture. Learning about other cultures, their values, and what they seek will enhance relationships between individuals throughout communities and the nation. Eating habits provide a very conducive way for promoting mutual understanding between everyone.
According to dictionary.com, food is any nourishing substance ingested in the body to provide energy and sustain life and growth. “Food habits refer to the way people use food, including from how it is selected, obtained, and distributed to who prepares it, serves it, and eats it” (Kittler, 2008, p. 2). Early food habits derived strictly from what was available in the immediate environment (McWilliams, 2003, p.
5). “The country where a person is born and resides shapes the food patterns of the individual and families” (McWilliams, 2003, p. 15). Food helps to establish specific cultures, and has diverse influences on the ways of life of people around the world.
Spain, China, and the United States are three societies with vastly different backgrounds and eating customs that contribute to their unique culture and national identity. Food possesses meaning within different cultures beyond simply that of providing nutrients. People often question, why food? If food is thought about solely as the avenue of obtaining the necessary nutrients to live, people will miss the influence and pleasure food has on the rich multitude of cultural landscapes.
Food is full of meaning and has become a major form of social exchange.
Everyone has heard the acclaimed saying “you are what you eat,” and many traditional civilizations believe that what they ingest will impact their personal character. But, the saying alone does not move the social world into eating. However, corresponding with the law of Contagion, which states that “once in contact, always in contact,” when two objects touch, their properties are transferred into the touched object (Rozin, 1996, p. 83). We can view this as those who have prepared, gathered, and served food, are expected to have passed their own characteristics into that food (Rozin, 1996, p.84).
Thus, now back to “you are what you eat,” these elements have become part of the consumer. Every nibble of food involves social integration. Food is a system of communication that constitutes knowledge and information. “Substances, techniques of preparation, habits are all part of a system of differences in signification” (Counihan, 2008, p. 30). All facts pertaining to food are organized similarly to that of other modes of communication. Food symbolizes and signifies the importance of economic, social, political, religious, and ethnic values among different societies (Montanari, 2006, p.133).
Food habits convey the culture of whom it has touched. Food is the warehouse of “traditions and collective identity” (Montanari, 2006, p. 133). It allows people to partake in their national past. “Food and cultural identities are the product of history” (Montanari, 2006, p. 135). The historical background of preparation and cooking is rooted deep within traditional ritualization, and permits people to experience the memory of their ancestors in their contemporary life. Food gives people commonality, serving as a means for a way of life. Food, security, and love are our three basic needs.
They are intertwined, so we cannot think of any one without the others. These three needs compose our life, and our life can be understood through these needs. Food is a central figure throughout society. It is the “foundation of every economy” (Counihan, 1997, p. 1). Food assists in interpreting social differences, gender differences, and family and community relationships. It links everything that is significant to people and strengthens social ties. Food is something so common to all, yet it denotes incredibly different ideals from table to table.
Food habits are culturally consistent modes of behavior relating to food that have been established by individuals reared in a given cultural tradition (Counihan, 2008, p. 18). The specific behaviors towards food are interrelated with other culture-specific behaviors in the same community. “Humans do not nourish themselves from natural nutrients, nor from pure dietary principles, but from cultured food-stuffs, chosen and prepared according to laws of compatibility and rules of propriety unique to each cultural area” (Counihan, 2008, p. 76). Food is essential to ethnic, religious, and regional identity.
Before delving into the implications of food in the diverse cultural contexts of Spain, China, and the United States, it is important to first understand the background elements of food and how it serves to establish specific cultures. There are four ways to understanding and categorize the food habits and the role of food in different cultures. They include “frequency of food consumption; ways a culture traditionally prepares and seasons food; daily, weekly, and yearly use of food; and changes in food functions that emerge during structural growth in a culture” (Kittler, 2008, p. 7).
The core and complementary foods model groups food together based on their rate of consumption. According to this framework, core foods are those regularly consumed in a person’s diet, most likely on a daily basis, at the heart of food habits (Kittler, 2008, p. 7). Complementary foods are important in making the core balanced. They add the familiar flavors associated with the core foods (Kittler, 2008, p. 8). Secondary foods are widely but less frequently consumed, often eaten at least once a week or more, but not daily (Kittler, 2008, p. 7). Last, are the peripheral foods, which are consumed irregularly.
Changes in food behaviors happen most in peripheral, where individual food choices are more characteristic than cultural group habit, and least in core (Kittler, 2008, p. 8). Foods demonstrate a great deal variability according to distinctive regional locations. What defines a meal differs throughout cultures, and unique, local variations are especially prevalent among different regional identities. “The structural analysis of meal patterns and meal cycles reveals clues about complex social relations and the significance of certain events in a society” (Kittler, 2008, p.9).
Every culture establishes which foods are needed to comprise a meal, and what someone eats defines his or her identity within the certain cultural contexts. Specific foods are served for different meals depending on your particular societal customs. Other elements that can define a meal include who prepares it, the type of preparation used, who eats it, and the portion size. Beyond the meal itself is the sequence in which the individual meals take place. The meal cycle is a routine of how many meals are eaten a day and when they are eaten (Kittler, 2008, p. 10).
Meal patterns generally follow what is culturally customary and acceptable, but food selection is primarily motivated by taste. Taste is a cultural element, and differing tastes occur among different peoples and regions throughout the globe. Food preference is based on specific locations where “definitions of taste belong to the cultural heritage” (Montanari, 2006, p. 61) of that society. Local ecological circumstances also influence what a culture will eat and individual food habits. It requires a collective adaptation to their explicit environmental surroundings.
A person can only eat what is available and can be obtained, and the cultural group will determine whether certain foods are edible or inedible. Eating choices are largely impacted by the cultural values, beliefs, and practices ingrained by society. Spain is a country of much diversity. Its cuisines are historically rooted and geographically preserved. Spain is composed of distinctive territories of cultures, each with its own unique social customs and culinary traditions. Every region holds certain characteristics of Spain’s diverse terrain, and continues to have its own local variations of Spanish cuisine.
Cooking is divided by the different regional preparation methods. Stewing is common in the North, roasting is common in the Central region, and deep-fried foods are very popular in the South (Kittler, 2008, p. 164). Although each region differs in culinary traditions and origins, this paper will look beyond the strong regional ties and explore Spain’s gastronomic heritage as a whole. The Spanish passion for quality cooking is shared throughout the nation. After the oppression of the Franco regime, Spaniards hold a lot of pride in their cultural identities.
Food ranks high among their cultural values, shaping the lives of many Spaniards, who are deeply rooted in their regional heritages. Spain’s meal cycle is one way in which their food habits show cultural-specificity and vary drastically from those found in China and the United States. Their traditional meal pattern consists of four meals and some snacks spread throughout day (Kittler, 2008, p. 165). Spaniards eat a light breakfast (desayuno) at around 8:00 a. m. consisting of coffee or chocolate accompanied by bread, churros, or another pastry.
Sometimes, a midmorning breakfast of either sausage, fried squid, bread with tomato, or an omelet is eaten at 11:00 a. m. A light snack, tapas, is consumed close to 1:00 p. m. to prelude their three-course lunch starting at 2:00 p. m. (Kittler, 2008, p. 165) Keeping consistent with the rest of its European counterparts, Spain’s largest fare is lunch (almuerzo). Lunch is the main meal, and is typically eaten at home. The first course is the lighter portion, consisting of a soup or salad, while the second course is your classic fish or meat dish.
Dessert follows, and can be some simple fruit or cheese, a traditional Spanish flan, or a different sweet pastry or cake. (Spanish eating customs) Many businesses close during the hours between 2:00-5:00 p. m. in order to accommodate lunch and maybe a nap, known as siesta. After being well rested, a Spaniard can enjoy tea and pastries (merienda) eaten between 5:00 and 6:00 p. m. (Kittler, 2008, p. 165). More tapas are eaten at 8:00 or 9:00 p. m. to fill time before dinner. Dinner (cena) is finally served between 9:00 and 11:00 p. m. It includes three light courses like soup, salad, sandwiches or omelets and fruit (Kittler, 2008, p.165).
Spain has a large variety of eating customs that one would generally only find in a Spanish kitchen. The most well known eating habit is that of tapas. Tapas are small plates of food to share with a group of friends before a meal. In Spain, eating tapas is an entirely separate dining experience that does not replace an actual meal (Barrenechea, 2005, p. 53). Tapas are not to be eaten at home. Its literal meaning implies going out: “de tapeo means barhopping, or the art of eating while standing” (Barrenechea, 2005, p. 53). There are many varieties offered, and they are generally finger foods.
Another culture-specific custom is that of sobremesa. The word sobremesa translates to “over the table,” referring to the long-lasting conversations after meals. Instead of finishing the last bite and leaving, Spaniards often stay seated at the table conversing, savoring the company of friends, and sometimes even sharing another drink. (Spanish eating customs) The infamous siesta, already mentioned above, is deeply rooted in Spanish heritage, dating back to agrarian society when farmers needed to rest and digest after the large lunch. Now, it is a time for people to return to their home and families to eat.
Family nourishment is a value taken very seriously among Spanirds. Some specialty food items found in Spain include, aceite de oliva (olive oil), jamones de Espana (Spanish cured hams), Chorizo (national sausage of Spain), bacalao (salt Cod), tortilla Espanola (potato and onion omelet), croquetas, gazpacho, paella, flan, and sangria (Barrenechea, 2005, p. 39). All of the aforementioned eating traditions carry a lot of historical significance, and come to symbolize Spain’s cultural identity. The ways in which Spain treats and prepares some of its food also differs from the food habits of
China or the United States. Wine and coffee are beverages that seem to be universal to the world as they can literally be found anywhere. However, looking at the two from the cultural context of Spain, one will find that wine and coffee actually have distinct meanings based on regional variations. Whether out at a restaurant or home with family, wine is typical to drink at just about any meal in Spain (Spanish eating customs). It is so common in Spain, that it is often cheaper than water. Coffee is a Spanish phenomenon, and many Spaniards drink several cups throughout the course of one day.
Coffee also traditionally follows meals, served after the dessert (Spanish eating customs). It is customary to sit down when sipping on coffee, as to-go (para llevar) cups are very uncommon. The Spanish take pride in enjoying all kinds of food, even a simple cup of coffee. China has a strong national identity deeply rooted in its history. A civilizational standard emerged long ago, and its foods are primarily regional and ethnic, not having to do with social class. China has four distinctive styles of cooking largely influenced by geography and availability. The South is home of Cantonese food, with many elegant dishes.
The East relies heavily on seafood and paper-wrapped foods. The North is famous for Peking duck, sweet and sour sauces, wheat noodles, and Mongolian influence. The final region is the West with the Szechwan style cooking of hot spices and use of oils. China’s vast size has influenced the need for collective adaptation within the different regional environments. While these local ecological circumstances influence the certain available foods of each territory, China’s strong beliefs in their tradition and ancestors have demonstrated a large commonality among the Chinese identity.
China’s cultural heritage has largely impacted the collective expression of standardized values and food habits. As a non-western nation, China will vary dramatically from the westernized countries of Spain and the United States in its ethnic beliefs and identity. The eating habits of the Chinese play an important role in the patterns of their meals and are very culture-specific. The Chinese eat three meals a day along with additional snacks. Breakfast is typically composed of hot rice or millet porridge, and congee. Lunch is a smaller version of dinner serving soup, a rice or wheat dish, vegetables, and fish or meat.
Sliced fruit can be offered when finished eating. (Kittler, 2008, p. 327) The two most important components of a typical Chinese meal are the soup and a large fish cooked and presented whole to end the meal (McWilliams, 2003). The Chinese have two customary rules dating back to ancestral traditions that are needed for every meal. There must be a balance between yin and yang foods to ensure physical and emotional harmony and to protect the body from illness, and there also has to be proper amounts of fan and cai (Kittler, 2008, p. 327).
Fan is the foods made from grains and served in a separate bowl to each diner. Cai is the cooked meats and vegetables to add flavor that are shared from bowls in center of table. Fan is the primary item in a meal, and a meal is not complete without it; but it does not need cai. (Kittler, 2008, p. 327) The rules for consumption in China are very different from what is customary in Spain and the United States. Etiquette is a large form of group association in China. There are many specific customs to be aware of when eating a Chinese meal.
Proper behavior was determined over 4,000 years ago and many practices continue to be used today (Kittler, 2008, p. 328). The traditional eating utensils include chopsticks and a porcelain, flat-bottomed spoon for soup. Teacups and rice bowls are also made of porcelain. Very few foods are eaten with hands. All of the serving bowls are traditionally served at the same time on a lazy Susan in the center of the table. Each place setting has a bowl of rice or noodles, and each person takes some of the closest item from the communal plate, which is rotated until all items have reached all the people at the table.
All diners should take the same amount of cai. Younger diners cannot eat until the elders have begun, and it is seen as rude to reject food. Serve beverages to others before self. Both hands should be used to offer and take a cup of tea. Wine and other alcoholic drinks should not be consumed alone. It is bad manners to eat rice or noodles with the bowl on the table, so it should be raised to the mouth. It is also bad luck to lay chopsticks on the top of the rice bowl or drop them. Do not stick chopsticks straight up in the rice bowl for it symbolizes an offering to the dead.
More specific rules beyond that of proper etiquette include not making any noise while eating (except slurping soup), not grabbing food, not eating too fast, not putting food back on the communal plate after tasting it, and not picking one’s teeth. It is considered very polite to compliment the host during the meal on deliciousness of food and on their good taste and wisdom. (Kittler, 2008, p. 328) The Chinese diet is another expression of group association. What is eaten in China’s specific cultural contexts differs from foods Spaniards and Americans would find in their typical diets.
The Chinese eat a large mix of food and avoid very little. Rice is the backbone of all Chinese meals. Wheat made as wontons are also widely used. Dairy products are not found in the Chinese diet, but extensive use of soy products serves as a substitute for calcium and protein. Pork is the most common meat, but religion and cost limit how much meat is consumed. Many Chinese are actually vegetarians, making extensive use of the available vegetables. (McWilliams, 2003) Distinctively Chinese vegetables are snow peas, bamboo shoots, chrysanthemum greens, water chestnuts, bitter melon, and lotus root.
Noodles are very popular, and often take the form in soup or pan-fried and topped with vegetables. Eggs are also frequently eaten. (Kittler, 2008, p. 325) Foods that would seem unfamiliar and strange to western societies are actually ranked with high value in the Chinese culture. Foods such as snakes, frogs, turtles, sea cucumbers (sea slugs), seahorses, as well as insects like scorpions are all consumed regularly. Hot soup or tea is the beverage of choice. (Kittler, 2008, p. 325) Although environmental constraints influence the Chinese culture, the people do not let it affect their lifestyle.
They use cooking methods, such as stir-frying, steaming, deep-fat frying, simmering, and roasting, that all make best use of the limited available fuel. The Chinese also work to find fresh ingredients, which is why many markets sell live animals. (Kittler, 2008, p. 325) Despite the ecological situations, the Chinese people will not sacrifice the importance of their food habits within their cultural identity. The United States is composed of many diverse cultures, and is very unique among countries in the world. It has one of the largest immigrant populations in the world, which has widely influenced diets and available food.
Founded by immigrants, the U. S. is home to many different ethnic, religious, and regional groups, each with its own culture-specific eating behaviors. The U. S. has often been considered a “melting pot,” blending all the different ethnic, religious and regional backgrounds together. While it might be difficult to find a universal, national identity in the U. S. , the broadening of cultural awareness has led to a greater understanding of new food patterns. Changes in the choices of food and habits have occurred throughout the years.
“It is the intricate interplay between food habits of the past and the present, the old and the new, and the traditional and the innovative that is the hallmark of the American diet” (Kittler, 2008, p. 1). American cuisine is far from homogeneous. The diversity of cultures within the United States incorporates the cuisines of numerous communities throughout the world. Eating habits found in the Spanish and Chinese cultures have had some influence among the regional variations in America. Local food preferences are key to the American regional identity (Kittler, 2008, p. 473).
Regional food habits are prepared based on the territory’s available local ingredients, which depend on the agricultural environment and seasonal accessibility. The strong relations between place and food suggest the significance on the quality of local food items (Kittler, 2008, p. 474). There are three defining factors of regional fare. The first is that local foods have a strong impact on the development of a specific regional cuisine. The second aspect is ethnic and religious practices, especially when it comes to specialty foods. The third factor is local history, which is related to particular dishes (Kittler, 2008, p.474).
The variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds will only keep enriching the regional foods of America and expand our cultural awareness. Culinary trends can be observed in the four regions of the United States: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. Geography and the immediate environment, Native Americans, and immigrants have all influenced the culinary identities of each region. Within the Northeast are New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Each region shared similar Native American societies, followed by European settlements, and now more immigrants from all over world (Kittler, 2008, p. 476).
The traditional foods come from the Atlantic Ocean, the native and new produce, and the many freshwater rivers and lakes. In New England, seafood is prominent, especially cod. Indigenous game already existed and beef was brought over by early immigrants. Corn was the foundation of the diet, and beans also had high importance. Root vegetables were common, and wild berries, grapes, and plums were the common fruits, until immigrants planted apple orchards. Maple syrup was the preferred sweetener. (Kittler, 2008, p. 477) The warmer climate and fertile lands in the Mid-Atlantic made for a greater abundance of native foods.
Coastal waters provided crustaceans, while estuaries provided birds, and the freshwater had a variety of fish. New foods thrived throughout the region. (Kittler, 2008, p. 477) The Midwest marks the Great Plains region in the center of America. The regional food is typical homestead and farm food (Kittler, 2008, p. 486). The food is known as typical American cuisine. It involved simple preparation of prime meat or poultry, accompanied with vegetables, potatoes, and fresh bread. A meal consists of a filling breakfast for a good start to the day, robust soups and stews to re-energize the body, and a tasty homemade dessert at the end.
(Kittler, 2008, p. 486) Food traditions in the Midwest have been maintained from generation to generation. Southern food reflects the times of plantation farms. Corn dishes, pork, sweet potatoes, and greens were the foundation of this regional cuisine (Kittler, 2008, p. 495). The southern lifestyle created a culture of politeness and friendliness. It was also a region of many fruits, nuts, game, fish, and seafood. The South has access to the coast, the gulf, rivers, and woodlands. The people learned culinary cuisines from the Indians, the Settlers, and the African slaves.
(Kittler, 2008, p. 495) The final region of the West is the largest region in the U. S. with a large diversity of terrain from the icy tundra of Alaska to volcanic islands of Hawaii (Kittler, 2008, p. 508). The West is home to the tallest mountains, vast fertile valleys and coastal plains, a scenic desert, and a temperate rainforest. The people were able to inherit the diverse food habits from the natives on the variety of lands. Immigrants came from all directions to occupy the West. Its vast size was largely unknown so most inhabitants survived on dried meat, pork, beans, and corn.
Growth increased the available food supply, and expensive goods were offered. (Kittler, 2008, p. 509) Depending on the specific region of the West, different foods prospered. Immigrants from a plethora of countries all came to the United States and added their culture-specific complementary foods, which enhanced the existing core foods in America. Although the national identity of the United States is comprised of diverse regional identities from all around the globe, distinctive meal patterns have been established. Meals start much earlier than in Spain, and the rules are not as strict as in China.
Meals primarily consist of a large breakfast, small lunch, and large dinner, with the occasional distinctive brunch. The traditional American breakfast offers a range of foods such as pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, toast, and cereal. Lunch is served between 12:00 p. m. and 2:00 p. m. , and consists of nothing big, solely a sandwich or salad. Brunch represents a distinct American cultural eating habit. It is a combination of breakfast and lunch, mostly eaten on weekends and ranges from 11:00 a. m. to 2:30 p. m. Dinner is served between 6:00 p. m. and 8 p. m.
It typically begins with appetizers, then a larger hot meal, and finally a sweet dessert. In the U. S. , appetizers are served before the soup or salad, which is then followed by the main course, and lastly by dessert. Americans also tend to value food more for its nutritional content and health effects than for any symbolic use (Kittler, 2008, p. 7). Every different cultural group creates standards reflective of their priorities. The dining etiquette of the U. S. is highly associated with social values. Social influences have a strong impact on eating cultures.
Immediately upon sitting down at the table one should put their napkin on their lap. Another rule is the positioning of knife and fork when finished eating. Crossing the knife and fork means that you are still working on your food, but placing them parallel on plate signifies that you have finished eating. It is also acceptable to refuse specific foods or drinks without an explanation. Opposite of the traditional meals in China, in the U. S. , it is very popular to socialize in homes, backyards, restaurants, or other public places.
It is not unusual to have a backyard barbeque or picnic in the park. (USA: Language, culture, customs and etiquette). As, an individualistic nation, the sociocultural contexts that influence food intake and choice most in the United States are related more to personal factors. As the world and its food become further explored, new desires about the world of food will emerge. However, according to the development perspective of food culture, structural changes in society can lead to changes in the functions of food and its habits within that culture (Kittler, 2008, p. 7).
Is the rising trend towards consumerism and the desire to earn a lot of money ruining the traditional meanings of food? Globalization is the structural change from local and regional organizations to a universal worldwide organization. Globalization is coupled with the food culture change of consumerization, the transition of a society from indigenous producers to consumers of mass-produced foods. (Kittler, 2008, p. 11) Seasonal foods are now available any time of year and specialty products can now be bought presliced, precooked, and prepackaged for immediate consumption.
Modernization encompasses the socioeconomic shift from new technologies replacing muscle power and its parallel food change is commoditization from homemade to manufactured foods. Fresh foods are now processed and marketed commodities. (Kittler, 2008, p. 11) Urbanization from rural to urban residence leads to delocalization of producers to consumers only, where the connections between harvesting, cooking, and eating are lost for meals purchased in convenience markets or fast-food joints. (Kittler, 2008, p.11).
Lastly, migration from original home to new settings is shared by acculturation to new culture and new foods and diminishing traditional food habits (Kittler, 2008, p. 12). Further research should be conducted on the impact the changes resulting from development have on traditional food cultures and identity as well as quality of food. The Slow Food movement is one effort to reverse the structural and food culture changes (Kittler, 2008, p. 12). To take this research even further is to examine the role of advertising, which is related to globalization and the structural changes in society.
Advertising is correlated with food preference (Kittler, 2008, p. 16). Advertising unconsciously transforms our views of food into an entirely new meaning (Counihan, 2008, p. 32). Foods are no longer viewed as a product or substance, but as an experience and situation. Consumer/brand loyalty is now the emotional appeal to foods. Food is seen as entertainment, and the enjoyment of eating is through reading or seeing on TV, instead of physically tasting (Kittler, 2008, p. 16). Food is slowly but surely losing in its substance and rising in function (Counihan, 2008, p.34).
Beyond the meanings of food, the effects of eating and food choice can also be examined in relation to how the physiological characteristics of age, gender, and body image are now portrayed in different cultures. The cultural contexts of foods are transitioning along with its influences on food habits. Food establishes cultures in many different ways, and the diverse food habits can tell a lot about a specific cultural identity. There are many different ways in which sociocultural contexts influence eating and food choice.
Spain, China, and the United States are three countries each with unique culture-specific values and beliefs, and they are each drastically different from one another. Western society versus eastern society coupled with individualistic or collectivistic nations can strongly impact the eating habits of a culture. Spain is a western-collectivist nation with much technological advancement coupled with the commonality of strong national pride. Spain is deeply rooted in its traditional food habits, and geography has been a large contributor to the regional variations of Spanish cuisines.
However, the collective enjoyment of all food elements is a defining feature among Spanish culture. China is an eastern-collectivist nation, which means it is not as developed technologically, but share many commonalities that are more spiritually based within their national identity. Etiquette and diets are a major form of group association within China, and the consumption rules have been historically planted since the times of their ancestors. Eating a certain way establishes association or membership within a group.
Environmental limitations affects which foods will be available in each region, but food customs have established a standard collectivism among the Chinese people. The United States is a western-individualistic nation. The cultural identity of the United States has been founded by immigrants, and therefore contains diverse ethnical, religious, and religious beliefs. Social values have had a strong influence on American food culture based on the desire interact with the diverse population.
Social class plays an important role of what food is available in the U. S. The individualistic mindset to satisfy the individual self has established consumerism to be prevalent among the American culture. Food offers diverse perspectives about other cultures. Examining food habits is a means for understanding the varying beliefs and behaviors found in other cultures. Humans are omnivores, which provides them with the opportunity to have a choice of what they want to eat, so how they incorporate food into their lives serves high importance.
Each cultural group has a different and unique attitude towards life, built upon a universal understanding and ranking of values (Kittler, 2008, p. 37). These values form a collective standard of preferences and priorities contained by certain beliefs. Eating a particular way establishes association or membership within a group. Food habits among each cultural group are linked to their specific beliefs or ethnic behaviors. The development of food habits shows that food means more than just providing nutritional value (Kittler, 2008, p. 3).
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