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Cuisine Essay

1620 words - 6 pages

A cuisine cannot simply be defined as a particular group of food associated with a geographic location. To understand a cuisine equal understanding of the culture to which it belongs must exist. A culture, such as the population of Italy, manipulates the presentation and substances of a cuisine to something representative of that culture. This makes a cuisine much more than food on a plate; a cuisine includes history, both of those making the dish and the ingredients and cooking styles that form the final product. A cuisine includes pride of nationality and personality. Similarly culture is more than a geographic location; it is a way of living and a respect for a group of beliefs and traditions. To understand this relationship between culture and cuisine certain information must be addressed; information such as the demographic figures surrounding a culture, the specific effect Italian culture has on Italian food, as well as the ingredients and cooking skills applied in the Italian cuisine. Consequences of the Italian cuisine will also be identified, both nutritional value and health detriments and how these effects may continue into the future.
Cuisine can be split into two stages: pre-swallow and post-swallow (Crotty 1995). Pre-swallow is based around social aspects of cuisine (Gallegos 2011) such as who does the cooking and why people eat the food that they eat. Post-swallow is concerned with the effects food has once eaten; post-swallow also deals with the nutritional and health impacts that food has on consumers.
When deconstructing a cuisine it becomes clear that demographic information plays an important role in the pre-swallow stage. Gender, age, location, religion and government influence all have a contribution to structuring cuisine (Civitello 2008). In Italian cuisine the mother was typically responsible for all housework including cooking (Ruggerio 2003) while the father would work. Changes toward gender equality means Italian women are looking to join the work force and share the task of housework with the father. Obtaining and holding work in Italy is difficult though, meaning women will often choose between a steady occupation and having children. This has led to a negative birth rate with more people dying than being born each year (Zenit 2010) and consequently average age of the current living population is higher than normal at 43.5 years old (Central Intelligence Agency 2001). Religious tradition influences aspects of Italian cuisine, such as Christianity splitting the Italian diet in two, creating penitential and feast days, lean and fat days respectively. On lean days using lard was prohibited consequently olive oil became popular and spread throughout Italy (Harper & Faccioli 2009).
Sustainability is a key topic in world food security (Aiking & de Boer 2004) and the Italian government is taking the topic seriously. Executing improvements in agricultural methods and introducing awareness campaigns such as ‘adopt a...

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