Cultural Identity And The Language Of Food

4270 words - 17 pages

Cultural Identity and the Language of Food

Food is integral to cultural identity and is as much a part of culture as religion and language. Indeed, some cultures elevate food to a level nearing, if not exceeding, the status of their religion. Because I love to cook, to combine flavors in a way that results in something unexpected and wonderful, this paper will discuss various words related to food. Not actual food words, but words surrounding food. Interesting words like “gastronomy” and “feast.” Often there is much symbolism related to these words; from the fundamental idea that to eat is to live to the possibility that there are religious connotations to the etymology of some of these words.

Given their reputation for affairs of the heart, as well as being the purveyors of cuisine, it is not surprising that many of our food words come from the French -- such as gastronomy, saute, banquet and garnish. “Gastronomy,” refers to the art or science of good eating. It comes from Greek French gastronomie, from Greek gastronomi, gastro-, + -nomi, -nomy. Its Indo-European root word, gras, (Shipley, 133) simply means to devour.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary (AHD), the word banquet has been fluctuating for a long time. The Old French word banquet, the likely source of our word, is derived from Old French banc, “bench,” ultimately of Germanic origin and originally from the Indo-European *bheg (Shipley, 31). The sense development in Old French goes from “little bench” to “meal taken on the family workbench” to “feast.” The AHD cites the English word banquet as first recorded in a work possibly composed before 1475 with reference to a feast held by the god Apollo, and it appears to have been used from the 15th to the 18th century to refer to the feasts of the powerful and the wealthy. Perhaps this association led a 19th-century newspaper editor to label the word “grandiloquent” because it was being appropriated by those lower down on the social scale. To garnish food at the banquet, one would decorate it with small colorful or savory items such as “garnished the fish with lemon.”

The lemon tree probably came from the north of India and reached the Mediterranean area towards the end of the 1st century C.E. The Oxford Companion to Food (OCF) tells us there was no Latin word for lemon and that the fruit was treated as a curiosity. The Arabs were responsible for cultivating the fruit and by the 4th century C.E., lemon orchards were in production in southern Europe. Arab traders introduced them to China where the name was li mung, clearly derived from the European term. During the Middle Ages, lemons were rare and expensive in Northern Europe but became plentiful enough in Italian kitchens by the late 16th century that they were commonly used as a garnish for fish. Lemons reached the New World, where there were no native citrus species, in 1493 and became established there within 20 years. It is ironic that the crews of the ships...

Find Another Essay On Cultural Identity and the Language of Food

Discussion of the Importance of the Social and Cultural Context Where Child Language Acquisition is Concerned

3568 words - 14 pages Discussion of the Importance of the Social and Cultural Context Where Child Language Acquisition is Concerned Beginning with Elene Lieven’s review of the importance of the environment for language learning, discuss the importance of the social and cultural context where child language acquisition is concerned. Environment According to Elena Lieven, the roles played by brothers and sisters, and other children and

Cultural Identity Interview and Analysis

1035 words - 4 pages Analysis 1Culture AnalysisAXIA / WIUIntroduction to World CulturesAnd Social Environments INS 301Analysis 2IntroductionCultural Identity Interview and AnalysisCultural identity is the identity of a group relating to a particular culture or civilization, or of how a person is subjective by her/his belonging to a group or culture. This report will describe my interviewee's firsthand experiences, as they relate to intercultural communication and

Maintaining the Amish Cultural Identity

1334 words - 5 pages over three hundred years. Their belief in the bible is the bases for their structured lives, specifically Romans 12 of the Old Testament, “Do not be conformed to this world”.*** Trying to maintain their cultural identity will prove to be a challenging task. For the last two hundred years the American culture and the Amish culture have ran side by side in their ablility to survive and succeed as a society. It has only been in the last

Book Review of Jack Goody's "Food and Love: A Cultural History of East and West"

1311 words - 5 pages romantic love, the evolution of national and regional cuisine's, the globalization of Chinese food, and the histories of various taboos on certain types of food and drink, at all times effortlessly ranging from Europe to Asia and to Africa.In a final bracing section challenging dominant relativist conceptions, Goody considers the difficulties and complexities of cross-cultural and comparative analysis, and he picks apart the doubts involved in

Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation – A Summary

716 words - 3 pages Jane, an manager of an American company in Japan this year, she wanted to get well along with these Japanese colleges and know them more formally. So she invited them to her house for party. The colleges all arrived at 8 o'clock pm as she had told them and they seemed to enjoy the party, they danced, sang, and ate most of the food.But at about 10 o'clock pm, one of the colleges said to her, "I think it's time for me to leave. Thank you very much

Cultural identity of blacks from 1865-1940

1767 words - 7 pages Cultural Identity from 1865-1940The cultural identity of blacks in the United States from 1865 through 1940 progressed from a racism based on inferiority due to bloodlines and biology to a racism centered on socio-economic policies and beliefs. Blacks that were middle-class in the 1900's were still considered "niggers," and not fully human (Lorini, 39). Racism was prominent during the world's fair era, with the imperialist dogmatic belief that

The Cultural Identity Within Asian Writing Systems

3052 words - 12 pages approximately 2,000 Chinese characters? The answer is a cultural one. Chinese characters are strictly a Chinese creation. There is no evidence that the Chinese had borrowed their writing system from anywhere else. For the Chinese, the written language is an item of cultural identity. When one sees a Chinese character anywhere, it is immediately associated with the Chinese culture and not with the Japanese or Korean cultures. By changing the writing

The Sociology Analysis of Food and Food Ways

1816 words - 7 pages Sociology is the study of society and people. Food and food ways are often elements associated with particular societies and therefore, studying such a topic can offer valuable insight into the ways of that society and the people who live in it. Although eating is a vital part of survival, with whom, how and where we eat are not. Studying such ways can illustrate and represent the identity of a person or group. The nature of people and their

Discuss how the six macro-environments (demographic, economic, natural, technological, political, and social/cultural) forces may affect the marketing of a drink or food company.

1409 words - 6 pages Discuss how the six macro-environments (demographic, economic, natural, technological, political, and social/cultural) forces may affect the marketing of a drink or food company.Companies and their suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customers, competitors, and publics all operate in a macro-environment of forces and trends that shape opportunities and pose threats. Within the rapidly changing global picture, the firm must monitor six major

After the Ball, by Leo Tolstoy: The Impact of Cultural Objects on Individual Social Identity

1612 words - 6 pages experience at the ball, as well as in life, can have multiple meanings, and how those values affect an individual’s stature in class structure. Assigning cultural value to objects is done in both positive and negative manners, and the value of things can change based on its actual use, how a box can be used to store things as well as what you leave your office with when you get fired, for example. However in that instance, value is assigned by how

The Cultural and Sub Cultural Influence of Narcotics Anonymous

886 words - 4 pages The Cultural And Sub Cultural Influence of Narcotics Anonymous. The Subculture of N.A is a life outside of any expectations formed by the main Cultural Influence. It is a very private organization that I belong to which became a way of life for me. It has values, traditions, beliefs, sanctions and roles. This is the only outside influence in my life that made me develop meaning to my life again. I was a complete and total crack addict who

Similar Essays

Fluent In The Language Of Food

1755 words - 8 pages torture ritual.” Nonetheless, the only time the family talks about their feelings is when they are in the kitchen or at the table. Food provides this unifying force that brings a community and a family together to give them an opportunity to communicate. Food unites people to allow for verbal communication, but food can also provide a way to communicate without spoken language. In the beginning of Babette’s Feast, the food is dull and void of

The Relation Between Identity And Language

1834 words - 7 pages Language is directly influenced by the same factors that make up one’s identity. According to John Joseph, author of Language and Identity, “there are two aspects to a person’s identity; their name and the “intangible something that constitutes who one really is…” (Joseph, 2004, p. 2). That “intangible something” refers to age, gender, race, geography, one’s social class in society, and religious beliefs. These factors intertwine to shape the

Race And The Census: Effect On The Social Context Of Cultural And Social Identity

2049 words - 8 pages The focus of this research study is to explore the construct of race in the census survey and the effect that it has on the social context of both cultural and social identity. These changes are based on the evolving landscape of the population as it pertains to the characteristics of its people. The Census was first administered in the 1790 and would take place every ten years . Its main purpose was to better respond to the needs of its

Cultural Aspects Of Language Essay

3449 words - 14 pages lack of cultural understanding. Therefore this paper aims to illustrate the cultural aspect of language with special emphasis on the comprehension of jokes. In this context the close affiliation between language and culture should be shown and proved that the comprehension of jokes depends also on the listeners' cultural background knowledge. First of all, the term culture will be defined and a connection between culture and language will be