Local Food Vs Globalization Essay

1360 words - 5 pages

Food products of giant multinational corporations such as McDonald’s have huge impacts on people’s food preference since fast food became so popular and is familiar all over the world that people’s food preference are often set by their eating experience of the fast food in their childhood. For some people, the fast-food tastes become the standards. On the other hand, more high-graded restaurants that serve local specialties with the local ingredients receive stars on the Michelin and other restaurant guides for gourmands. There seem two different standards on food formed by globalized fast food and traditional local cuisines among people. Local foods conflict with globalization and remain distinctive from other globalized and industrialized food products due to the traditional and cultural boundaries to the consumers.
People consume not only food, but also the social and cultural meanings of it at the same time. In Jonathan Safran Foer’s non-fiction book Eating Animals, Foer, who is a writer and also a vegetarian, gives an example of telling why “Eating and storytelling are inseparable” (16). He mentions that kosher was devised in order not to “subject the animals you eat to unnecessary suffering, either in their lives or in their slaughter” with “respect for the other creatures in the world and with humility” (Foer 43). Here the food has at least two aspects for a person: “individual biographies” and “social histories” (Foer 18). It can also be said about eating local foods. A person consciously or not consumes these meanings while eating. Family, local community, and culture have played an important role in sharing and passing down these food stories to the next generation. Even if one cannot feel any direct human touch with the food and does not know how it is made, one can still trust and eat it without any concerns because there are strong cultural boundaries between the consumers and the food as a part of food culture. They guarantee that the food is safe to eat. Culture including recipes, manners, rules, habits, rituals, and taboos has developed general consensus on food based on its principles and customs. In other words, what one eats every day is determined by the culture that has accumulated food experience and knowledge over generations.
On the other hand, as cultural power that connects people and food becomes weaker due to modernization, individualization, and the mass production of food, eating habits that had been cultivated within the local community and family diminish and people become uneasy about which food to eat. Instead of relying on the wisdom of culture, some people are more likely to depend on food experts, advertising, or diet books. Others who do not care so much about what they eat tend to have more industrialized food products such as fast food. Moreover, people do not have enough opportunities to learn the origins of the food and its culture and history. For example, people have much fewer opportunities to...

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