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The Americanization Of Food Essay

1502 words - 7 pages

Americanization of Foods:
Food is traditionally considered as a simple means of subsistence but has developed to become filled with cultural, psychological, religious, and emotional significance. Consequently, food is currently used as a means of defining shared identities and symbolizes religious and group customs. In the early 17th and 18th centuries, this mere means of subsistence was considered as a class maker but developed to become a symbol of national identity in the 19th centuries. In the United States, food has been influenced by various cultures such as Native American, Latin America, and Asian cultures. Consequently, Americans have constantly Americanized the foods of different cultures to become American foods. The process on how Americans have Americanized different cultures’ foods and reasons for the Americanization is an important topic of discussion.
Background Information:
As previously mentioned, food was traditionally considered as a mere means of subsistence, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. The early history of food involved its use to define shared identities and reflected religious and group customs. Furthermore, food was filled with psychological, cultural, religious, and emotional significance. During this period, a unique court tradition of cuisine and sophisticated table manners emerged to distinguish the social elite from the ordinary people. However, during the 19th century, the history of food slightly changed as it became a defining symbol of national identity. This period was characterized by the association of several dishes to particular countries and cultures (Mintz, par 1). For instance, American hamburger and tomato-based Italian spaghetti are cultural foods that were invented in the 19th or 20th centuries.
The history of food took a significant turning point during the European discovery of the New World. This change involved the westward movement of foods that previously unknown in Europe and Africa and unknown in Americas such as potatoes, tomatoes, cassava, beans, cattle, sheep, and pigs. Moreover, foods grown in the New World such as coffee, sugar, and chocolate became the foundation for the first real multi-national consumer-centered industries across the globe because of the movement of foods across borders.
In the United States, the history of food was a story of relatively unique regional customs that originated largely from England until the late 19th Century. Earliest migrants in America had a tendency of holding strongly to conventional food traditions. For more than two centuries, English food cultures and customs dominated American cuisine. However, experimentation and innovation was eventually encouraged with the presence of new ingredients and interactions between various ethnic groups. Since American cuisine was dominated by English food customs, there were four major food traditions in America, each with English roots before the Civil War. These four major...

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