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Transmission Of The Food Culture Essay

1909 words - 8 pages

In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory called “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” in psychology field. Food, placed at the bottom level of the hierarchy, represents one of the primary human physiological needs for survival. In my point of view, food is a carrier that holds all the meanings from other levels and passes on along with the transmission of cultural. In Sheila Ferguson, Martha Stewart and Julia Child’s books, it seems that they all state the cuisine of a particular type of food as while as the enjoyment. In fact they really convey an idea that food is not just about food itself, it is about people, who sculptured a unique personality by the particular social status his/she has, and the different meaning they endow with food. Refer to Fernadez-Armesto, “… which we eat not because we need them to stay alive but because we want them to change us for the better: we want them to give us a share of their virtue.” (27)The “virtue”, I think, is indicating the meaning that people endowed previously and we want to share the ancestors’ wisdom of the significance of food. Thus cooking in a certain way represents an altitude of insists one’s own lifestyle; it will be transmitted generation by generation.
These three authors each describes a different type of food cooking, fancy art-like French cuisine, thoughtful black family soul food and dainty while hostess cooking, these distinctions are created by the different social status of the person who invented and cooked. As an old imperialist country, France, the trend of luxury embodies on the extravagant meals. Because those meals were served to hedonic lords or aristocracies, who is picky and vain, therefore French cuisine should be able to show the higher social status and the power of the lords and aristocracies, showed that they could have what they want to eat, no matter how much money and time that would cost. Refer to Julia, “A perfect navarin of lamb… and if any is eliminated of combined with another, the texture and taste of the navarin suffer.” (xxiv). It incarnates that in order to cook highly standard French cuisine; cook need to make great demands on the food ingredients and processes. In Julia’s cookbook she thoroughly explains the different cuts for steak and how to choose a good one, and even presents pictures. Also, in order to show higher social status, well-prepared food was not enough, wine, as Tom Standage said, the beverage that used to delineate social distinctions since it appeared, should also be prepared to match the meal. That is why there are wine suggestions next to each recipe. However, in Sheila’s cookbook, she tells the story of her people, blacks from South America, as slavers, who represented a different but the most bottom social status. Unlike French food’s complex culinary process and the way it spares no effort to show the power and wealth, soul food is more about using food to feed their soul and their “American dream” by thoughtful cooking. Like Sheila pointed...

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