Personal Response- What Studying Food Has Taught Me. (5/18)

This semester we have gone over countless articles and chapters about…. food. Everything about food, about how food creates cultures, about the history of food, food related traditions, and even the theory that the start of cooking food is what caused humans to evolve.

Some of the reading I liked best was the articles about the traditions of the lutefisk dinners, game suppers, threshing meal traditions, all the other weird traditions that have tragically been lost over the years. I liked reading about how something as “simple” as food could be the heart of some of the best and most memorable traditions. Reading these remind me of the traditions my family has with food. Like when we’re camping and make huge breakfasts using a half a kitchen. Or, waking up super early, to go catch the fish for breakfast, cleaning the fish and complaining about the smell.

Throughout the semester I’ve also learned about how food was the first currency. How food, and need for easily attainable food shaped our culture. According to Standage, this was true for beer, wine, coffee and tea. But we also read about how spices played a vital role in the beginning of trade, and showing status. Only the wealthy, or the royal had an assortment of spices.

Our reading about what different countries eat was also really interesting. That reading really showed how food is the culture of all these different countries and if we all ate the same food, our cultures would all be the same.

Anyway, this semester has pretty great, studying food has been quite a bit more productive then I thought it would be. It was really cool to learn about how food shaped the world we live in today, and to think that everything we are, we are because of food. And still the whole “self-creating species” thing scares me a bit, but it was good to learn about why it was food that caused us to create ourselves.

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