A little on Food and cultural identity

by Anna Blanch on October 17, 2009

Two things reminded me today that I am not in Texas anymore. This morning I had baked beans on toast for breakfast. Their tomatoey sweetness and texture was like an old friend – one I haven’t seen for a while. I hadn’t eaten baked beans on toast for over two years. There is no coincidence that this coincides with the length of time I lived in Texas. You just cannot buy baked beans (at least the kind I like) in Texas. (An American friend who has tried this delicacy has remarked to me in the past that I can keep them all for myself!)

Secondly, I remembered my mum asking me if i though I would be able to buy Vegemite in Scotland. Just to be sure, I brought some with me, though marmite is an acceptable substitute in a pinch.

Food is so much a part of our culture and cultural identities. Indeed, the pattern of social experience is fundamentally altered by the food and drink consumed as part of social ritual. These social rituals could be as simple as the tradition of a breakfast populated by certain foods, or a certain style of food for Christmas dinner or some similar occasion.

But how much do we think about what our food and drink consumption says about about how we approach life (and as part of that our theology)?

Are you like Oscar Wilde or Virginia Woolf? or both?

“I have but the simplest taste, I am always satisfied with the best” (Oscar Wilde).

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  (Virginia Woolf)

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