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Food and Culture: Interconnections Author(s): MARGARET VISSER Reviewed work(s): Source: Social Research, Vol. 66, No.

1, FOOD: NATURE and CULTURE (SPRING 1999), pp. 117130 Published by: The New School Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40971305 . Accessed: 22/01/2013 22:56
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Food and Culture: I MARGARET VISSER Interconnections/^

JLHE Spanish love naughtychildren. An advertising ploy that - since you see it so oftenon Spanish mustsell productsin Spain and elsewhere is the smalldramawherechildrentrick television theirparentsinto givingthem the objects in question. The conceitshowsadorationof theyoungof course. It also exploitsa wistfulhope forthe future: futuregenerations{my progenyat least) are smarter, and much more modern than we are. We brighter, forthem to outstrip we are delightedto watchthem do us, long so. Childrenthusbecome the point of entry a wide range of for modern products. At the moment,childrenare being targetedon Spanish television in a campaignto promoteKellogg'sCorn Flakes.The Spanish diet, however, almost never involvesdrinkingmilk straight. Corn flakeshave had a hard timebreakinginto the Spanish market, largelybecause theyare normallyeaten with milk poured over them:thisis a food inventedby a culturewhere milk-drinkcentralto the diet. But milkhas a very ing has been traditionally circumscribed niche in Spanish culture.It is not special,carefully a staple food, and neither, indeed, is butter:olive oil is the cookmedium.A staple food is, of course,fundamental the civito ing lization that cultivates and what is not eaten is as important, it froma culturalpoint of view,as what is. Lately,too, the Spanish have been bombarded I counted nine ads in the course of one lunch-timetelevisionshow by advertisements sellingJell-O. We see, overand over,an adorable, naughty littlegirlsuckingup her Jell-O directlyfrom her plate. "No fat," the voiceover
SOCIAL RESEARCH, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring1999)

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intones. "And you will be providingyour childrenwithFRESH FRUIT!" Spain is one of the world's great growersof fruit;the in of availability the real thingis an important ingredient Spain's culturalriches. Africa. Let us now move to North-West of There is an area in the farnorth-east BurkinaFaso thatis cut offfromthe restof the country sand dunes. Sometimeduring by the 1930s, a tiredbureaucrat,drawingthe border between Mali and BurkinaFaso (then Upper Volta), seems to havejogged his pencil by mistake,and left this area hemmed in between the hard to dunes and the frontier. thisdayit remainsout ofsight, To The inhabitants thisplace, Ti'n Akoff, of get to, easilyforgotten. In was are ex-slaves. 1984,slavery declared illegalin BurkinaFaso, of the and the slave-owners the Bellah tribes, Tuareg,wereforced into exile in Mali. The Bellah were leftbehind at Ti'n Akoff to left,in effect, die of starvation. Nobody "followedthrough" when this ancient and complex slave culture was destroyed. Nobody thoughtabout how the Bellah (or, indeed, the Tuareg) had wiped would live afterthe law, promulgatedfromwithout, out theirwayof life. The Touareg and their slaves, the Bellah, had been desert and farmedmillet, nomads,who livedoffthe milkof theirflocks, it and harvesting each yearafter it by the Beli riverbank planting its briefgrowingseason. When the dryweatherset in, the tribe the would move on, the mastersridingcamels,the slavesdriving to flocks, oasis afteroasis in search of waterand grass.When the As law antislavery was passed,thesepeople werealreadyin trouble. the desertadvanced across the Sahel, the oases had begun to dry their boundaries. up. Moreover,BurkinaFaso and Mali reinforced if You could not go anylongerin searchofwater, therewas a manand it. In addition,water-filled made boundarybetweenyourself oases became fewerand increaseddistancesbetweenthemmade was itdifficult reach one beforeenduranceran out. So the tribe to to forcedto settle, giveup theirnomadic lifestyle. People starved when the dryseason came. The totaldislocato death every year made the situation tion of social structures hopeless. apparently

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In 1989,Rogerand JacquelineCousin,a marriedFrenchcouple in theirfifties, wentto livewiththistribe.They taughtthe people Membersbanked anysurharvest. for a bankingsystem theirmillet stowedit away,and when the dryseason came they plus millet, The womenweregivenchargeof the theirsupply. could withdraw French couple taught them about the millet bank. Next, the as and use ofvegetables partof theirdiet.Theyintroduced growth tomatoes, carrots,spinach, and eggplants. Irrigationmethods, Arab agronelaboratedbythe remarkable accordingto the system evenwhen omistPierreRabhi,made it possibleto growvegetables therewasno rain.The Bellah had been accustomedto eatingdried baobab leavesor milkas a sauce fortheirmillet.Homegrownvegthe etables now constitute sauce, and the flockscount forless in and The Bellah now feed themselves the food system. regularly self-sufficient far as food is conas and are almost entirely well, cerned. They are considered a model of how a disastercan be of and onlyan influx turnedroundwithalmostno foreign money, the information They had settled theyneeded to help themselves. down and therefore theirdiet had to change. Conversely, eating A has made it possibleforthemto livedifferently.mini differently revolution takenplace (Cousin, 1989-1998). has agricultural is that food is closely interwovenwith culture My point and vice versa.If change the diet and you willchange the culture, or corn flakes, thenitsculturemustshift to Spain adoptsJell-O accommodate them. And at Ti'n Akoff, livinga sedentarylife and eating vegetables.A change of culture has entails farming, meanta change in diet. of Change in itself, course, is neithergood nor bad- it is simply change. But one must ask oneself:What is the directionof And change and whatis being replaced? Who standsto benefit? who loses? It is entirely possiblefora change in culture,a change of diet,to be manipulatedforthe short-term benefitof a few, and - even, in the end, of the long-term deprivationof everybody thosewho thoughtto benefitfromit. Margarinewas inventedin 1869. Its growingchallenge to the use of butterin North America and in the colonial powers of

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Western Europe accompanied massivechange in the waymarket- notjust food marketing-operated. Indeed, the adoption of ing as should be consideredone of the margarine a buttersubstitute first very stepstowardwhatis now called economic globalization. Whathappened was thatpeople in the tropics(whereoil-bearing at plantsgrow)began to produce the fatformargarine, a low,low price. These countries adapted themselvesto the growingof food- forotherpeople to eat. whereitwaseaten,wouldbe cheaperthanbutter, not Margarine, because cattle-farmers in a positionto demand more for were only theirmilk,but also because it became routineto renderseed-oils themto tastelike buttasteless chemicalmeans and thenflavor by market: oil woulddo. An oil thatcost ter. This createda buyer's any more was simply bought.Margarinecould have been made to not on traditastelikeanything earth,but it had, because of Northern to tastelikebutter. the same time, tionand cultural At preference, was It the buttersubstitute technology personified. both symbolof with ized and fueledan early version transnational marketing, all the powerin the hands of thosewiththe money. When foodways change, the culturealso changes,in waysthat In food expressesand can also help to further. the West,the onreflects preeminenceof individual the going riseof vegetarianism It and also health consciousnessin our value system. represents, - forecology, jusfor all pressesfor, kindsofmoralconcernsas well farmore economicalthanmeat protice (vegetable-growing being duction,allowingmore people to be fed with less pressureon is resources).Vegetarianism stillnonconformityalthoughmany and thatitcould soon become mainstream. studies Dieting, predict to richness fillingness a prefand from a changeoftastedownwards, chicken and fish and salads, are erence for lighter,less fatty to huge social changes. These changes derive in part responses have less timeto so the womenentering workforce, thatthey from womenthatare to prefer cook. There is also theWestern tendency honed and young, with cutting-edge, narrow,more masculine The sedentarynature of modern work, and the evershapes. in attiallottedto manual labor,result different decreasing prestige

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tudestoward food.Ours are also thetastes an agingpopulation of so manymorepeople thanformerly evenwanting ingest not to animal proteinand fatto fueland compensatephysical exercise. When people accept new foods,theydo so most readilywhen theirculturealreadyhas a place for them. For example, in Italy waitedpatiently the arrivalof a sour and copiously for spaghetti red- and enthusiastically embraced the juicy berry,preferably tomatowhen it came. Elsewherein Europe and in NorthAmermore circumspect, ica, people were generally lackingas theydid a culinary treatedthe tomatoas potentialpoison. space forit;they with the their need for spaghettisauce, proved much Italians, more spontaneousand courageous about acceptingthe terrifying new fruit. A foodstuff be seized upon because it can filla role: it may will not only bodilyappetitesand gourmetdesires,but social satisfy needs as well. The United States quite recently entered upon a love-affair the tasteof hot chili.This was,culinarilyspeaking, with a momentous change- the U.S. had alwaysbeen famous for a love of the bland. It was accused of harboringessentially infantile tastes: nothing too different, too strong.The reasons nothing were said to be owingto its democraticimpulses thatis to say, withitsgreatmixture culturesand massmarketing, wanted of you a productthateverybody could like,whereyou did not need cultural conditioningbefore the food could be considered edible. And the stress modern life,of constantchange, itwas thought, of was enough- you didn't want to be jazzed up at meals. You wantedto relax overdinner, withpredictable, easytastes.It is not fornothingthatthe Americanbreakfast was, and stillis, universally admired: the meal where nobody wants surprises,where everybodytends to regress toward childhood. But what happened? Who could ever have predicted that Americanswould suddenlybecome eatersof chili peppers? Then you realize that chili peppers provide flavor easily, And plain hot is alwaysthat always quickly,and indisputably. hot. It can get awaywithbeing alwaysthe same. I am not saying, of course, thatancient chili-basedcuisines are narrowor crude.

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They are farfromit. Fast food laced withchili is something very are different. Once the barriers lowered,once people get used to hot sauces, picante food becomes addictive. If chili is used and simply,it requires no culinaryskill. Cooks and straight, serverscan produce the flavorquickly, and without predictably, can then be remuneratedaccordingly. profoundlearning.They So chiliuse fits it is addictive, simple,obvious,cheap- different fromeverything else, but alwaysthe same. Another legendarysuccess was the adoption, by the modern the world,of chocolate. Admittedly, substancehad to be manipulated and shaped into sweetenededible bars beforeit could fitits a hot drink. Its slot. Chocolate was originally bitter, nutritious, role in thisguise has diminished,but chocolate bars and chocolates in boxes, once perfected,have become indispensableconstituents the social fabric. of Theyhave been designatedas almost affordable, expensivebut normally unerringly acceptable "treats," sweetbut naughty because available,dependablypleasing, always slimnessrule.For example,chocolate bars breakthe difficult they can be to have enabled the British continueto eat as theydo: they eaten on the run,theyfillin the gaps, theymake it possible to eat on dull food and then treatyourself, a regular basis. Boxes of chocolates are giftswith a romanticaura, since chocolates are and dark,wicked,delicious,withexciting fillings, packed in a cre- you eat them up, and the giftis ative box. And not only that gone. It doesn't hang around, creatingobligations,reminding desirable you...A box of chocolates doesn't last,whichis a highly in attribute mostromances. NorthAmericanculIf we considermodern,and postmodern, how does food symbolize expressit,help us to understand it, ture, it? Consumerismitself of course, a word thatcomes fromthe is, idea of eating. Modern economistslove the food metaphorfor You eat threetimesa day,and yourappetiterenews buyingstuff. in timeforeverymeal. The obligingunendingnessof the desire we forfood is then thoughtof as applyingto all the things buy as thoughcars,CDs, and handbags disappear down our gulletsso need more of them. thatwe perpetually

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We have selectedvariety flexibility values thatare all but and as absolute. And we find them in the wayfood is produced, transall ported, and marketed:we eat everything year round from and it is all laid out in the supermarket for us to everywhere, browsethrough. There are modes and fashionsof food,standing for and encouragingthe feelingof freedomof choice. (We are seldom made aware of the extentto which each of us does not choose: of how dependentwe are on the pre-choiceof the store's and shelf-life, and on statistical research buyers,on marketing thatshowswhatfoods mostpeople would probablybuy.) It is individualism, are told, that lies behind the drop in we a of commensality. People are said to findit irksome, curtailment theirfreedom, have to appear at some person'shouse on a certo tain date to eat withthem,and even to have to be at theirown home at a certaintime.The irksomeness of course a function is of the pressureof time.Time is the medium throughwhichwe are all controlledin thisculture,much as honor and shame govern behavior in other cultures,and once governed our own. Wheneverwe eat, or make a date to meet someone over a meal, we quite normally feel time-related because meals have pressures, - nothinghas changed here- an essentialmedium alwaysbeen for social sharingand relationship.And time in this culture is of alwaysa principle of measurementin the distribution social commitments. Then again food, like so much in modern culture,is oftena matter efficiency an expressionof technological of and know-how. People see food as fuel,to be ingestedwithdispatchso as to make time for somethingelse. Scientific and business expertisehave served the rich nations well. Food is never in shortsupplyanymore, among us. We can count on havingsomethingto eat on That problemhavingbeen solved,however, scienhand, anytime. tists turning our ownparticular are to nausea: disgust withour own exercise. fat,the resultof too much gorgingand too little physical We wantto have our cake and eat it- or,rather, itwithout eat hav- foods thatgiveus the ing to be fed byit. So we get analog foods trick pleasurablesensationsof eating,but whichthen ingeniously

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"Thisis not food!" and passingit on and our bodies into thinking, two out,unrecognized.And so we can fulfil of the culture'simpedemands: maintainboth self-indulgence rious but contradictory and health."Eat,eat, eat, but staythin,thin,thin." anotherface of recentculture(I cannot call it Postmodernism, "modern"in thiscontext),ofcourse achievesdramaticexpression desire thatis centralto postin the food we eat. The unrestricted irresistible. eat postmodWe modernismmakes food symbolism ernilywhen we insist on having whatever is not normal or ordinary; creatingnouvelle cuisine; grazingon a hundred ethnic food structures; cuisines;decoratingour plateswithvertical being withour food: eating escalopes, but of salmon and witty playful not veal; or slicingthingsthinly, coveringthemwiththinsauce, - severalexpensiveplates of thinness, may it then eatingthinness At be, to make up a meal. This is food as literature. the same time, literatureitself,including drama and the movies, increasingly describe,even discourseat lengthupon, food. Whole novels are written withfood as theirmain content,theirdriving force,their One beginsto wonderwhichcame first all thissymbolic passion. food, or the conditionof being called "postmodern"? For novelty-craving postmodernism,despite its high moral milieu. In France, thereis tone, is in facta wonderful marketing under the name "Reflets marketed a whole new range of products, de France"Reflections(a favorite postmodernword) of France. TraditionalFrench food is sold to French people with solemn fromlentilsto wine gums as though it were ardor everything You can eat Frenchfood in France as partof and strange. "other," else's a smorgasbordof cuisines. Is not the past, like everybody to a style, be chosen froma range of possibilities, cuisine,merely shelf? or a as from sortofhuge buffet a supermarket Here, in your own food is a mere fromyour own terroir, own country, your of "reflection" itself.No postmodernistcould ask for greater of a alienation,a greatersubtlety, greatercomplexity relationship - or rather, as other. self betweenselfand other huntforhealth,one thing relentless In theincreasingly you can the do is survey worldfora healthy culture,and then elect to eat

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thatculture'sfood. Of course,you are dependent upon scientists and it does ratherturn is to tellyou whosefood system healthiest, mechanisms thatcuisinewherethe marketing out to be precisely have a greatdeal to have the edge. No doubt olive oil producers just propertiesof monounsaturatedness, gain fromthe powerful was scienhad a fielddaywhen cholesterolin butter as margarine denounced. Modern North Americans have recently tifically learned to be terrified fat,anyfatat all. Olive oil maybe expenby we are told,althoughit's an oil it is one that'sgood for sive,but, us. Research showinglower heart attack levels in culturesthat drinkred wine good red wine,mind you,not the cheap stuff mustalso have been receivedwithpleasure by the wine industry. Americanstook up the MediterSome timeago well-informed virtues of extra virgin ranean Diet, replete withhealth-giving minoftenrawor nearlyrawvegetables;of fizzy olive oil; of fresh, eral water;of more fish,less meat. The famous Mediterranean deliciousas itso oftenis,is in manyimportant Diet, however, ways an American, not a Mediterranean, phenomenon. Take for it's instance those raw,or almost-raw, vegetables.Actually, been thaton home ground Italians (and NorthAmerimyexperience cans have been conditioned,in the interest again of certainfinanof to cial interests, think Italiansas the paragonsofwhatit is to be "Mediterranean")tend to cook theirvegetablesto a pulp. showshardlyany red meat being eaten: the The Diet Pyramid into another MediterraneanDiet is being sold as readilyfitting Where whichis vegetarianism. modernand northern trend, great the actual Mediterranean is concerned, however, visit any and you willdiscoverthatpeople in the largest Barcelona market Mediterraneancityare perfectly happy to consume substantial of red meat. Mediterranean people eat plentyof eggs. quantities But well-informed middle-class food people in modern northern of the consumers of the "reflection" a Mediterenvironments, ranean Diet, having turned against eggs, are made to feel that fewer mareggsare eaten byMediterranean people. The brilliantly keted Mediterranean Diet is oftenskillfully bent,in otherwords, to fitmainlyNorthAmericanand Britishneeds and fears the

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been orchestrated perceptionofthoseneeds and fearshavingfirst and enhanced byingeniousadvertising linkedto supplysystems. In optingfora MediterraneanDiet, people are oftentrying to eat the culturefromwhichthatdiet sprang.Mediterraneanpeoto ple can seem, to the wistful eyesof manynortherners, live not but happylives.And of course,because we livein the onlyhealthy modern world,where we are consumersbefore we are citizens, our longingto be like these people is immediately packaged and sold to us. The MediterraneanDiet has done a great deal to food improvethe tasteof everybody's - in the end, itmayimprove the diet in the Mediterranean itself. However, eatinganotherculture'sdiet does not giveyou the restof thatculture.You can borrowifyou like,but the consequences of the act of borrowing are yourown to deal with,ifyou can. The food eaten, then,fitsthe culture;it carriesout functions thatgo beyondthe need fornutrition. People have to be fed,but a new food mayfeed them differently, mayfeed themmore and in poorly, order to make time or space for other things things the culture,or those who have exceptionalpower,have set as the mostimportant goals. fromthe 17thto the 19th SidneyMintzhas shownus how sugar, not centuries, onlyfueled the slave trade on the productionend, but also providedcheap quick energyfor the workingclasses in industrialization underwent as Britain, thatsociety (Mintz,1985). meantthattimecould dietwas remade,which The British worker's the be reallocated, natureofworkcould change,and the meaning ofleisurethenhad to be alteredtoo. The poweroffood in culture withtime thatis,withthewaya particular movedin conjunction the structured timelivedbyeach of itsmembers. society answerto the maintenanceof was not a good nutritional Sugar as Mintzpointsout, but it made economic sensea labor force, of forthosewho stood to make the money, course. It was deemed And stillthe British efficient. to be (that sacred modern word) consume sugar by the load: in candy, chocolate bars, biscuits role to thatofsugar (cookies), and tea. Dried cod playeda similar Newfoundlandcod in the same chain of commerce.Extra-cheap

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fed the slavesthatgrewand cut the sugarthatenergizedtheworkers thatworkedthe machinesthatbought the Empire the British built. And still,like an imprintleft behind when historyhas marched on, the peoples of the Caribbean keep salt cod as part cuisine. of theirdistinctive In the cases of sugarand saltcod, and withthe passingof time, it has become possible forus to see the centralrole of these two foods in the culturesof at least four areas- Britain,NewfoundWe land, the Caribbean,and WestAfrica. could add NorthAmerica, whichconsumed not onlysome of the sugarbut also some of fromthe sugartrade.The pointis that the rumthatwas a spin-off behind this apparentlyfatal chain of commerce was conscious design. Sugar and cod and rum were manipulated,for the making of money. Enormous numbers of people were compelled along the path of change. Theywere not helped; in no sense was theirhappiness the point.They wereforced. Anthropologiststoday still prefer to studypeasant cultures. Anthropologistsare often attractivefolk, full of empathyfor their subjects; they really do tryto understand people. They even seem to love theirsubjects.Is thiswhytheyignore modern manipulation,whichso oftenplaces peasant societies in danger of dyingout? Sociologists,on the other hand, say theypreferto studyus ratherthan exotic tribes.They count us. They look at our tastes,our trendsand contexts,and attemptto account for them.But theyalso seem to averttheirgaze fromthe powerful. They don't count them. They tend not to investigatethe hows and whys of the massive manipulations that even we (the counted) know are takingplace. In French there is a word for who look only at what theyare directed,and funded, scientists the powerful,to look at. Scientistswhose research is funby are neled and fitted to eventually assistfinancialinterests called Until many more anthropologistsand socisavants "deservice". ologistsfind the courage to look impartially upward as well as and explain to us the sociology and the anthropoldownward, of ogy of people at the hubs of power,as well as the structures survival on the margins and beyond, they cannot consider

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themselvesto be more than useful scouts for the people with the bulldozers. A change in diet,then,not onlyreflects, can actuallycause but a change in culture.In Spain today, example, teenaged boys for feel theycan stop and admire babies on the street. restaurant A table maybe surroundedbyaunts,uncles, children,parents,and Old people commonlylive at home and lead full grandparents. and useful, social and respectedlives.It's the grannies, highly very often, who cook for the family.They are the people in the Barcelona food markets, watchingwithbeady eyes as the fishis weighed and expertlycut, lining up when the special melons in arrive, swappingrecipes,askinghow the mushrooms the mountainsare coming on. But in Spain fastfood and ready-prepared food stand about and impatiently, to take over.Each of these clearlyloudly waiting definedproducts, completewithpackaging,comes hallowedwith the prestigeof the modern world.The necessity accommodatof ing them is hammered into people's heads throughexpensive and constantly repeated ads on television.Granny'scooking, in other words,is made to look distinctly un-chic. It's slow food, and merelySpanish.You need the TV unwrapped,unadvertised, products,a thousand messages assure you, in order to convince thatyou are movingwiththe times, yourself just as you mustwear T-shirts withEnglish words on them (no matterwhat the words actuallysay), and a baseball cap on backwards.The result of off makes the youngmarkthemselves from modernity "wearing" means thatGrannysimplyceases to the old; "eating"modernity look wise. So far,homes for the aged are unpopular in Spanish But they'rein the pipeline all right, pausing merelyuntil society. the the hamburger, pizza, and the corn flakes(among otherfachave cleared the ground. tors) Jell-O,in Spain, stillfaces a rivalin freshfruit.Corn flakes have yet to smash the milk barrier.In other words,means and methodsof productionin Spain have yetto be conquered, either created culturalupheaval, or by a deliberately by a fundamental for instance, milk from abroad. Other necessityof importing,

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countriesin our century have seen theircultures, includingtheir food systems, crushed by wars and political changes, and sheer dire want.When order is restored, new foods can flood in, unimWe should remember that a food that played a major peded. the tragicrole in a people's history, Irishpotato,found itswayin a breach in the culturearisingfromland confiscation the by by and because ofwar.Potatoesare betterthan bread grains British, in a war.Theygrowunderground one thing, for and are less likely to be flattenedor burned by armies. They can be boiled and served at once and need no threshing, grinding,milling,and could survive couldn't they? living on kneading. Everyone potatoes.And the greatpotato faminealso ravageda population thatlivedwithout alternative food resources. Of course, the introduction into manysocietiesof foods previunknownhas, timeand again, as we have seen in the case of ously the Bellah in BurkinaFaso, offered people greaterchances ofsurvival. They have also provided enormous cultural enrichment. in the Starting the sixteenth century, new vegetablesfromAmerica changed food cultures,and withthem social arrangements, around the globe. It has become almost impossible to imagine Spain withoutred peppers, Hungary withoutpaprika, Italy or Rumania or Zambia withoutcornmeal. What is the difference and creativity when it comes to food then,between destruction It rides,very motive.It is about how foods politics? broadly, upon are introduced,and thathas everything do withwhy. to And the introduction a food can have consequences thatare verydiffiof cult to predict. A change ofdietwillchange the culture.Introducehamburgers intoChina,and youwill,among otherthings, compel the Chinese to importmeat (theywould not have enough land to raise the for huge cattleherds necessary all of them to eat ground beef), and some otherpartof theworldwillhave to giveitself to supup whatmightseem an innocentnew food choice. It's been porting done before;our century specializedin such devastating has adaptations. The Chinese willalso start alone more,and probaeating These are very crude hunchesabout whatmight blyeat lessvariety.

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happen. Much more is certain to take place, the interactions betweenfood and culturebeing such an extremely complex matter.All thatcan be said forcertainis thatChinese culturewillcerand remain tainlynot receive hamburgersinto its food system unscathed.We cannotpredicthow itwillchange. The Chinesewill not become Americans eatingtheirfood,even thougheatinga by is of hamburger foranyoneeatinga symbol the modern. Food change can be an enrichment.It can mean increased a security, pleasurable discovery, broadening of horizons. It can cultural patternswith also act as a batteringram, destroying unforeseeableconsequences. It can be a painlessbut deadlyinsertion of a knifeinto the heart of a society.Those who have the power to move food around the world have power over lifeand death. And even whatappears to be lifecan, in fact,be an insidious masquerade. Where food is concerned,we can never relax, that never let down our guard. Each of us knows instinctively wheneverwe take a bite we are also takinga risk.This natural warinessabout what we eat we must now, given the scope of about modernity's power,bringto bear upon all of our thinking how it food. We have to watchnot onlywherefood comes from, is produced and sold, what it costs in everysense, and where it it goes; we should also interrogate ceaselesslyforwhatit can tell us about ourselvesand how we behave. References are Ti'n The 1989-1998. reports from Akoff, Cousin, Reports Jacqueline, Ti'n "Solidarit Akoff," from butcopiesare available unpublished, 04180France. Villeneuve,
The and Mintz,SidneyW., Sweetness Power. PlaceofSugarin Modern History (New York:VikingPenguin, 1985).

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