The Cultural Importance of Food

When it comes to food, this vital facet of the existence of all organic life, including human beings, of course, there’s more to it than “meats” the eye. (Get it?) Perhaps because it is so vital, food is almost universally more than simply a means of survival. We have experimented with out food, presumably since the dawn of time, to make it taste better, invent novel dishes and combinations, etc. And, there’s a major social component at play, as well. There’s nothing that forges lasting bonds of friendship or romantic partnership quite like dressing to the nines in an outfit from New York and Company, getting together with friends and family, and have a nice meal. Even eating simply eating a fast food burger with your friends as a less intrusive than cooking way to refuel helps to reinforce these bonds. Food is so much more than the sum of its parts, and while we all do have our favorites and generally like to eat, I’m not sure we appreciate it enough. And, even when we as a culture come together to appreciate our sustenance, it’s often via the mouth piece of a a pretentious chef more interested in trends than flavors.

I’m not here to harp on your for not enjoying food the way I think you should, though. Far from it. One of the most beautiful aspects of the culinary arts is just how subjective the human palette is, for one thing, but also how varied the core tenets of a given culture’s culinary scene can be. It’s endlessly fascinating to me to see these region specific iterations on national staples, for example. If anything, I’d like to see a return to form when it comes to eating right. The prevalence of processed foods, like junk food and fast food, has created a health epidemic, and we need to solve that problem. However, this vendetta has absolutely nothing to do with these food items having inferior flavor. Far from it,. I love fast food and junk food, too, to a fault, given the unhealthiness of it all.

My point is this. I think that food deserves its place at the table (Get it?) when it comes to transcending practical purpose and become so many things greater than it’s use. For example, cooking is considered an art, and I’m inclined to agree. It is a way for communities, from a single neighborhood to the global community, to come together over a shared love of a good meal.

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