Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Food, Culture History, and Globalization

Foodways are a critical component of any culture. What people eat, and the ways they acquire and prepare food offer important insights on a culture in general. Likewise, as cultures change through time, foodways change as well - new foods are added (e.g. the "Colombian Exchange" and introduction of New World foods, like chiles, maize, most beans, or potatoes, to the Old and Old World foods, like pork, rice, or chickpeas, to the New); new preparations are introduced (e.g. frozen entrees); while at the same time, old foods and preparations ("gopher soup" in Pensacola - see below; grinding corn by hand in Mexico) may become rarer or fall to the wayside altogether.

This Food Time Line provides a fun and insightful window on global cultural history, including especially some of the major cultural changes and changes to food ways in the context of the globalization of the last 5 centuries.

For perspectives on how things have changed and stayed the same in our local area, check out the link to the "Pensacola Souvenir Cookbook" from 1900. I myself was intrigued by the two gopher soup recipes (where for those not familiar with, perhaps now archaic, local lingo, the gopher in question is not a mammalian gopher [those don't exist around here] but the gopher tortoise).

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