Food Culture 9
THE FATE OF NATIONS DEPENDS ON WHAT THEY EAT
Overview and definition of food culture
Examples of factors influencing food culture
Importance of food in a country
Feeding the people
Invasion and the influence on food culture
Foods, fruits and vegetables that were introduced
New farming methods and techniques
Invasion by Vikings
Foods and vegetables they introduced
Invasion by the French and their influence
The climate of Britain and the favorable plants
Influence from immigrants and tourists
Role of Britons in welcoming new food cultures
Industrial and political revolution
Advances in technology
Perception of British Food
Poor perception due to competition
Tasteless food due to lack of spices
Summary of the main points
The Fate of Nations Depends on what they Eat
The cuisine of any country is extremely important since itdemonstrates various aspects that define such a country. The cultureof a country can be viewed through the lenses of the food that such acountry relies on. Notably, every country has its own special andunique cuisine. In other words, there are foods and or culinaryskills that are associated with particular groups of people orcountries. In most cases, these foods are traditional and can datemany centuries back. Te importance of food to any country cannot beunderestimated (Hartley 2014). Despite feeding the populace, foodshas been used for many other purposes. Although countries such asBritain have had a rich history and culture that determines theirunique cuisine, it is essential to note that such foods and culturechange over time due to varied reasons. Trade, globalization, climateand agriculture, invasions, TV and media, political and economicrevolutions, as well as, technology have all influenced the changesin the British food and culture. The contemporary food in Britain issignificantly different from the traditional food. The 21stgeneration in Britain considers the current foods from China, India,U.S. and Italy as the original British cuisines.
Thesis: British food culture has changed significantly over theyears to include foods from almost every part of the world due to thehistorical influences such as colonization, invasion, trade andglobalization.
Importance of food in a country.
The importance of food in a society or a country cannot be ignored.The basic role of food in Britain is to feed the populace. For acountry to have productive people who can contribute towards thegrowth of an economy there must be sufficient food to feed them.Historically, the major foods in Britain have been fish and chips,roasted beef, tea and cakes, full breakfast and bangers and mash.These were foods that were primarily meant to cater for the needs ofthe people. It is essential to note that the foods that people inBritain too k and even take today are necessary for their health.Therefore, another role of food in a country is to maintain thehealth of the people. Food has been a major element of trade inBritain. Britain has been a country that involves in trade with othermany countries across the world. Foods such as beef and fish havebeen exported to other countries from Britain for numerous years.These would be in exchange of other commodities or even other typesof foods. Food can be used a source of identity for a community oreven a country (Hartley 2014). It is common practice to hear someonesaying Chinese pizza or Italian beef. This is because such foods areassociated with a particular group of people. Therefore, there aresome foods such as fish and chips or full breakfast that aresynonymous with the British and wherever they are mentioned, theBritons are remembered.
Invasion of Britain and influence on food culture.
The invasion of Britain by the Romans had a tremendous effect on theBritish cuisine. Documented research has indicated that there werenumerous foods, herbs and vegetables that were introduced and whichhelped to improve the British diet. The Romans were also responsiblefor the introduction of some farm animals such as rabbits and chickenwhich could be slaughtered for meat. However, the rabbit, which weresourced from Spain could not survive the cold weather in Britain andtherefore died soon after (Panayi 2012). The cultivation of corn inBritain was introduced by the Romans through the new farming methodsthat they brought during the invasion. Furthermore, fruits such asgrapes, apples and cherries, which were growing in the world beforethe invasion of the Romans, were now domesticated and cultivated inthe farms. Asparagus, cabbages, leeks, shallots and onions are justbut some of vegetables that were introduced in the British diet bythe Romans (Wright 2012). In order to illustrate that these foodswere indeed absorbed into the British food culture, the leeks areused as the national emblem of Wales. Besides the vegetables andfarming techniques, the Romans also brought herbs that have been usedfor brewing and for medicinal purposes. During the Claudian invasion,bread and wine were introduced in Britain. Historians have opinedthat the high class people in Britain were identified with the Romanwine that they were taking. Notably, the peasants in Britain hardlyexperienced the diet changes from the Romans. The elites in Britainare said to have enjoyed these changes.
Vikings and French Invasion and influence on food culture.
Besides the Romans, other invaders and explorers such as the Vikingsbrought or introduced a few foods into the British Cuisine. Researchhas shown that the Viking foods were dull and tasteless. Despitethis, Britain adopted some of the foods such as porridge, bread andflour into their diet (Panayi 2012). Furthermore, the Vikings wouldteach the Britons the preservation of food using salt. Some of thefoods such as fish that the Vikings brought or were relying on werealready present in Britain. The use of honey to sweeten food wasintroduced by the Vikings. This was because sugar was yet to beinvented. Drying and smoking fish for preservation were techniquesthat were introduced in Britain by the Vikings. The Normans (French)also explored Britain and they had an effect on its cuisine. Some ofthe names such as beef and mutton were first pronounced by theNormans. Furthermore, they were responsible for the first tasting oforanges and lemons. The influence that these invaders and explorershad on the British cuisine is huge and it forever changed the diet.
Gastro-geography is another aspect that significantly affected theBritish cuisine. Notably, the country’s climate is temperate andtherefore, favorable for some types of crops, vegetables and fruits.It is clear that after the introduction on corn by the Romans, itbecame a extremely common and productive crop in the area (Hartley2014). Furthermore, the region have favorable climate for the growthof vegetables such as cabbages and fruits such as oranges. It isessential to note that some of the fruits used to grow naturally inthe forests. Therefore, the inclusion of the fruits and corn in thediet was as a result of their presence in the area. When farmyardanimals like rabbits were introduced in the region, they could nottolerate the climate and therefore, they died. This means that thediet has been affected. The presence of water bodies in the regionascertains the fact that fish is a staple food.
Immigration and Tourism and their influence on food culture.
Britain boasts of being one of the regions that has people from allover the world. These immigrants brought with them numerous types offoods that have been assimilated into the British diet. For example,Indians brought recipes containing their foods such as chicken tikkamasala. Other foods from foreign countries include Thai pork, Italiangnocchi, Japanese Sushi and Taiwanese buns (Mason 2014). Research hasindicated that the Britons are people who have always welcomedforeign foods into their country and they are interested in findingout how good such foods are. Besides immigrants, tourists have alsobrought in their cuisines from across the globe. Walking along streetof London will demonstrate that people have indeed adopted foreignfoods as there are numerous restaurants selling particular foods fromspecified countries such as Italian Pizza or Thai food. The aspect ofimmigration is closely related to tourism. Britain receives millionsof tourists annually who have a significant effect on their cuisine.Some tourists carry their ready-made foods from their countries,which they end up showing the locals.
Post WWII Industrial, political and social revolution.
The post World War II political and industrial revolution in Europeand the United States resulted in the great job opportunities forboth men and women. The immense amount of time that people had forcooking and farming reduced significantly. Therefore, the aspect ofready-made foods started to develop (Spencer 2013). Due to advancesin technology, factories were able to produce foods that would becooked quickly or foods that only needed heating in a microwave. Thiswas the beginning of fast foods. People needed to eat quickly and getback to work and this created an opportunity for entrepreneurs tomake huge profits. Packed foods started to be bought fromsupermarkets as people were heading home from work. This culture wasenhanced by the fact that communication and globalization becameapparent where people could communicate easily across the globe.Britain was in the frontline to adopt these changes in its cuisine inorder to allow its people, including women, to participate fully innation building. The media namely television, social media andnewspapers have played a huge role in the alteration of the Britishcuisine (Spencer 2013). Fast foods such as chicken tacos, pizza, icecream, hamburgers, hotdogs and French fries are all advertised in themedia and therefore, promoting their popularity. Furthermore, due tothe advancements in technology, people can simply use their computersor mobile phones to order fast foods from restaurants. The use oftechnology, advent of the fast foods and globalization has influencedthe British cuisine.
Recent Perception of British Food
In recent times, British food has been perceived as being terrible.Britain hardly used spices on its foods until the 1700. This madetheir food tasteless. While in most restaurants there are French,Indian or Italian foods, there are hardly any British foods. TheFrench seem to have overtaken the British in culinary skills. Frenchfoods such as Grilled Burgers with Mushroom and Onion Jam are commonin many restaurants across the world (Mason 2014). Furthermore,Indian delicacies such as lamb special or curies are common in manyrestaurants. Americans realized that frying makes food delicious andthis was while Britain was still using conventional methods to cookfood. While the Britons were pioneers of many of the foods, it isclear that they have failed devise creative ways of preparing thefoods.
While concluding, there is no doubt that the roles food plays in acountry are significant. A country is largely defined through itscuisine. In other words, the type of foods that people eat in acountry can show type of political, economic or social status theyare in. British cuisine has changed over the years due to influencesfrom other countries and incidents such as globalization, conflictsand technology. Explorers and immigrants, as well as invaders inBritain changed their cuisine significantly. The Romans and Vikingswere instrumental in influencing the British food culture. Due to thenumerous changes that have happened to the British cuisine over theyears, today’s generations are unaware of the original Britishfoods. While countries may find it hard to resist changes intechnology and globalization, it is essential to ensure that theirprimary cultures are not eroded.
Hartley, D., 2014. Food In England: a complete guide to thefood that makes us who we are. London: Piatkus.
Mason, L., 2014. Food culture in Great Britain. Westport:Greenwood Publishing Group.
Panayi, P., 2012. Spicing up Britain: the multiculturalhistory of British food. London: Reaktion Books.
Spencer, C., 2013. British food: an extraordinary thousandyears of history. New York: Columbia University Press.
Wright, C., 2012. A history of English food. London:Arrow.