I’ve always heard the saying “you are what you eat” but never quite grasped the complexity and truthfulness of such a statement. I like to believe that I am not anything like the cow or chicken I just consumed for lunch. However, after talking about cultural and emotional connections we have to the foods we eat, the saying is starting to make a whole lot more sense.
Not only is the food that we put into our bodies obviously affecting our physical make-up, it is also part of our identity and who we are as individuals. Some of the most important events in our lives will be celebrated with friends and family, most likely amongst our favorite dishes. The menu for your wedding will be planned with precise and overwhelming detail, the foods you choose to feed your children will have just as much a social impact as a physical one, and your favorite type of food tells a lot about where you have been, where you are from, and who you are.
After watching a documentary in class about the connection between food and culture, it has become clear that the food we enjoy is another piece of the puzzle that is our identity. One family will choose rice, while the other chooses potatoes. One person will eat sushi once a week, while the other gags at the thought of it. (cough cough.) One mother will choose to feed her child white bread because buying breads with seeds in it is just “counter-culture hippies” trying to force an unwanted co-op on the community. That same “counter-culture hippie” will be mortified that a mother would feed her child “putty wonderbread”. The foods that we eat tell a story about who we are as people, a community, and a culture. What is your story?