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Worldwide Locations

Food in Chinese Culture




by K.C. Chang

The importance of food in understanding human culture lies precisely in its infinite variability--variability that is not essential for species survival. For survival needs, people everywhere could eat the same food, to be measured only in calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. But people of different backgrounds eat very differently. The basic stuffs from which food is prepared; the ways in which it is preserved, cut up, cooked (if at all); the amount and variety at each meal; the tastes that are liked and disliked; the customs of serving food; the utensils; the beliefs about the food's properties--these all vary. The number of such "food variables" is great.

An anthropological approach to the study of food would be to isolate and identify the food variables, arrange these variables systematically, and explain why some of these variables go together or do not go together.

For convenience, we may use culture as a divider in relating food variables' hierarchically. I am using the word culture here in a classificatory sense implying the pattern or style of behavior of a group of people who share it. Food habits may be used as an important, or even determining, criterion in this connection. People who have the same culture share the same food habits, that is, they share the same assemblage of food variables. Peoples of different cultures share different assemblages of food variables. We might say that different cultures have different food choices. (The word choices is used here not necessarily in an active sense, granting the possibility that some choices could be imposed rather than selected.) Why these choices? What determines them? These are among the first questions in any study of food habits.

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no it doesn't.......................
i AGREE, THE DOG IS THE MOST LOYAL OF ALL ANIMALS, THEY GIVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND IS REPAID BY THE MOST HENIOUS WAY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE i AM SURE EAT SOME THINGS THAT IS REPULSIVE TO THE CHINESE AND ASIAN PEOPLE. THE BIBLE PROVIDES A GUIDE LINE FOR FOOD WE SHOULD EAT AND IT IS THERE FOR A REASON, WHO KNOWS BETTER THAN OUR CREATOR. BUT TO EAT DOG IN MY MIND IS TO CHANGE MY THINKING OF EATING CHINESE AND ASIAN FOOD.
Are you referring to the Christian bible?
first of all.. DO YOU THINK WRITING IN ALL CAPS WILL MAKE YOUR WORDS SEEM ANY MORE IMPORTANT? TRUE, THEY ARE EASIER TO READ, BUT THE TONE I IMAGINE WITH IT IS THAT OF SOMEONE TRYING TO FORCE SOMETHING INTO MY MIND... I THEREFORE SPURN THE WORDS STRAIGHT AWAY AND THEY ALL TURN TO GIBBERISH!!!! FOR EXAMPLE: YOU SHOULD LIKE TURTLES CAUSE THEY HAVE SHELLS! has less of an impact than: You should admire Turtles because they have a protective shells, and have therefore grown to be a protective creature. am I right? or AM I WRONG! i think i know that most of you didn't even READ the words in caps.* * except for "READ"
And second of all... stop changing subjects. first you talk about the bible saying what to and what not to eat. then you say what you think about it in your mind! to me that means you're either a religious nutcase with too much time, or someone trying to reinforce his own thoughts with false words from religious meanings.
Anyone desperate enough to slaughter and eat a dog...is sick in my opinion!