SOC349 – Readings – March 8 , 2013
Reading 1: Let’s Eat Chinese By: Heldke
Heldike experimented with other cultural food because perhaps in a way she was tired of “White”
American food that has no excitement and is bland.
Upon Heldike’s experimentation of new foods, it got her thinking about the cultures of the food she was
experimenting, which made her reflect on the sociological, environmental, political conditions of that
culture - which got her thinking about the food in a context she had previously idly avoided, such as
linking the sprawling of Vietnamese restaurants to the displacements of Vietnamese (during the
Vietnam war). Hence she started to connect the food of a culture in a macro scale.
If it’s exploitative of me to eat the foods of marginalized Others in casual ignorance, with no regard for
the cultural context of those foods, then what is it to refuse to eat the food of the Other.
This aspect of exploitation of the Other she coins as “Cultural Food Colonialism” where eating the food
of third-world countries made her a colonizer, which maintains the colonizer-colonized dynamic
Reading 2: Democracy Vs. Distinction By: Johnston & Baumann
They article they provide analyses how cultural consumption sustains status distinctions. Hamburgers
are being featured for the elite class – essentially high end society has been incorporating “poor food” –
American comfort food (i.e. Macaroni and Cheese, Hot Dog, Eggs, Bacon, Burgers etc.) into their high
He coins this aspect as omnivorousness, where the phenomenon (of high society accepting poor people
food) is concerned with a broadening of interests and with the bridging of some kinds of boundaries.
A foodie is, "somebody with a strong interest in learning about and eating good food who is not
employed in the food industry."(61) - foodies are on average high in economic capital and tend to
possess or acquire cultural capital. Discourse: Links concepts together in a web of relationships
Discourse Ideologies: System of related ideas that combine explanation with normative
Frames: “Draws from the supporting ideas and norms of ideologies, but are
understood as more specific cognitive structures advanced by social actors to
shape interpretation and understanding of specific issues.”
Frames Frames essentially legitimatize certain foods as high status. There are two
different fames used by omnivores.
1. Authenticity - certain qualities are framed to create the perception of
authenticity. In other words, authenticity is a social construction where
certain strategies/qualities are used in order to socially construct
- Based on simplicity, artistry, tradition and geographic specificity
- Foreign/Socially Distant & Excitingly Unusual
These are the 4 qualities of food used to frame a food or cuisine as authentic:
a. Geographic Specificity – linking foods to places (i.e. broad continental references like “South
American” flavors, broad geographic references like “Mediterranean” food, national linkages like
“French” Food and specification of regions like “Tuscan” meals were used.
b. Simplicity – Hand made (made with unschooled preparation techniques and non-industrial
harvesting), small scale (organic and family farmed – nonindustrial production) and simple life
(associated with honest people)
They mention that food is becoming more democratic where there is inclusivity (pg. 8). Since there are
First, there is the ideology of democratic inclusivity and equality, an ideology that is overtly displayed in