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Lecture 3

ANTH 100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Ethnocentrism, Spice Trade, Fertile Crescent

Course Code
ANTH 100
Mc Guire Erin- Lee

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Food & culture:
inextricably linked with one another
demonstrates culture variation
Who provides & prepares the food:
varies greatly around cultures
hunting (men) & gathering (women)
gathering provides the bulk of people’s diets
have much more ‘distance’ from our food nowadays
-instead of gathering, people earn money to be able to go to the store
& buy it
-had mental list of available foods
-knew their surroundings, where & when plants grew, when they
ripened, which ones where edible, what they could be used for
-spears, traps, blowguns, bow & arrows, woven baskets
-makes all of their cooking tools
-drew on knowledge verbally transmitted from generation to
generation on how to prepare food
-have shopping lists & coupons
-know the layout & categorization of the store
-can identity & use hundreds of local & international food sources
-metal shopping carts, high power riffles
-draws on experience of ancestors, relatives, friends, T.V, cookbooks &
the internet through with verbally & written info about how to
process food
-steel knifes, food processors, professional mixers, gas ovens, etc.
-use mass produced & easily accessible cooking tools
-have access to ancient & historical tools too
-avoid/shun foods that are labour-intensive
reflects gender norms & expectations
Western cultures - women traditionally cook at home & men are
professional chiefs
packaging of food products & food waste
Who we share the food with:
people from all cultures have some sort of shared meal
who you eat with reflects social connectedness
creates wider social bonds through community events (ex. block parties,
provide food for those in need
-often from a distance
differences in sharing = cultural traditions
-larger or small groups - either family or not
What we eat:
some foods are relatively constant (i.e. traditional foods)
some foods change with time/allowed only at certain times
each stage of life & transition between stages are usually associated with
specific types of food
what is considered edible or appropriate varies with cultures
-example of enculturation
-example of ethnocentrism
has an emotional impact
is directly linked with identity (i.e. family & nationality)
globalization: the movement of food throughout history (ex. spice trade)
-continued to expand due to colonization, migration & increasing
connections between different regions with ease of travel & transport
-immigrant populations bring their foods with them
-results in fusion food (ex. Thai tacos)
-example of acculturation: the process of a culture changing due to
the exposure to other cultures
obesity levels in different cultures
different diest (ex. paleo vs. vegan)
entomophagy: eating insects
-2 billion people eat bugs worldwide
-2000 different insect species are eaten around the world
-countries in the tropics what the most insects
-generally 20-60% protein, some even 80%
-generally shun by most North Americans
-~10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, along when people began
to farm, our attitude towards eating bugs changed
When we eat:
# of times a day you eat varies across cultures & situations
meal times change with the seasons
meals at different times reflect wide variations in social norms
-(ex. who you eat lunch with at school, vs. eating dinner with family)
religion & holidays (ex. holidays)
fasting or abstaining from foods
giving food gifts to the
ritual destruction of food
use of food on altars
Where we eat:
what room is appropriate to eat in
eating at home vs. in a communal space (ex. a restaurant)
changing social norms in North America
-where & when families eat
-whether families eat together
-different food types = different interactions (ex. scratch vs. frozen)
-“eating in” vs. “eating out”
loss of communal eating traditions = weakened social bonds
How we eat:
dining etiquette & table manners
what may be rude in one culture is accepted in another
Anthropology - Food & Culture
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