Rachel A. Ankeny
Traditional stories about food consumption would indicate that over the course of history, choosing what to eat and drink has been a relative simple endeavor for most people, who often did not give much thought to their choices or the values underlying them. Today, our choices about what foodstuffs to consume are more than just a simple attempt to fill an empty stomach. This article examines contemporary food ethics, ethical food consumerism, and "ethical food consumption." It argues that contemporary and historic discussions of food ethics differ in terms of connection between identity and ethical food choices, which in turn has reshaped what we know about ethical food choices. The article first discusses vegetarianism and veganism before turning to animal welfare, local consumption, organic foods, food products that are free of genetically modified organisms, food miles and sustainable/green products, boycotts and cause-related marketing, fair trade, and overconsumption and freeganism.
Corrie E. Norman
Whether it is Brahman cooking the world into existence or Adam and Eve being driven away from paradise because of an apple, food has allowed religious peoples to relate to their gods, each other, and the world. Through food, meaning can be made while making dinner, attending rituals such as Christian Communion and Hindu deity feedings, or eating everyday according to the kashrut or halal codes of Judaism and Islam. Today, food remains an important fixture in religious discourse. Mary Douglas's theories on the relationships of food and purity and particularly the social meanings encoded in Hebrew dietary laws have come to shape the study of food. They have even influenced the study of religion. One document of interest is the Encyclopedia of Religion. This chapter examines the relationship between food and religion, focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Social movements exist in three time zones—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is no surprising then that most people prefer to focus on matters of moment, especially when it comes to the food they eat, whose origins and consequences are far less immediate than the pleasures of the here-and-now. In this regard, food reformers are trying to complicate what is already a multifaceted process by which people choose what to eat. Daily food choices are determined in large part by an intricate consideration of taste versus convenience. Activists seek to impose a third, highly moralized and politicized factor to this interaction between taste and convenience: a sense of responsibility. When people experience bouts of intensified worrying, the archetypal stories about how they keep a plate clean are typically dusted off, only to be reissued later on. Eight of these storylines relate to the boycotter, the accountant or frugal parent, the survivalist, the yeoman farmer, the utopian communist, the pleasure artist, and the patriot.
Food is the most basic need of man. What we eat and how we eat is a reflection of our relationship with the natural environment. However, food is important not only as a physical necessity; it is also an indication of the multitude of relationships that we form with others as individuals, communities, and nations. Indeed, food has embedded political, socioeconomic, and cultural meaning. Modern racialization has been linked to connections between food, identity, and power. Mary Douglas has noted a distinction between "pure" and "polluted," one that establishes both the significance and the socially constructed nature of our ideas about the edibility of food. Drawing on both primary research and secondary sources, this article looks at the history of food and how it is connected with race and ethnicity in the United States. It also examines the colonial roots of American regional cooking, exclusion and assimilation of immigrants in nineteenth-century America, and racialization and inequality in American foodways in the twenty-first century.
Alison K. Smith
In 2005, the Council of Europe released a book celebrating the "culinary cultures of Europe." Consisting of essays, the volume describes the food of forty European nations. In his introduction, Fabio Parasecoli focuses on the created nature of national cuisines as well as the many "signifying networks [that] define the key concepts of tradition and authenticity," which play a key in constructing what is "typical." These signifiers therefore define local, regional or even national identities, and include ingredients, techniques, trade, location, time and media, all of which give rise to variations and, eventually, differences that are interpreted as national. Yet national cuisines remain a complicated part of the world of globalization (and, in the European context, of pan-European administration). Russia is one country where the broad array of influences on national cuisines is evident.