Influence of Food on Culture and Identity Paper Assignment Sheet: Research Paper (1200-1500 words) Task: Using a minimum of two course readings and three

Influence of Food on Culture and Identity Paper Assignment Sheet: Research Paper (1200-1500 words)


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Influence of Food on Culture and Identity Paper Assignment Sheet: Research Paper (1200-1500 words) Task: Using a minimum of two course readings and three
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Using a minimum of two course readings and three or more articles that you have found (two of which need to be scholarly), write a coherent and academic research paper that presents your findings in response to your research question. Clearly introduce your research question and state your thesis. Define key terms and concepts if necessary. Present the findings of your research, analyze them, and draw your own conclusions based upon your findings. Clearly show how your research informs your conclusions and how your findings are important and contribute to the existing research. When you finish your paper, revise and edit it carefully.

Learning Objectives

Structure your paper in a clear, logical, and thoughtful way.
Organize your writing clearly and effectively based on awareness of audience.
Select and synthesize sources in the process of developing, investigating, and answering an original research question
Analyze your research findings and organize them in a clear and meaningful way.
Integrate sources effectively by paraphrasing, summarizing, and strategically quoting.
Introduce and accurately cite sources in-text according to MLA
Organize paragraphs and sentences coherently through the use of effective transitional devices
Create a complete and accurate Works Cited page according to MLA

Grading Criteria

Clearly stated, supported, and developed thesis
The ability to follow writing and formatting conventions of MLA
Depth of analysis and evaluation of texts
Effective incorporation of sources into writing by using paraphrasing, summarizing, synthesizing and quoting
Ability to express complex ideas in polished and well-edited academic language
Writing is coherent and flows well
The writer uses appropriate vocabulary, phrases ideas clearly, and varies sentence structure effectively
The assignment is well-edited for grammar, with few basic errors with nouns and verbs

_____ / 100 Content/Organization, Source Use/Synthesis, Depth of Discussion/Conclusion)

_____/ 20 Works Cited Page

_____/ 25 Language/Grammar

_____/ 5 MLA Format

Just revise and add some words to 1300-1500. Also add these two articles into the references

This is my draft 3, revise this to what it is required Shengguang Zou
Professor Stern
Ac Eng 20C
Food and Culture
Food is a critical component that is used in the maintenance of human wellbeing. Typically, food
is used to define one’s culture, as well. It is thus, essential to understand that through similar
foods, an identity can be created. Immigration is a critical attribute in the measure of retaining
and spreading culture through food. Certain food choices are connected to given societies, which
play a significant role in the appropriation of recognition. The significance of food is not only in
its measure of providing nutrients. Food is known to be used for diverse cultural inclinations,
such as to commemorate events and to identify a given ethnicity among other factions. The paper
employs the Mexican context to help exemplify this aspect of culture through food. Various
foods are identified in the measure of conducting the Dia de Los Muertos celebration. This
attribute helps to point to the proliferation of identifying the research question to the paper;
“What are the historical foundations for the establishment of these foods as ofrendas, compared
to other types of foods that are grown in the region?”
Food and Culture
It is critical to fathom that food is a significant component in the cultural exhibition. Despite
being a cultural identity, the culture of food is spreading far and wide out of immigration. People
are predominantly connected to regions through food. The next time you visit a place try to learn
what types of food they embrace and share it into your culture to see what they think of others’
foods. For instance, it is a culture that one is supposed to eat all their food when they are invited
to share a meal. Failure to eat all the food is considered as a bad sign. This, however, does not
apply to all cultures. Sharing food with other people is also exemplified as a sign of love, and
failure to share might indicate withdrawal. Technically, it is essential to understand that food
contains a social and ceremonial role, which makes it a vital element within society. As Carole
Counihan and Penny Van Eck state multiple times in their book, Food and Culture: A Reader,
culture is critical to understanding food behaviors and how they change across different societies
(Counihan, & Van Eck).
When one is alive, they consume food in order to survive. When the same people die,
food is prepared for their soul, and this is done under the inclination of a tradition that has been
practiced over time. For example, Lasse Hölck studied Jose Raphael Lovera and pointed out the
consistent practice of using different foods at birth, marriage and death celebrations (Hölck 278).
Technically, every culture is defined by their behaviors and common practices when it comes to
consuming and handling foods. There are specific types of foods that are considered unique or
special. For instance, in the case of Mexico, when celebrating the Dia de Los Muertos holiday.
Children are lined in parades, and special foods identified are provided in the alters to honor the
deceased. The ofrenda is defined by a given tier where the top level is stipulated to consist of
images of the lost loved ones; this is preceded by a second-tier that has favorite foods items that
tend to vary from pan de Muerto, cereal, and candy among others, along with beverages such as
water and spirits. The second layer is often consisting of the food items that the deceased loved
when they were alive and the specially selected food items. The third tier contains the most
practical items, as this is the bottom layer. Generally, food defines a culture (Counihan, & Van
Foods used as ofrendas for Dia de Los Muertos are typically those which the deceased
person loved. Of course, as Karen Castillo Farfán asserts the day is used to celebrate the dead, so
foods they loved during their lives are the ones chosen as offerings, along with water so they can
quench their thirst. Tamales are traditional staples you might find on an ofrenda along with basic
beans and rice or some other staple. Alcohol is also typically added to the ofrenda for the adults,
so the spirits can wind down with a drink after their long journeys from the spirit world. Pan de
Muerto, or “bread of the dead” is another item that is almost always found on the ofrenda. The
Yucatan Times states that it represents the soil or earth and is a necessity for the holiday (“‘Pan
de Muerto’”). (Farfán)
The day itself originated with the Aztecs but was heavily influenced but Catholic
holidays during the Spanish conquest. However, the Aztecs were most responsible for the partylike atmosphere and the additions of food and drinks, as they were the ones who believed that the
spirits came back to earth and that their lives there should be celebrated while they were there.
Thanks to them, modern Dia de Los Muertos celebrations are like giant parties, with parades and
gatherings of family and friends. With that in mind, as stated by the Yucatán Times, the bread
Pan de Muerto came from traditional breads made by the Aztecs and adapted as time went on to
suit the modern needs, resources, and cooking methods of the area and the people making it
(“‘Pan de Muerto’”).
Works cited
Counihan, Carole, and Van Esterik, Penny. Food and Culture: a Reader. 3rd ed.,
Routledge, 2013
Farfán, Karen Castillo. “Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar.” NPR,
NPR, 29 Oct. 2014,
Hölck, Lasse. Iberoamericana (2001-), vol. 7, no. 28, 2007, pp. 285–286. JSTOR, Accessed 23 May 2020
“’Pan De Muerto’: The Sweet Part of the ‘Dia De Muertos’ Festivity.” The Yucatan Times, The
Yucatán Times, 8 Dec. 2017,
Midterm Reading
You Are What You Eat: Food’s Influence on Culture and Identity
By Allena Avila | The Wire
March 24, 2020
It didn’t hit me until I returned home for Thanksgiving break during my freshman year
that something had been missing. At the first sip of rich broth from my first bowl of phở in
months, my mind clarified. Only then could I begin to put into words that one of the hardest
aspects of my transition to college was not having the foods I grew up with, both the ones made
by my family and the food that had always been within arm’s reach.
Being at Cal Poly opened my eyes to the power that food has to influence our sense of
culture and identity. At school, I often only saw my food as sustenance to get through the day.
But for the majority of my life, I have always felt that food holds much more significance in our
lives than just as fuel.
Food can mean spending time with family, bonding with old friends, sharing the culture
from my family with new friends. This is the connection to food that I deeply missed during my
freshman year. The way we share food, talk about food and choose which foods to eat can have a
big impact on how we view ourselves and the world around us. By choosing to seek out new
foods, we can build more meaningful relationships with others in our community and facilitate
new connections with other communities, maybe ones that we don’t know much about in the first
“People identify with the types of restaurants they frequent
and the places they’ve been to and food is ultimately the
kind of experience a lot of millennials and younger people
like to attach to who they are.”
– Mathew Kang, Eater LA
For example, I did not eat much Indian food growing up. Once I got older, I realized that
I wanted to explore what was unknown to me, yet what was cherished and loved by so many
others. I decided not only to go out and try more Indian food, but I also decided to learn more
about it online.
Through the work of food writer and cookbook author Priya Krishna, I have become
more educated on Indian and Indian American cuisine while simultaneously learning more about
the history and culture that are inherently tied to these foods. Krishna’s work heavily emphasizes
the idea that through conversations about food, the food can lead to conversations about a
plethora of other topics.
“I’ve always felt like food is the most interesting way to tell a story because there’s
literally a food angle for everything, whether you’re talking about politics or technology or
religion. I try to tell stories where food is the way in, but the story is so much more than just
food,” Krishna said.
By appreciating these sorts of stories, we not only broaden our perspectives but dive into
the exciting possibilities of learning more about the stories of the people around us and the world
we live in. By learning about food, we have the option to understand each other on a deeper,
more intimate level.
After all, food can also be tied very closely to our identities and how we understand
Matthew Kang, editor of Eater LA and host of K-Town, said, “People care about food
more than ever. There’s a lot of cultural capital where you dine and what kind of places you go
to. People identify with the types of restaurants they frequent and the places they’ve been to and
food is ultimately the kind of experience a lot of millennials and younger people like to attach to
who they are.”
This is true for many students here at Cal Poly. We love to connect over food, like
grabbing some late night Taco Bell together or cooking a meal at home. These little moments
can have a huge impact in how we see ourselves situated within our own communities.
Consciously seeking out these moments of bonding over food can be hard with busy schedules,
but in the end it is ultimately worth it.
“I started asking my parents about their family history
more, [and] the gateway to that was the food. Food is always
a great gateway to come and learn about cultural heritage.”
– Khanh Phan, Third year
But are there obstacles for those of us trying to find these connections through food while
being a student at Cal Poly? How does food culture in San Luis Obispo influence the identity of
those on our campus?
Anyone who comes from the Bay Area or Southern California knows that there is an
undeniable lack of diversity in food culture. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that 71.4%
of San Luis Obispo County’s population is white. While we have many different Italian and
barbecue restaurants to choose from, we are extremely limited in terms of other cuisine — like
various Asian or Latinx options that specialize in different dishes or regional foods.
I want to emphasize that this is not to say that there is not great food here in San Luis
Obispo. But the lack of diversity in food leads to a sense of loss for those who feel personal
connections to foods they can no longer access. They cannot share those foods with their friends,
nor can they easily connect to the traditions they’ve grown up with.
I, like many other students who have come to Cal Poly, experienced culture shock, and
the lack of diversity in food undoubtedly played a role. Cal Poly alum Jimmy Wong, famous for
his pop-up restaurant in his studio apartment, shared similar sentiments.
“[The transition] definitely had an influence on my food. I think that the food that I was
doing at the pop-up, Dench, a lot of it was inspired by the things I grew up eating […] from the
cultures that surrounded me,” Wong said, “My cultural background is Asian, but I definitely
grew up Asian American, and it was kind of my first opportunity to combine the two worlds
Through food, Wong was able to represent himself in a way that speaks not only to his
upbringing here, but also connects to his family’s origins in Hong Kong. Sharing these foods
through his pop-up exemplified the way food can help people learn more about others’ unique
But Wong is not the only Cal Poly student to feel closer to his roots through his cooking.
Khanh Phan, a third year materials engineering student, began learning how to cook Vietnamese
food for the Thai Vietnamese Student Association’s (TVSA) food nights, which are meant to be
social bonding events for anyone who wants to join and learn about the culture. “It’s important
for me to carry on the heritage through food,” Phan said.
To ensure the quality of food, Phan began to learn how to cook Vietnamese food — phở,
bánh xèo, bò kho — from his mom. Unexpectedly, he also began to learn about his own roots
too. “I started asking my parents about their family history more,” Phan shared, “[And] the
gateway to that was the food. Food is always a great gateway to come and learn about cultural
Personally, I had my own struggles staying connected to my identity and my culture
through food. Luckily, my mom and my cousin would sometimes come visit and bring bún thịt
nướng for me and everyone I knew. Other times my dad would freeze sopas for me to bring back
to school, which I would immediately share with my friends. Every chance I got to share my
food, I remember feeling more connected as I got to share a part of myself with them.
Finding these connections to food and through food is possible for everyone. All it takes
is an open mindset and a willingness to try new foods and be sincerely interested in learning
about others’ food histories. Even though you might not always like the food you try, Kang
strongly advocates the idea that “it’s worth trying it and being a little bit uncomfortable.” You
can learn about new communities, make new connections, and you can begin feeling more
connected through food.
You can start incorporating this into your daily life, even during the quarantine, by
looking up new dishes to make at home with your loved ones, or you could coordinate a virtual
dinner date with some friends. If restaurants in your area are still open for take-out, try ordering
foods you haven’t had before; now more than ever, your local restaurants need your support.
While we are all sheltering-in-place to protect ourselves and our communities, it might be
more difficult to build these sorts of connections through food, but it’s not impossible. I hope
that you are still able to find the foods that not only provide nutrition, but also provide comfort
and a sense of home.
The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues
Cultural Identity and Food
Contributors: Erika Derkas
Edited by: Ken Albala
Book Title: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues
Chapter Title: “Cultural Identity and Food”
Pub. Date: 2015
Access Date: March 27, 2020
Publishing Company: SAGE Publications, Inc.
City: Thousand Oaks,
Print ISBN: 9781452243016
Online ISBN: 9781483346304
Print pages: 330-334
© 2015 SAGE Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This PDF has been generated from SAGE Knowledge. Please note that the pagination of the online
version will vary from the pagination of the print book.
© 2015 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
SAGE Reference
Food is a basic necessity for life, and thus, life and particularly culture can be understood by examining food.
Although food is universal, the symbolic meanings attached to its preparation, distribution, and cultivation are
culturally bound.
The very determination of what is considered food is largely cultural. Anthropologists have been on the forefront of demonstrating the power that foodways, defined as food-related activities and systems that include
physical, social, communicative, cultural, and other values, have in revealing subjective and fluid meaning as
well as societal structural arrangements. The research includes exploring different taboos about foods, different presentations, and ethnically based and regionally based foods.
Culture, defined as the ensemble of values and beliefs, customs, religion, and art that shapes the way of life
of a particular group, is conveyed through literal and symbolic language. In turn, language helps maintain
boundaries that differentiate certain groups from others. Culture partially determines the specific social relations developed and maintained, the symbolic ordering of the world, and food is a lens to understand these
various cultural dynamics. In other words, foodways operate consciously or unconsciously as a symbolic demarcation of culture and as vehicles for maintaining, transmitting, adapting, and transforming culture.
Foodways are argued to be among the earliest formed layers of culture and thus are a main component in the
intricate and ever-changing system that is expressed by a particular group. Culture and foodways are fluid
and involve a process of using a group’s markers of self-identification, which changes with time and the sociopolitical landscape—the impacted region, politics, economics, historical developments, migration patterns,
religion, and language.
This entry examines food and ethnic/group identity, the communal sharing of food in ritual and celebrations,
and the relation of foodways to economic development. The entry begins with a discussion of how foodways
create a sense of belonging, defining the limits of group identity and expressing cultural cohesion, continuity,
and change that provide context for performance of group rituals. Food serves as a medium for inter-and intragroup communication and formation in an overlapping weave involving all factors listed above.
Community, Place, and Cultural Belonging
Food practices play a key role in creating a sense of belonging to place and history through remembrance of
who we are. The sense of self, family, and group identity is learned through the process of socialization occurring intergenerationally and is learned partially through various food practices. Food practices serve several
intersecting functions for cultural groups, including sustaining cohesion and partially determining the relation
of individuals to society and a group’s expectations attached to given roles, and they stand as reflections and
reinforcement for certain patterned social relationships that create a basis for belonging.
Many food practices bring people together in ways that demonstrate their interdependence and reliance on
one another for overall survival or to maintain a connection to past times. Social integration and interaction are
orchestrated through various food practices, which organize and pattern cultural identity, in turn reinforcing
primary values. For example, the importance of the collective welfare of family in mid-19th-century Appalachia
was demonstrated through the daily tasks revolving around food sustenance conducted on the family farm.
These included growing, gathering, and preserving food necessary for families consisting of 12 to 13 children.
Self-sufficiency, diversity, and independence marked preindustrial Appalachian farms that were vital factors
for cultural stability and growth. In parts of Mexico, pigs provide household nourishment and are central to
certain festivals. Adherence to community is maintained through raising, slaughtering, and preparing pigs for
festivals. Thus, within certain contexts, communal work sharing is essential for food gathering, preparing, and
preservation, reinforcing cultural values and belonging.
Food practices are also symbolic, representing a language that communicates and cultivates cultural belief
systems and illustrates roles and expectations of cultural groups. Culture is transmitted and maintained to a
Page 2 of 7
The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues
© 2015 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
SAGE Reference
great extent through multigenerational interactions. “Children are fed the tastes, traditions, and beliefs of older
generations through quasi-sacramental food r…
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