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Western Food Originated In Europe Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1951 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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From European history development perspective, the most developed and influential is ancient Greek and Roman culture in the early stage. And western -style food system formed in Ancient Roman period, basic on finalizing the design in the middle ages. Italy has been called the “mother” of the western cuisine, and perhaps its greatest contribution was its influence on France. The crucial event was in 16th century, Italian princess Catherine married with the Henry II of France. She bought the Italian gastronomy to France, and finally formed the famous French cuisine.

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‘Tell me what you eat and i will tell you who you are’ is often -quoted aphorism by Brillat-Savarin. Somewhat more recently, Fischer (1988, P277) claim, among others, has argued that food is central to our sense of identify: because we are omnivores, incorporation is an act laden with meaning’. Tomato juice is the most notable features of Italian food. In addition pasta and pizza are well-known in the world. Boots form land climate, topography of the south, north Italy each has unique cooking style. In the dining table, personality of hospitality and friendly be demonstrated, it is the signification of Italian food.

A formal meal traditional Italian dinner usually has four to five dish types. It is respectively: Antipasto, Primi, contorno, Secondo and Dolic. Bread and virgin olive oil are essential for Italian cuisine. Italian bread has multifarious types, such as Ciabitta, Focaccia, Bread stick etc. In general before they serve appetizer, bread with olive oil and sundry tomato sauce will be serve in the first stage. Italy has a long history that is the Roman Empire and the center of the European Renaissance. The food culture is extremely developed and impact of most European countries and areas, it also is known as “continental Europe cooking ancestor”.

This section will explore what factors of Italy food will impact consumer’s choice. In the past the basic function of food is too fill people belly. With the development of the times and fire is invented, people have going to learn culinary art to achieve the demand of taste. (Coon,C.S 1955 N/A)concludes: The introduction of cooking may well have secured early man’s survival, and been the decisive factor which led man from a primarily animals existence into one that was more fully human. When human being born in this word with unlearned predispositions towards, such as tasting sweet and rejecting things like salty and bitter, such as newborn babies. (Carolyn.K 2005 p5) summarises: the significance attached to flavours such as salt and sugar is rooted in both biology and history. It can be distributed to taste preference and hunger satiety. In every supermarket, we can observe plenty Italian elements such as Balsamic vinegar pasta, lasagna, tiramisu etc. Why Italian foods get widely in people’s life? We can analyse form these aspects: vision, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Vision, when you notice the food and then decide if it looks appetizing or not, food is displayed attractively looks more appetizing. For instance lasagna, Bolognaise has been separated by pasta is well-arranged and its appearance stimulate people’s appetizing. When you judge a food first step by vision, then after is smell. Many people are attractive by food’s aroma, especially of their favourite foods. As I mention before, Italian food is varied. There are north Italian cuisine, south Italian cuisine and Sicily style. In north of Italy, people like to use cream and butter to cook, for instance, Cabanara. And in South of Italy, products include hazelnut, sundry cherry tomato, Mozzarella cheese etc. Sicily style is most different from others; influence by Arab, materials is dissimilar with other parts of Italy many of the Sicilian products protect by PDO. Due to the Varity and characteristic of Italian food, progressively people can discover their suitable taste from it.


Personal factors can be dividing into following points: attitude (psychological), habits and food expectations. Pizza is an original food in Italy and now it’s very popular and convenient to eat. Three authors (Lan.C, Philip.C and Mark T, 1998) suggest: dietary habit are developed in relation to increasingly internationalized food supply networks. Hence, our dietary intake and health are affected by practices far away from our direct experience. We can observe pizza shop everywhere in the world. When a person is hunger and just for physical need, pizza will be their first choice. Their psychological characteristics will be: why we chosen pizza? How long we can get it? The answer will be: pizza is good taste and its high efficient and affordable. That’s why the people’s attitude and food expectations decided their food choice. Contrary, some people more concentrate on atmosphere, quality of foods and service in high expectation. Therefore, they can chose a casual Italian restaurant for diner, as they see, food not just for fill the belly it also as a product, there have Varity of qualities. Three authors (C.Ritson ,L.Gofton and J.McKenzie 1986 P87) states that: Sensory -affective reaction may be innately based or acquired .Substances which fall into the sensory -affective category for any individual are almost always acceptable food in his culture.

Two authors (Humpel N, Owen N, Leslie2002) claim: most of this evidence suggests that environmental factors bear significant influence on diet, physical activity and obesity. This part is mainly a review of what we know about environmental determinants and correlates. These include economic and sociological factors. When we talk about economic factors influencing the demand for food we essentially have in mind incomes and price. From Engel’s Coefficient we can realize the relation of economic and food. (Burk, 1962) claims: The poorer a family is, the greater the proportion of total expenditure which it must use to produce food. The wealthier a people, the smaller is the share if expenditure on food in total expenditure. (Len T.W, Clive. N, Pamela. M. H kwok,2001) argue that: as consumers become more affluent they move from satisfying basic physiological needs to fulfilling social and psychological needs that are shaped by the nations and cultures to which they belong.In another words Italians food totally different from France food , there have no such criterions to limit its market approaches. It can be frozen, fresh, boxed etc. For instance: frozen cooked pasta, lasagne pizza etc. Therefore, it is more acceptable and affordable by customers, which are the reason for why Italian food is more popular than others.

In the different context of Italy, people living in North, South or Sicily Island have different taste for their food. Indeed in this chapter we will examine the factors influence people’s preference in Italy. Food preference is an element to influence people’s food choice, and it can be follow these factors to explore: social-economic factors, education factors, cultural -religious and regional factors, personal factors, biological -physiological and Psychological factors extrinsic factors and intrinsic factors. In these factors some of them we already analysed in the past. Therefore we focus on social and cultural factors. Three authors (C.Ritson, L.Gofton and J.Mckenzie 1986 p176) point out: Most consumers’ behaviour text contain sections on the influence of “social factors” on consumption, and stander references are made to the influence of social class, or ethnicity, or gender, or age, on consumption patterns. For example: families in Italy like to eat together and it will spend a lot time for diner. In addition they will also invite their friends and neighbourhoods to join them ,and people be invited will bring some food and wins to host’s home as well. From all above, background of Italy culture influence their attitude and preference for diet. Two authors (Edward.G, Eugenia .G.B 2005 P3) maintain: Italian meals are structured in way that keeps family and friends at the table .Multiple course take time to eat , and wine keeps conversation flowing ,It’s entertainment for Italians.

Italy is a culture that is wealthy and soaked in their traditions of cooking. They are proud of their food material and live by credo that food is only used if it is fresh, local and in season. Thus we can easily find out difference from oriental food which is food by pickling or curing, such as kimchi and salted fish. In the field of food and nutrition, food taboos are not necessarily connected with magical, religious, or cultural differences. Some nutritionists prefer to speak of “food avoidance” instead of something as taboo. Two authors (Onuorah.C.E and Ayo.J.A, 2003,) suggest: The food mostly affect by these cultural habits are fleshy foods of animals’ origin which are supposedly rich in protein of high biological value, minerals etc. For instance: in some districts of China, dogs are deemed to a palatable food with highly nutritious value in winter. However, in western and Europe (include Italy), dogs be define as a friend of human, and in some localities dogs are sacrificial for the God of Iron. Insects are not considered food in Europe and most of the United States, yet the crispy-fried locusts, and beetles are very popular in Thailand. (Rebecca.S 2011) point out that western diners should get used to the idea of eating insects because by 2020 it is: inevitable” and from an important part of our diet, and argues that insects as being low in cholesterol and produce less waste.

As fast food become increasingly usual in our daily life, Italians still follow their traditional dinner with family members. Much of Italians life revolves around the family dinner table. These feasts would happen on special occasions like Easter, Christmas, birthdays and religious celebrations. The meals on such occasions would usually begin around 1:00 pm and and would last for hours. With happiness know no bounds and enjoy the family relationship.


Fischler C., (1988) Food, self and identity, Social science Information 275-92.

Coon C.S., (1955) The History of man: From the first human to primitive Culture and Beyond, Jonathan Cape, London.P-63

C.Ritson, L.Gofton and J. McKenzie, (1986) the food Consumer, John Wiley &Sons LTD, Great Britain

Carolyn.K (2005) the taste Culture Reader: Experience Food &Drink, Berg. NEW YORK.

Humpel N, Owen N, Leslie E. (2002) Environmental factors associated with adults’ participation in physical activity: a review. Am J Prev Med; 22:188- 99.

Burk, (1962) Ramifications of the relationship between income and food ‘Journal of Farm Economic, XLIV.

C.Ritson, L.Gofton and J.Mckenzie (1986) The Food Consumer, John Wiley&Sons Ltd

Edward.G, Eugenia .G.B(2005) Italian Family Dining: Recipes, Menus, and Memories of Meals with a Great American Food Family ,Holtzbrinck.USA

Lan.C, Philip.C and Mark T,(1998): Biographies and geographies: consumer understandings of the origins of foods, British Food Journal, MCB University Press.P162-167

Onuorah.C.E and Ayo.J.A,(2003): Food taboos and their nutritional implications on developing nations like Nigeria -a review, Nutrition &Food science ,pp235-240

Rebecca.S (2011) Insect will be important part of UK diet by 2020, says a scientist, guardian.co.uk Accessed date:2 Dec 2012


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