History of Food Culture
The women would cook the meals and the family would plan their schedules around meal times instead of making meals suit around their schedule. This reflects a family-centric food culture whereby family members old actually sit around the dining table to have their dinner together instead of eating take-outs in front of the television. This is emphasized in the cookbook from the elaboration of cooking methods that the contributors included in their recipes.
The cookbook is not just a book full Of recipes for people then, it is also filled with tips on how to keep the food, food for medicinal purposes as well as an entire list of how to cook or prepare certain types of food such as SOUP, oysters, fishes, meats, sauces, vegetables, salads, pies, puddings, confectionery, breads and cakes. The cookbook is filled with typewritten texts as well as pages of handwritten penmanship of the recipes. This reiterates the fact that this cookbook is a primary source from the 19th century and carries original recipes from that time.
As this cookbook is preserved and turned to an e-book, it shows that food as an inter-disciplinary history is a topic that is valued by an increasing number of historians. In Writing Food History, Amy Bentley said that it is not easy to read more about food history in classes, hence, an increasing interest in this field of study has caused more books to be written about food history through time and place. The book not only discusses about food history in America, but also in other regions of the world. This essay will be covering the food history in America.
In the introduction of this cookbook, it is described as a legacy of the Civil War in America (Crook, 1873). This cookbook was compiled a few years shortly after the Civil War in America. This suggests that the recipes in this cookbook were recipes that were created, or recorded during this period of time. The American food culture has evolved from one that consists mainly of home- cooked meals, as shown in the cookbook, to one which is highly reliant on fast food. The increasing concern with the young in America eating fast food as a staple food is a trend that has been worrying food experts for quite a while now.
This can be seen from the numerous documentaries about the effects, consequences and observances of fast food and the young. The food culture in America has evolved so much in a short period of time. The change that occurs through time is caused by social factors, economic factors, cultural factors and a few other factors. This essay will attempt to identify the food habits in the 1 9th century and compare it with current times presently. Food habits do not include only the consumption of food but also the production of food (Bentley, 2012).
One of the factors that caused this change of home- cooked meals to take-outs is attributed to the standard of living of Americans. As observed from this cookbook, home-cooked meals make up the bulk of it In the 1 9th century this can be attributed to the fact that most women then are homemakers. The standard of living then was not as high as it is now; this applies to most countries and is not exclusive to America only, as such, by having a sole breadwinner was enough to sustain the family day to day living.
As compared to current times, with a flailing economy in America that is affecting the rest of the world, there is a need for the woman to go out and work. This societal trend emphasizes on women’s position as the cook at home, hence the fact that a majority of the contributors of the cookbook are women. During that period of time, women do not go out to work as frequently or do not go out to work at all. As such, they were able to dedicate heir time in the kitchen perfecting their recipes or making food that is good for their family. This shows how feminism has a huge role to play in food history.
This factor will be covered later on in the essay. However, this is a trend that is important back in the 1 9th century and not presently. The increasing number Of Women in the workforce is caused by a more expensive standard of living, as mentioned above. As a result of more working mothers, there is a lesser chance of women in modern times to spend as much time in the kitchen compared to women in the past. Hence, the recipes of current mimes may not be recorded or written as much as they were in the past. Continuing from the point above, women play a significant role in food history in the past as well as present.
A reason why an increasing number of women are entering the workforce more than the kitchen is because of education. Back then, education was not regarded as something important that women need to have. Many are contented with just a high school diploma, or even a lower education qualification. This is a trend that is not only observed in America, but also many other countries worldwide. In fact, his trend is still being observed in modern times in some countries in the Middle East. Society places importance on a woman who has skills that will make them desirable housewives rather than a working woman.
Cooking is the most important skill a woman needs to have (Bentley, 2012). This explains why women entered the kitchen more than going to school to get an education. Of course, this is something that has changed with time as observed in many countries. Due to this societal pressure of women having to know how to cook, it creates a stereotype of women where society assumes hat all women need to know how to cook; they especially need to cook well to feed the family heartily, as well as being a domesticated figure in a household.
This stereotype and societal expectation determines why women are the bulk of contributors to this cookbook and other cookbooks through time. This image of women being domesticated is something that has caused consternation With the feminist movement that happens in the world as things progress and change through time. Hence, a more serious emphasis on women getting an education allowed women to move out of the kitchen ND into the working world. With this shift in women role in a family, there were lesser chances for women to cook for their family as they will be busy with their work demands.
Other than work demands, the fact that men are starting to be more accepting of wives who work makes the role of a woman in the kitchen less important. Hence, this results in an increasing number of people, especially in America, who eat out more rather than eating home- cooked meals. Another factor that has caused this change is agriculture and manufacturing. Farming was an activity that was highly widespread in the 9th century. As America has an abundant of land, they are able to have farm and rear the produce that is used for ingredients for food in the kitchen as well as to rear animals.
With time, while farming still exists in America due to their abundant land, technology is being incorporated in how farming has changed with time. This suggests that farming is no longer a manual process but is something that has technology help through machinery and such. This change in farming style would mean that the knowledge of using food as medicinal purposes would diminish. In the cookbook used in this essay, impel ingredients in the kitchen like lard, sugar or lemon just to name a few, are used to make cough mixtures of remedies for burn.
With the introduction of technology as well as medicinal advancements in agriculture and manufacturing, medicines can just be bought off the shelves instead of coming up with them at home. This highlights the striking difference of food in medicinal purposes. It also emphasizes the changes that has occurred in food history whereby simple ingredients can be used to make remedies are now substituted with chemicals or solutions that are created in the laboratory. Hence, the difference between foods for medicinal purposes in the past as compared to present day.
Technology has also influence the way food is made or created at present day. In the cookbook used in this essay, there are recipes to make drinks such as tea, coffee and chocolate from scratch. However, presently, these are drinks that you can make with the mixture that you get from the supermarket after mixing it with hot water. This emphasizes how technology has played a huge role in our lives in the food industry. As humans incorporate technological advances in our daily lives to make it easier, it has also influenced the consumption of food from the past to present.
Drinks are now made in factories to produce the mixtures in masses unlike the past where drinks are made in households for immediate consumption. At a glance, such changes may not mean much to the mere observer, however, upon further inspection, the loss of making drinks as a form of art is loss. While this may not seem like such a huge loss to people, it still indicates how habits and methods Of creating food may be lost. When methods of making food or drinks, are lost, it emphasizes how technology has erased traditional methods f producing food. This highlights how the production of food has changed over time.
By observing food habits, consumption and production in present day, it suggests that there is a high volume of consumption of fast food in the America culture. Documentaries of fast food chains on food consumption among the citizens suggest that Americans are highly reliant on fast food for their meals. The most important factor why this is not a good habit is the health content in fast food as compared to home-cooked food. Statistics have proven that fast food contains for example, a high amount of salt and many there ingredients that can result in many health diseases in its consumers.
There are so many different kinds of ingredients in fast food that a consumer will not be able to know what is going into his body. On the other hand, if one consumes home-cooked food, he can control the amount of unhealthy ingredients that goes into the body. With such a precaution, he will be able to avoid unnecessary health issues such as diabetes, heart problems and such that are caused by unhealthy eating. An example of this would be a documentary that shows the life of a man who consumed McDonald’s for his meals of the day. At the end of the experimentation period, he was observed to have higher health risks.
This highlights what is going on in many American households. It is an issue that is not highlighted at all unless health experts and people who are concerned for the welfare of Americans raised the awareness of such a problem in their society. When compared consumption of fast food to home-cooked food, one is able to control the type of food that goes into their body. This does not necessarily mean only organic food, which is perceived to be a healthier option, but just healthier options for ingredients hat can be found in the supermarket.
The consumption of unhealthy ingredients is perhaps one of the biggest gripes that is an issue in food consumption. Unhealthy food consumption may result in an entire slew of diseases that may plague the country. This would cause health problems that have to be addressed in the future when it becomes a more serious problem. In conclusion, the cookbook that is used in this essay highlights the traditional methods of cooking in food history and the implications that it has on its future generation.