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Eating The Hyphen: A Short Story

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“Food for us comes from our relatives… That is how we consider food. Food has a culture. It has a history. It has a story. It has relationships.” This quote was spoken by Winona LaDuke. Known for her work on tribal land claims and being an American environmentalist, Winona LaDuke discusses that food is culture. She also expresses how tribal relatives pass on their food recipes. Through generations, traditional foods are passed down to preserve culture. Consequentially, people have more respect for food when someone says, ‘This is my great grandmother’s recipe.’ Immigrants brought their culture, including their gastronomy, and recipes, from their homeland as a way to preserve and express their heritage and pass it on to their children. Moreover,…show more content…
Lily Wong, in her article about food, entitled “Eating the Hyphen,” states, “Perhaps this combination (ketchup and dumplings) has something to do with the fact that since both my parents grew up in the States, we’ve embraced many American traditions while abandoning or significantly modifying many Chinese ones” (95). Wong expresses how being a Chinese American has affected her life in a positive way. Wong eats some of her food Americanized, with ketchup, but also eats food that the majority of American’s would not touch (i.e. jellyfish and sea cucumber). Comparatively, Wong eats dumplings (which derive from the Chinese culture) with a fork, knife, and ketchup (which are all culturally American). Geeta Kothari, who wrote the article, If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I? which shows how extremely difficult it was to attend an American school while being a descendent of the Indian culture. Kothari states, “[…] my mother buys the tuna, hoping to satisfy my longing for American food. Indians, of course, do not eat such things” (443). Kothari expresses her struggle to adjust and learn American customs while being an Indian American. Furthermore, by eating what Americans would eat, such as tuna in a can as other children did at school, Kothari felt it would bring her closer to the American lifestyle she longed for. Learning self-identity through food is an important part…show more content…
Without culture, would food end up mattering? Every culture has different forms and tastes of food, and every person has some tweaks they add to their own diet. Frequently, people learn what to eat from their family who share their culture, such as their parents and other loving family members. People around the world express their identity with what they eat on a daily basis. While, it is important to recognize that some will oppose the synergistic relationship between food and culture, it has been proven that they are indeed related. Everyone grows up eating what their family eats, and winds up enjoying the nourishment their family provides. Men, women, and children, raised from their heritage and food preferences, will continue on for generations. Yes, they will branch out and try new products, possibly adding them to their diet, but they will always find the food of their culture as comfort or ‘homey’ food. Therefore, food is a major part of cultures all over the
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