Food And Eating: Some Persisting Questions, By Sidney Mintz

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During the first week of class, four readings were assigned. One of the readings, “Food and Eating: Some Persisting Questions,” by Sidney Mintz, discusses the paradoxes of food. Although food seems like a straightforward concept, it is actually extremely complicated. According to Mintz, there are five paradoxes, including: the importance of food to one’s survival, yet we take it for granted, how people stick to their foodways, but are willing to change, whether the government should allow people to freely choose food or if they should protect the people through regulations, the difference in food meanings according to gender, and the morality of eating certain foods. All of these paradoxes give people questions to think about, making this an extremely philosophical look at food studies.…show more content…
These discuss the diffusion of foods after 1492 in different ways. The Mintz reading gives an overview of all of the foods spread from the Americas to the Old World, and vice-a-versa, but does not go terribly in depth on the social changes and effects of specific foods. Brandes focuses on the cultural impact of specifically maize on the European diet, noticing that most Western Europeans shunned it. He studies the cultural implications of this, concluding that maize was not accepted due to prejudice against the poor, who ate maize often, and the Muslims, whom maize was associated with. Although both pieces discuss the impact of the Columbian trade, Mintz provides an overview, while Brandes nitpicks a single food item that came from the

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