Theme Of Food In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Food, Civilization, Love, and the Gods
“You have to taste a culture to understand it” -Deborah Cater. Food is important to every culture and so much can be learned by it. Our food is shaped by where we live and how we eat it, whether slow or fast, outside or inside. Therefore, when Deborah Cater said this, she was likely speaking about food in a literal way, but in fact this is even more true in the abstract. Food represents ideas from survival to love, and although all humans eat food, all humans gather around food, and all humans talk over food, food has a different representation to every culture. The same was true more than 4000 years ago when Sumerian scribes first wrote The Epic of Gilgamesh. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, food represents civilization, the gods, and love, which shows that these three elements were seen as unique to humans.
Food is seen as a facet of society and in some places even represents civilization as a whole. At the beginning of the book, when Enkidu is humanized, he meets the harlot at a
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Food represents civilization when the harlot introduces Enkidu to civilization. Food is associated with the gods when Gilgamesh sacrificed a lamb to the gods and finds the finest fruits in the garden of the gods. Finally, food represents the love between Gilgamesh and Enkidu and the lack of love between Gilgamesh and Ishtar. These elements are all unique to humans and important to the ancient Sumerians. It would be interesting to go back and taste Sumerian culture in the literal sense because one likely could learned so much more about them. But since that is not possible for obvious reasons, try to taste food from a modern day culture. What can one learn from tasting this culture in the literal? What does food represent to this society? These ideas are likely just as unique to humans and important to their societies as civilization, the gods, and love were to the

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