Food is more than a collection of nutrients. A common need to meet certain fundamental conditions for survival is shared by human beings all round the world. One of these needs is securing an adequate diet, which will provide energy and the various nutrients necessary for metabolic functioning. To meet these nutritional requirements thousands of different foodstuffs and combinations are used to achieve the same end-that of survival. Food, not only is had to satisfy hunger but also for energy and working of the metabolic system.
Various people all over the world consume this same food as food differently, which is truly remarkable. For example, North American Indian tribes traditionally ate over hundred kinds of seeds, roots and nuts, while the South American Indian tribes ate monkey, iguanas, grubs, bees and head lice, while the Aborigines of Australia relished insects. Sometimes humans learn to consume and prefer substances, which are intrinsically unpalatable.
Food has always been much more than a source of body nourishment, as it has played a major part in the social life, both religious and secular groups of humans.
A rough glance at the past humanities literature is enough to reflect the idea that culture was and is a major determinant of what we eat. Food fulfills biological, cultural and social needs. The way food is chosen, the method of preparation, number of meals per day, time of eating and the size of portion eaten form an integrated part of the cultural pattern followed by the human beings. Food habits come into being and are maintained because they are practical or symbolically meaningful behaviors in a culture. Food habits are a product of historical conditions and old belief systems.
Culture is something that makes one similar to some other people and yet different from the vast majority...