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Principles and Influences of Gastronomy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2177 words Published: 3rd Jul 2018

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Gastronomy is the study of food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine. Modern gastronomy has its roots in several French texts published in the 1800s, but the idea of relating food, science, society, and the arts has been around much longer. True gastronomy is a demanding multidisciplinary art examining food itself along with its context, presentation, freshness, and history. While commonly associated with gourmets and gluttony, gastronomy is actually its own discipline, although some gourmets are certainly gastronomes, as are some gluttons.

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The principle of gastronomy is that food is a science, in addition to an art form. By understanding how all of the senses contribute to an experience, a gastronome can more completely understand what is happening when a consumer claims to dislike or enjoy a particular food item. Gastronomy also examines the sociological implications of food, along with integrating other social science disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. The role of food in the fine arts such as performance art, painting, and sculpture is also examined, as part of a closer look at the role of food in society in general.


People mostly connect to their cultural or ethnic group through food patterns. For Immigrants food now become the means of retaining their cultural identity. Each and every individual have different cultural backgrounds and have different eating habits. The ingredients, methods of preparation, preservation techniques, and types of food eaten at different meals are different among cultures. The areas and the climate factors in which families live- and geographical location where their ancestors originated also influence food likes and dislikes. These food preferences result in varieties of food choices within a different cultural or regional group.

Food items themselves have meaning and some cultural identity attached to them. For example in many Western countries a box of chocolates would be viewed as an appropriate gift while in other countries chocolates might be a less appropriate gift.

Different nations or countries are frequently associated with certain foods. For example, many people associate Italy with pizza and pasta but Italians eat many other foods, and types of pasta dishes are popular throughout Italy. Methods of preparation and types of food also vary by regions and culture of a nation. Some families in the United States prefer to eat "meat and potatoes," but in some families "meat and potatoes" are not eaten on a regular basis, nor even preferred, by many in the United States, so would not be labelled as a national cuisine. Grits, a coarsely ground corn that is boiled, is eaten in the southern United States. A package of grits is only available in the largest supermarkets in the upper Midwest and it's difficult to find even in large Midwestern supermarkets a long time ago. This may be called as the geographical effect.

Regional food habits also exist in nations and countries but they also change by time. As people travel from place to place food habits and preferences are imported and exported. Families move to other nations, countries or places bringing their food preferences with them. They follow their old recipes with new ingredients available at different places or experiment with new recipes, incorporating ingredients to match their own tastes. In addition, food itself is imported from other countries.

Nevertheless, what is considered edible or even a delicacy in some parts of the world might be considered inedible in other parts. Although most of the times food is selected with some attention to physical need, the values or beliefs by which society attaches to potential food items and define what families within a cultural group will eat. For example, both plant and animal sources may contribute to meeting nutritional requirements for protein; soybeans, beef, horsemeat, and dog meat are all adequate protein sources. Yet, due to the some values and beliefs attached to these protein sources, they are not considered in all societies. Moreover, even when the foods perceived to be undesirable are available, they are not eaten by people who have a strong emotional reaction against those potential food item.


Types and food associated to British culture: British cuisine encompasses the cooking traditions of the British Isles. It reflects the cultural influence of the colonial era as well as post-war immigrations. British cuisine boasts of a rich variety of sumptuous dishes from its different regions. Staple foods include chicken, beef, pork, lamb and fish, served with potatoes and other vegetables. The most popular dishes are fish and chips, sandwiches, trifles, pies and roast

As the result of both globalization and global environmental change food systems face dramatic transformations. Change in global environment influence the physical and socioeconomic conditions that underpin terrestrial and marine food systems., Globalization is also responsible for transforming the production and storage of food, , access to and consumption of food, and the quality and safety measures associated with food and eating habits. Both processes also have direct effects on agricultural production, livelihoods, and the agricultural economies as well. More important, both processes can take place at the same time and interacting to create dynamic conditions that influence vulnerability to both rapid and gradual environmental changes.

Global environmental change affects food systems through the loss of productive farmland, depletion of traditional seed stocks, loss of biodiversity, and changing climate conditions, including increasing frequency of extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods. Globalization-related changes include liberalization of trade in agriculture products, reduction of domestic subsidies and supports for agricultural production, expansion of the role of multinational corporations and supermarkets in food production and distribution, shifts toward urban and industrial land uses, and the growing influence of consumer movements in matters such as use of GMO technologies.

Food is an important part of religious observance and spiritual ritual of many faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The role of food in cultural practices and religious beliefs is complex and varies among individuals and communities. Any introduction to such a diverse and complex topic will not be able to include everything. Instead, here is a sample of some ways in which various religious groups include food a vital part of their faith. Understanding the role of food in cultural and religious practice is an important part of showing respect and responding to needs of people from a range of religious communities. However, it is important to void assumptions about person's culture and beliefs. The various faiths of Christianity include Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. The regulations governing food and drink differ from one of the next, including some faiths that don't advocate any restrictions.

Though today's avant-garde chefs are sometimes accused of turning their kitchens into scientific laboratories, there's no doubt that when a piece of meat is heated, the reaction that takes place is a chemical one. Science and cooking are processes that go hand-in-hand, now more than ever before.

The link between science and cuisine is nothing new. Disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology and botany have always been closely related to cooking. Debates about the existence of science-based cuisine or the controversy over the terms "molecular gastronomy" and "molecular cuisine"; have made the subject a topical one. To analyze it, we need to consider the approach adopted by certain chefs and other experts who want to know why things happen.

Technology has dramatically improved and reshaped every part of our lives. It has hardly left any aspect of our existence untouched. It has revolutionized the way we work, entertain ourselves and even the things we eat.

The food industry has increasingly developed by adopting more advanced technologies that can deliver us healthier, fresher and more varied food. Currently, the marketplace offers a vast variety of foods we can choose from, at a better quality and lower prices than in the past.

By introducing new technologies, businesses can offer better products and services in increasingly larger quantities and thus, satisfy a wider range of clients. The same holds true for the companies in the food industry.

Advanced technologies are used in all the stages of food production. The first step is to help evaluate and improve the quality of the raw ingredients used. Next, they're used in the preparation stage, where they aid at shipping and handling the materials. The last stage of processing food will make use of methods like conservation and separation, potentially adding new ingredients to create the final product.

The science of molecular gastronomy has given us knowledge about why foods do what they do, under what circumstances, and how. And it has fascinated us by busting myths such as these:

Oil added to boiling water prevents pasta from sticking to the pan (it doesn't)

The consistency of an egg that makes it hard

The expression "nouvelle cuisine" has been used several times in the course of the history of cooking, particularly in France in the middle of the eighteenth century. It was introduced to subordinate the practice of cooking to principles of chemistry that were to be established by Lavoisier later on. People had mixed feelings about it: for instance, Voltaire wrote "I must say that my stomach does not at all agree with the 'nouvelle cuisine.'"

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Today nouvelle cuisine refers to a trend of opinion that appeared in France in the 1960s. At the time, it caught on rapidly and was a great international success. Yet, as it got tangled up in its contradiction, it stopped being fashionable, and nowadays it has a negative connotation. In spite of that, it was an innovative and quite important movement, which brought about a revolution within the "grande cuisine" whose lessons are still present in the grand chefs' minds.


Michael Symons' (1999) recent analysis of Australian neo-global cuisine is an example of gastronomy studies at work in tourism contexts. The critical examination of this review of 'a current gastronomic debate of particular relevance to the tourism industry' (Symons 1999:333) will ease the understanding of 'gastronomic terms' of tourism issue. These terms are of a fundamental importance in any further development of research on gastronomic tourism.

Culture in general means the 'attitudes and behaviour that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization'. It's an environment to cultivate or build oneself ethically, socially and in all other aspects that lead an all over human development. Every culture is a combination of some good and bad features. All in one, culture means 'a way of life'. Every geographical body has its own custom viz. culture. People of different nations are recognized by their culture. One should be proud on its impressive traditions. It is the responsibility of all citizens to preserve their own ethnicity.

Indian culture is richly known in other parts of the world since the ancient age. Its multi-diverse flavour has been consistently unique in its very own way. Manners, traditions, living and trading patterns etc. are one of the graceful components of Indian culture. The most important feature of Indian culture is its values. These values are deeply rooted within the heart, mind, body and soul of its dwellers.

Western culture, considered as the most advanced culture on globe, has started surmounting its flavour on Indian roots. Western culture has always shown its influence on Indian society. This could be for the multiple reasons like fascination, dreamy autonomy etc., which are somehow absent in Indian culture. Western culture conveys and promotes the ideas and values of advanced civilization across people of India.

There are ample of good things found in the western culture, which every Indian should proudly learn and adopt. But what about the negative influences of the western culture? Every package comes with pros and cons. Indians should definitely use the culture strain before getting diluted under the flow of any cultural influence. The leading reasons for such impact are pursuit of wealth and power of Western media.

Source Used

Symons, M. (1998) The Pudding that took a Thousand Cooks: The story of cooking in civilisation and daily life, Melbourne: Viking


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