University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Aside from the physical appearance, one can distinguish a person’s nationality, or where he grew up, by his preference in clothing, food, etc. The culture of where a person grew up plays an important role in his preferences. Cultural conditioning plays a very significant role in the consumption of food. But what is cultural conditioning anyway? Cultural conditioning is the process of learning of “what-to-dos” in a culture. Let’s say, when we were infants, we learned how to eat, dress up, excrete wastes by ourselves etc.
That is called childhood conditioning. As adults or as we grow older, we learn to do things in a certain behavior. Let’s say in China or in most Asian countries, they learn to eat by using chopsticks while on the other side of the world, we eat using spoon and fork or fork and knife. Even American and European habits differ. Most people in America switch the fork and the knife when they are cutting and it switch the two back to begin eating again.
On the other hand, Europeans would not switch the fork and the knife when eating (Watson, 2007, p. 98). If the manner of eating is so distinct among cultures, so is the consumption of food. Studies say that Americans are such unhealthy eaters. There was even a documentary about Americans loving fast food so much no wonder the country has a very significant number of obese people. A Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder is surely part of an American’s diet. On the other hand, a Chinese guy will surely have noodles and dimsum part of his daily life.
Most Asian countries rely on rice as their carbohydrates. One complete meal should always include rice. Italians will pretty sure have pasta in their menu. Pastas are their great source for carbs. And as for the Americans? A yummy French fries will do (Watson, 2007, p. 98). Indeed, the cultural conditioning plays a huge effect on a person’s food preference. Although the availability of resources may also be a factor, the credit mostly goes to the culture where the person was brought up.
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