The United States is the cultural melting pot in where individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds have lived for a long term in harmony. Many individuals from their diverse and different background have migrated into the United States in pursuit of greener pastures and better job opportunities. These individuals have brought with them their different cultures and hence creating a rich cultural heritage within the states. These groups include the Mexicans, the Spanish and other ethnic groups from all over the world. Among the many aspects of the cultures of the immigrants is food which acts as a unique trait that defines a specified ethnic group. The traditional American foods included crab cakes, pizza, barbecue and slow cooked pork. To add on, junk food is also in demand in the United States, and they include cookies, chips despite their health concerns on the American people.
The essay aims at analyzing the diverse dietary habits of the American population that led to changes of various foods and how the Americans adapted to the new forms of nutrition including chopsticks and other sophisticated nutritional habits. The paper will also feature the effects of the different cultural groups entering the States corporate production of fast food concepts, standardization, speed and other impersonal services. What do most people in the United States consume? Potatoes, meat or what? There has been a radical change in the States due to the rapid growth of population that has grown to include different cultural groups and ethnic diversities thus the diverse preferences on food and consequently eating habits(Altieri et al.,98). Among the fast-growing immigrants in the U.S are the Asian Indians with the African Americans being the numerically large minority group. However, the Latino population is measured and expected to be larger than the African American on the onset of the middle of the upcoming century.
Culture is the knowledge, belief, habits, and customs shared by a specified group of individuals. Therefore they are not inherited but are learned, passed from generation to another, and each ethnic group has their culture based on the food they eat. The traditions have been adapted and influences via contact with the culture mainstream. The United States is not an exception, and the ethnic group presence has influenced their traditional dietary cultures. The restaurants offering fast foods and various take-out restaurants offer a wide range of food selections including pizzas, egg rolls, tandoori and hamburgers (Civitello &Linda 46).Therefore the American diet can be defined as a combination of many cuisines and cultures. To comprehend it, therefore, one has to study not only the traditional food habits and foods of the minority groups but also majority and minority group interaction and the smaller group's cultures.
The African Americans consumed leafy greens like collard greens, rice, yellow vegetables, and potatoes. These are foods that are generally low in nutrients, potassium fiber, and calcium among others. This was due to the low average and low incomes of the indigenous Americans; they were unable to access foods rich in nutrients like fresh fruits, meat, and seafood. Therefore they were exposed to lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The major influence on the African American dietary habits and eating systems is the Hispanic immigration to the United States. It changed the beliefs and the forms of consumption among the indigenous Americans. They forced the African Americans to be acquitted and learn how to use their eating utensils including the chopsticks among others.
As defined y the Census Bureau of United States, the Hispanics are the people who indicate to have originated from Mexico, Rican, Puerto, the Central South American, and Cuban. South America includes Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Columbiana among other Hispanic areas. The Hispanic groups have big families generally and believe in effective dietary habits (Civitello &Linda 15).
Due to this belief, they hugely consume vegetables, dairy products, and fruits. The traditional dietary food patterns of the Hispanic countries of origin have led to differences in the regional groups both in the food preparation and the composition of food consumed. The heterogeneous Hispanic ancestral backgrounds ensured that they retain their core diet elements including the fresh fruits and the vegetables with the family life occupying a central place in their culture. These habits were exposed to the African Americans and slowly by slowly they began to crop into their culture. It eroded their culture replacing it with new eating habits and changing various core elements on their diet. The African Americans understood the essence of a balanced diet as copied from the Hispanic group. There were new forms of preparing their food, and they encouraged and practiced eating together as a family unlike in the past.
As the Hispanics interacted with the African Americans, they were also able to copy some of their customs and eating habits. For instance, the Hispanic groups were observed to eat less pasta, but more rice ate cereals readily unlike their Hispanic white. The USAID census observed that the Hispanic groups are less likely to take in vegetables with an exception of tomatoes. While comparing the indigenous Hispanic counterparts with the immigrants in the United States, they are twice more likely to consume whole milk but more likely to drink the milk of low gat like skim milk. The immigrants are also more likely to consume beef than their ancestors who had their preference were on fruits. The interaction of these eating habits among the Hispanics and the African Americans led rise to the emergence of fast food in the United States.
The fast foods led to a new form of eating in the States. They offered fast foods including eggs, legumes, sausages, barbeque and a wide range of out foods. The fast food in the 1950s cropped in another culture in America, known as the late-model culture which has aroused a heated debate all over the globe (Lichter and Daniel ,31).The Americans civilization and busy patterns merged with this eating culture perfectly well. The convenient and fast consumption patterns met the diverse needs of the Americans both the immigrants and the African Americans giving them infinite convenience and multiple options. Therefore as years turned into decades eating the fast foods became a lifestyle in the United States infiltrating every American life strongly bringing the American fast food culture.
Culture being the invisible civilization accumulation it presents itself through a tangible medium like food. The adage is familiar to us that you became what you eat, however, is it senseless? Precisely, it's an explanation of an individual personality, and what he eats and it possible may have a relation that is inseparable between the Americans and their values. All the values possessed by the Americans hugely contributed to the general prevalence of the fast foods in the country.
The fast foods are clear manifestations of the contemporary society and the infiltration of people's life space. The fast-food culture slowly developed into people's way of life and consequently, attitudes hence were spread to different areas of the country forming a distinct culture. The core reason for the development of the fast food is the fact they have a wide range of food that is the condiment. They cater for all age groups for instance burgers, pizza, and fried cheese staffs are served quickly for all age groups.
Therefore foods consumed in the United States before the emergence of the Hispanic groups slowly changed their form with new components being added to the diet and some not considered worthy were removed. The eating habits too had to change, and more sophisticated utensils were also invented. The utensils allowed efficient preparation of the new food stuff including fried cheese machines and ovens. For example, during the Paleolithic times, utensils used included wood chips and shells to eat. The Hispanic groups and precisely the Latin and the Greeks invented the word cochlea which meant a spiral shell with spon meaning a wood chip. This utensil was used introduced in the United States by the Hispanic people changing the entire eating habits. Various utensils were also introduced in the country through the research and included knives which were now not used as weapons but brought to the table. On the emergence of Chinese and Italian foods in the fast foods led to the emergence of their eating utensils. They included the chopsticks which were used indigenously in the East countries. Over the years many utensils were introduced with the emergence of new foods too (Lichter and Daniel ,67).
It is true to conclude that, the food cultures in America have been contributed by the intensive immigration of visitors who come with their cultural food beliefs and eating habits. It's also true to say that the Hispanic group is the largest group that impacted on the food cultures in the U.S. The fastest growing group of immigrants is the Hispanic groups and they have been estimated to have the strongest impact of the United States food culture in the next decade. (Orvell &Miles, 27). This is because they are the leading group of a young generation in the United States as per the NPD survey. This implies that in the next decade the young generation will have families and their strong food cultures that have been slightly changed by the African Americans will be passed down to generations, The generation of young Americans.
Despite the Hispanics and their young generations is expected to impact the American food culture over the next decade, there are no clear conclusions on whether the impacts will be positive or negative in considerations of health statuses. However, it is a crystal that foods from scratch are healthier than foods that have been processed in industries. For instance, the Latin foods are rich in calories and fat even when made from scratch. Also, as the Hispanics are expected to add their unique twist of food and this strong adherence to cultural ties will felt and seen more in Latin dish restaurants in the local stores and the United States frozen food areas.
Altieri, Miguel A., and Victor Manuel Toledo. "The agroecological revolution in Latin America: rescuing nature, ensuring food sovereignty and empowering peasants." Journal of Peasant Studies 38.3 (2011): 587-612.
Civitello, Linda. Cuisine and culture: A history of food and people. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Lichter, Daniel T. "Immigration and the new racial diversity in rural America." Rural Sociology 77.1 (2012): 3-35.
Orvell, Miles. The real thing: Imitation and authenticity in American culture, 1880-1940. UNC Press Books, 2014.
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