The United States is a place of many different people, from that variety, you get a variety of cultures. But in a country where there are some many cultures, what is American culture? Maybe American culture is defined by family, what their traditions and customs are. Or maybe it’s what is widely practiced throughout your community or state. It could even be whatever you want to do. In a country where we can choose our futures, the definition of American culture is different depending on who you ask. But no matter who you ask in the United States, whether they were born here, immigrated here, or are just here for a bit of time, everyone will say something about food. Food is something that can bring us all together. We all have different memories of food growing up, maybe in those good memories we can come together more and create something that everyone feels like they’re a part of, no matter what the their background is or where they originally came from. We have changed our Earth to provide for the foods we enjoy. In The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, Pollan writes about how we changed the potato and other fruits and vegetables over time. Using science to change nature to our food needs as people speaks volumes to how we as people value food. Food is so important to people that they had to change it. Maybe food and its importance is the answer to how America can be more unified.
Food is the backbone of American culture. I realized this after reading The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World. All people living in the United States are connected by food and we all have so similar yet dramatically different experiences. As the article, What is America’s Food Culture by Nina Dewees writes “ As Pollan mentions, America is a melting pot of many different cultures, each one bringing their own culinary traditions In America, you can find any kind of food from also any country. Over the years American food has been greatly influenced by the traditional food of other people. We now have sushi from Japan, Tex-Mex, which is inspired by Mexican and Spanish food and food from Texas. According the article Is There Such a Thing as ‘American”Food states “that the all-American apple pie isn’t actually native to the United States. It came, along with the apples themselves, from England.” Other than pumpkin pie, apple pie has always been one of the most American foods to me. The facts that it is originally from another culture and wasn’t always here is a huge surprise to me. Apple pie is probably one of the most American things I can think of. How we have a bunch of different foods from a bunch of different places that all Americans enjoy is reflective of our culture. We have such variety of cultures but when it comes to food, we all can come together. Food is such a unifier, quoting Lidia Bastianich, “Food feeds our souls. It is the single great unifier across all cultures. The table offers a sanctuary and a place to come together for unity and understanding.”
I couldn’t agree with her more. The separation of cultures and people is a huge issue in the United States. But food can be a way for us to see a common ground and recognize each other. We can learn to celebrate our differences as Americans, rather than ostracize one other for them through food.
Tobias, Ruth. “What Is American Food?” Tasting Table, Tasting Table, 3 July 2018, www.tastingtable.com/culture/national/defining-american-food-cuisine
Dewees, Nina. “What Is America’s Food Culture?” Middlebury, 15 July 2015
Pollan, Michael. “The Botany of Desire:A Plant’s Eye View of the World” Penguin Random House LCC, 2001
Photo by Michael Stern