Food and the American Creed

How food represents the American Creed and its values and how food is symbolic of something greater than just a basic human need. Food can represent a culture's values and history.

By Simon S. from Royal Oak High School in Michigan

Food can be symbolic of culture, as it represents history and tradition from different places around the world. The American Creed is represented through food as the food in America is diverse and always changing, just like the people of America. Having lived in another country, I have experienced a lot of different cultures and traditions. One thing I have learned is that food is a very important part of someone’s culture. It represents anything from triumphs of someone’s ancestors to the values they want to uphold on their daily lives. Throughout my travels, I have found many different cultures are proud and excited to share their cultures own unique food. Presenting their food is a representation of their culture and gives people an impression of what this new culture is like and what the local taste is. A Freely Magazine article states that “Immigrants bring the food of their countries with them wherever they go and cooking traditional food is a way of preserving their culture when they move to new places.” This means that as people move they continue to cook the same food to maintain a connection to their past. This is why America has so many different types of food available, because America accepts all cultures and allows them the freedom to share their culture however they choose.

According the the Lifehack article, “Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates,” which means that cultural cuisines have been developed from the very beginnings of the culture. The article gives the example of Morocco, which has a specific type of meat preservation due to their hot climate and desert terrain. These types of factors influence the cultural food choices of the local population, making food unique to each culture. Yet at the same time, food is something that every culture has in common. Food can bring people together, just like how the American Creed has brought people together from all around the world so share and enjoy new experiences with each other.s

A BBC article states that “After Henry VIII came to power and separated the Church of England from the Catholic Church, fasting became more about promoting trade with "fish days." But she says that in England, "even after the Reformation we kept hold of these traditions".” This which means that even after significant events, traditions still stay strong within a culture, even through food. This shows that food can be symbolic of culture and that the representation of different foods in America upholds the American Creeds values of diversity, open-mindedness and equal opportunity.

According to the article from Freely Magazine, “when immigrants sell food in another country, they do not only sell it to people from the same countries as them, but to people from different countries. Therefore, they have to alter the original dishes to cater to a wider range of customers with distinct tastes and flavor preferences,” which means that traditional food is slightly altered when introduced into a new demographic so that it will still be appetizing. Despite the changes, it will still remain culturally significant, as it will always be known as part of that culture.

Food often reflects the values of the culture that it is created by, for example, “Tex-mex” food, is a blend of American and Mexican food, influenced by both cultures. When traditional food is introduced to a new demographic, it is slightly altered to better suit the tastes of the local culture. A good example of this is Chinese food. Traditional Chinese food consists of many dishes that would not be successful in America, such as turtle, chicken feet, pig feet and duck tongue. Now, Chinese food in America is egg rolls and dumplings, which are both still Chinese food, but have been adjusted to the American preference. America has a diverse selection of food available, just as the American culture and population is very diverse. Diversity is an important part of the cultural identity of America, and a pillar of the American Creed.

In conclusion, the American Creed represents a diverse and ever changing population, as shown by the wide selection of different foods available in America from all around the world. This selection of food is a representation of different cultures that have come to America for more opportunities, and have been successful in preserving their culture and sharing it with the rest of the country. 

Royal Oak High School

AP Lang 2019

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