Understanding Culture through Food

While I grew up in the USA, the foods I ate at home were often a reflection of the culture into which I was born. Food is a fundamental part of any culture and can bring people together and create a sense of community. Just look up #jollofgate and you will see how people can get quite up in arms when it comes to their food. Food tells the story of a people’s history, traditions, and values, and offers a glimpse into their way of life. When you learn about a culture’s food, you gain a deeper understanding of that culture and the people who make it up.

I’ll look for any excuse to discover food. I am not the most experimental eater – I leave that to my chef husband, but I have tasted some things I never thought I would be capable of tasting. You don’t always have to travel to experience cuisines from around the globe but traveling and experiencing different foods in the countries that created them is a wonderful way to broaden your horizons and immerse yourself in new cultures. And somehow, it just tastes better. Whether it’s trying street food in Thailand, tasting a locally made pasta dish in Italy, or savoring a traditional mole in Mexico, each experience can leave a lasting impression and help you better appreciate the unique flavors and ingredients of each country. Some dishes will have a story behind them be it fact or myth, they give you insight into the values of the people preparing them. A good example would be the mole I mentioned earlier. There is a mole for just about anything and you could even invent your own mole as long as you respect some key rules: something sweet, something spicy, & nuts. You have a mole that is bitter (mole negro), that you would more likely bring to someone in grief so that what you experience in tasting it resembles the intensity of emotions the person is feeling. You would serve a sweeter mole in a time of celebration.

While it may seem that not every dish has a story – or perhaps over time we have forgotten the deep meaning behind the choices made by the cook, food has the ability to bring people together and create memories that last a lifetime. Sharing a meal with friends and family is a universal experience that transcends borders, languages, and cultures.

With the tours we offer at Let’s Eat The World, we invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to travel and enjoy culinary experiences that will transform what you know about the wonderful cultures and countries we visit as well as how you approach your own cooking. Not only will you get to taste new foods, but you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the culture and people behind them. And who knows, you may discover a new favorite dish!

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to travel afar and partake in a cooking class, a tasting, or a new dining experience, you already know that learning about the food of a culture is enriching. Not only do you get to enjoy a richly delicious experience but you also walk away with a valuable way to deepen your understanding of that culture and its people. By traveling and experiencing different cuisines, you have the opportunity to broaden your horizons and make memories that will last a lifetime. So go ahead, embrace new culinary experiences, and let the food take you on a journey of discovery and cultural appreciation.

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