Searching for meaning in our food. An intro to this blog
Throughout all of human history, food was heavily laden with meanings that figured prominently in our symbolic, ecological, social, moral and economic worlds. Indeed, it was the cultural transformation around food and eating that allowed us to develop as the humans we are today. People were materially and symbolically linked to both each other and to the land through their cultivation, harvesting and preparation of food. However, with the ascendancy of the industrial food system people were freed from the burdens of agricultural labor, food preparation and cooking. And with this “freedom”, the links that formerly bound and boundaried the relationships amongst people and between people and the land became invisible.
We now have no idea where our food comes from, who made it, or even what it is made of. We are in a state of what the French sociologist Claude Fischler calls gastro-anomie, where we no longer eat collectively, are disconnected from the sources of our food, and are completely disoriented with regards to what to eat. This disorientation is evidenced by all the fad diets that come and go, the frenzy with which people seize on the latest food crazy hyped by the media, and the most obvious of all, the staggering prevalence of diet-related illnesses.
This blog is about finding meaning in food. Only by clarifying the connections between our food choices and other aspects of our worlds, can we re-orient ourselves properly with regards to our food choices. This blog asks us to ask ourselves - who are we in relation to what we eat? How is food anchored in the most important aspects of our lives – and why that is important? Through critical examinations of our modern food world, this blog explores the different meanings of food and how they influence people’s food choice. It explores issues related to food, meaning, psychology and ethics, and how they relate to wellbeing. This is not a self-help blog, but a thought provoking, eye-opening exploration of what it means to eat, and to be human.