Food habits are typically based on what is obtainable, satisfactory, and preferred. This dietary domain depends on the availability and edibility or inedibility of foodstuff. In this light, food preferences and habits are frequently associated with immediate considerations, including “taste, variation, well-being, self-expression, convenience, and cost” (Kittler and Sucher 12). This research analyses the external influence on food habits of different populations.
An individual can just choose a diet strictly from available foodstuff. Local ecological factors, such as water, weather, and soil; geographical features; the indigenous vegetation and animal population; and human exploitation of such resources through domestication of livestock and cultivation of plants, determine food providence at a critical level (Kittler and Sucher 12). Different geographical and ecological conditions determine the type of food in different parts of the world. For instance, societies in Europe cannot grow rice as a staple food like a society in hot wet regions of south and eastern Asia. In addition, seasonal variations in weather determine the type of food available at a point in time.
Various governments focus their efforts towards sustaining a reliable and affordable source of nourishment. This has sparked innovation in the domain of food production and preservation. Nevertheless, availability concern is not typically at the front of individual habit, except in areas where severe food shortages are the order of the day (Kittler and Sucher 12). In this regard, foodstuff from different areas may find their way into a person’s diet for instance in humanitarian crises.
Chinese influence on Japanese food habits
Although Chinese and Japanese are distant relatives, their food habits are divergent. Chinese foods are rich, greasy, and sweet while their Japanese counterparts are light and plain (Tsu 63). Japanese often suffers setbacks when they eat Chinese food. The view that Chinese food is intense and richly flavored and represent cultural principles, as opposed to those embedding Japanese food, has endured through the Meiji, Taisho and Showa era until today (64). Certain cultural principles entrench Chinese food habit.
Cultural principles can be an impetus for its influence on food habits of other cultures. A nomadic food is inferior to the established agricultural peoples such as the Chinese (Tsu 75). Indeed, settled agricultural people have sophisticated cuisine. Farming, a boring occupation, forces farmer to develop culinary proficiency to make their existence more attractive. The Cantonese (affluent dialect of Guangdong region of china) food is superior because many Cantonese work in foreign countries and return to china wealthy, and become choosy in food preference. This Chinese dialect has perfected their skill in cooking such that it has found a positive influence in Japanese food industry. Many restaurants in Japan serve Chinese cuisine, and they have prospered because Japanese have expressed a preference for Chinese food.
Established food habit must always diffuse into neighboring culture. An expedition into Chinese food and culture usually directs back to Japan (Tsu 75). Pickle cherry blossoms and maple-leaf tempura signify a unique Japanese manner of enjoying seasonal splendor that surpasses the contrast of the edible and inedible. The author observes that it is a fundamental principle of Chinese culture to eat that seems inedible (75). This principle distinguishes Chinese food habits from Japanese. The desire for the seemingly inedible is an attribute of the harsh history of the Chinese. The Chinese history is filled with recurrent struggles in which pointblank choice of eating other humans or being eaten, confronted individuals (75). Conversely, the Japanese never experienced these hardships, so that they leave “inedible” foods. This aspect reveals a historical basis of food habits.
Impact of Television viewing on food habits and culture
People develop a pattern of food habits through experiences and learning in their initial stages of life, which forges the subsequent food intake habits. Moreover, it becomes extremely hard for one to change the kind of food predilections and choices s/he builds early in life. Importantly, food habits depend largely on food preferences (Hare-Bruun et al. 311). TV viewing is a prominent rationale for certain food preference and habit.
If one stopped to think about what factors influence food habit, s/he is likely to have harbored some notion about television viewing. Indeed, Hare-Bruun et al. recently studied this concept in boys and girls whereby, they analyzed whether TV viewing was associated with unhealthy habits (315). Obviously, the impact of TV viewing relates to gender. The existing beauty stereotypes tend to make girls cautious about their diet. Boy, on the other hand, eat to achieve large size.
TV watching can have negative influences on peoples feeding habits. In fact, time spent on watching TV is proportional to the quality of food habit. The more time spent watching TV the poorer the food habits (Hare-Bruun et al.315). Hare-Bruun et al. observed preference for fruits and vegetable in girls than in boys, who preferred sugary foods, meat and fatty foods. Boys’ food habits were more prone to TV viewing than girls (315).
TV watching creates poor food habits because it takes the time that ought to have been spent cooking. This situation has made people go for fast foods including French fries, chocolates/sweets, burgers, crisp, pizza, carbonate drinks, at the expense of vegetables, fruits and salads. Fast foods have low nutrition values thereby increasing the risks for developing lifestyle diseases. Individual should plan to watch TV responsibly to avoid falling victims of health events associated with poor habits.
Food habit and culture is a product of interplay and overlap of different factors. Although food habits are entrenched at a younger age, current trend in ecology and economy can cause a change in people’s food habit. In addition, food habits are transferable across cultures.
Hare-Bruun, Hellen, Nielsen, Birgit, Kristensen, Peter, Moller, Niels, Togo, Per, & Heitmann, Berit. “Television viewing, food preferences, and food.” BMC Public Health 11. 4 (2011): 311-320.
Kittler, Pamela, and Kathryn Sucher. Food and Culture. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc., 2007.
Tsu, Timothy. “Fat, Spices, Culture and More: Chinese Food in Postwar Japanese gastronomic Writings.” Asian Studies Review 34. 1 (2010): 63-81.