Food and culture are inextricably linked, mapping who we are, where we come from, and what we’ve experienced along the way. We develop this identity while visiting our local city markets, cultivating land on the family farm, preparing meals in the kitchen at home, and traveling throughout the world.
Traditions involving food and their meanings vary between cultures and regions, and represent survival, hospitality, comfort, and religion. The foods that we select–and what is accessible and available–and how we prepare, serve, and eat it, are influenced by the past and touched by culture. Whether it’s cooking potato latkes during Hanukkah, planting buckwheat alongside rice in Japan, or preparing a traditional German Sunday dinner of roast pork and mashed potatoes, culture and food are inherently connected.
Food is the backbone of many traditions, bringing family and friends together to celebrate customs that have been in place for years. However, these cultures may be in jeopardy. Rising food prices and a lack of accessible food choices not only impacts people’s ability to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals–it puts our food cultures and identities at risk.