The unbelievable variety of greens and fruits in a local Asian store
I went grocery shopping recently in an Asian market in the Twin Cities which had an extraordinary large selection of fresh fruits, greens, and mushrooms, most of which I couldn’t name. I frown at the pig feet and the camel roast, as you may frown at the rabbit I was looking for, a delicacy in France.
I was unpacking the fragrant and fresh greens in my kitchen, and I reflected on the connection between food and culture, and the extent to which a community’s unique cuisine reflects its history, lifestyle, and values.
I wondered, what is the United States food culture?
The significant portions and soda free refills in restaurants? Sodas being cheaper than bottled water? Processed food less expensive than real food? Is this the United States food culture? or is this the work of the Food Industry, the driving force to the way we eat, weakening the USA food culture?
Wait a minute! The rich tradition of American cuisine is alive with the many farms to table restaurants in the Twin Cities, serving seasonal foods from local sustainable farms, the favorite farmers' markets, and the grocery stores filled with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. But also many people show interest in cooking, canning, and using CSA. In the country, Minnesota farmers contribute to sustainable, local, and quality production systems.
The cuisine of the United States reflects its history. The European colonization of the Americas yielded the introduction of European ingredients and cooking styles to the U.S. Later in the 20th century, the influx of immigrants from many foreign nations developed a rich diversity in food preparation throughout the country.
Food is a portal into a culture, and it should be treated as such. Traditional cuisine is passed down from one generation to the next. It operates as an expression of cultural identity. The Minnesota food culture is today vibrant and a joy to explore.