Mintz 2, 3, and National Cuisine

Mintz chapter 7, titled Cuisine: High, Low, and Not At All, starts off by stating that people in the same society talk about food differently. Some people are aware of the food they eat. They are actively thinking about how they feel about the food while other people do not consciously consider the food that they eat. He discusses real cuisine depends on the region one is in since local ingredients are all different. He also argues that there is no such thing as national cuisine since it depends on the place (which is geographically defined with borders). Lastly, he differentiates between the types of cuisine. There is Grande and haute which form out of political and social change. His main emphasis is on haute cuisine. He states that the defining features of this are the ingredients, consumers and cooks, and the basic shifts in peoples attitude towards the food. Haute cuisine is catered towards “privileged” society due to the adding of expensive substitutions and international status.

Mintz chapter 8, titled Eating America, introduces the idea that America has no cuisine. He also is posed the question, if we have no cuisine, do we have no culture? He starts to wonder why having a cuisine is important and goes on to explain why America has no specific cuisine. He explains that the different regions of the United States have given rise to different types of diets. This is due to the wide variations in the natural environments and the differing food habits of various migrant groups. Mintz also makes it a point to emphasize that just because the country has variety, does not mean it has a cuisine. He discusses that due to the pressures that society puts on sameness, particularly when it comes to children, the increases the homogeneity of the American food habits. He moves on to further his argument about the lack of cuisine in America. H e states that our “cuisine” is made up of frequently eating out, prepared and packaged foods, diets high in animal protein, salts, fats, processed sugars, and low fresh fruits and vegetables. This is nothing that would make a cuisine. Lastly, he touches on the element of time in the American culture and how there is such an emphasis on making things quick, easy, and convenient.

The newspaper article titled National Cuisine, starts off by explaining that cuisine is a product of double orality which consists of taste and talk. They emphasize how cuisine is different in every region and is significant to that part. H argues that local and authentic foodways come from globalization and are crafter by tourists looking for diversity and difference. He furthers this argument by stating that national cuisine is a product of the interstate system with a hierarchy of values put in place by bureaucrats and tourism bureaus. He uses this article to further Mintz argument that Americans have no cuisine. He does this by arguing that America is too large a space, we have immigrants who all eat different things, America is a collation of dishes and American cuisine is something that is rarely talked about.

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