A Journey Through Food - Introduction
By Münevver Gürel
Greetings to all.
As some of you may already know me, I am a chef, a real food addict and a food researcher.
From now on I will be sharing my experiences and thoughts about food, eating and cooking here with you. But before I do that, I would like to thank for the opportunity that I am given by my wonderful friends and let’s start our journey together.
Food means a million different things for each of us. Food is fuel, it’s life. It’s what you need for your body. It’s your best friend and your confidant that keeps your soul in line. It’s your past, your memories that you have created with your loved ones. It’s your future, it’s what you have for sharing with the people you will love and teach. It’s what makes you who you are. As stated by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826: "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es." (Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are). Food is your health and your thoughts at the same time.
For food researchers and gastronomers, food is given very little of it’s meaning until very recently. There were anthropologists and sociologists looking for what food means for the people of a particular society but food studies were very rare for a long time. The main reason behind this was that food was always there. It was kind of taken for granted. It was there to nourish us from the moment we were born. It was there when great philosophers were arguing over social, political and economic issues. Just sitting on the table, in a fancy plate, waiting for the day it would be understood that food was actually the social, political and economical issue of the world. Even today, in our global world, there are people who cannot have food even for there survival and also there are people fighting with obesity. That’s the main social, political and economical side of it, this disequilibrium which is created through food.
Also the communicative aspects of food and eating (identity, cultural symbolism, social meaning etc.) are becoming more and more important for the researchers. As understanding certain food practices might help food researchers to answer many ethnographic questions about societies, what is eaten and the way of it’s consumption becomes symbolically significant. Especially in a bicommunal society like Cyprus, where food is all people can think and talk about as a shared value, it becomes the main objective of expressivity for identity, group membership and group movement actions. Many of these groups are available online in today’s social media and I would like to mention a couple of them here in near future.
In a nutshell, I would like to end my words by saying ‘food matters’. For me these two simple words explain it all because food really matters for all meanings of it.
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