How does Japanese food reflect their culture?
Eating may be viewed simply as a biological function based upon physical and physiological needs, but when it comes to eating habits and the content of meals, a variety of factors must be considered. Japanese cuisine changed according to seasonality, politics, history and customs, which displayed distinctive characteristics from one culture to another. Japanese people often pride themselves on the seasonality of their traditional food. Most traditional Japanese meals include seasonal aspects. The solid ingredients in soups and the selection of materials for salads both announce the season in every day meal. Serving particular meals on special days are customary of Japanese culture. On January 7th it is traditional to eat a rice porridge made with seven springtime herbs called nanakusa-gayu. In August, on the day of ox, people eat grilled eel to strengthen themselves to withstand the remaining days of summer. On the first day of winter many homes serve tooji kabocha, pumpkin cooked with sweet azuki beans. In a traditional Japanese meal, it is the visual appearance of the food and servings that is considered of supreme importance: "Japanese haute cuisine since the eighteenth century has sought to present the philosophy of the garden on the dining table" (Ishig 188). Dishes might also have painted decorations appropriate to seasons, such as cherry blossom for spring or colored leaves for fall. Bento boxes are common objects in Japanese culture, designed to hold enough lunch for one person. They are made of materials ranging from wood, cloth, aluminum, or plastic. In Japan, obento sets come in a wide array of colors, shapes, and designs. For traditional housewives, it was labor of love to make lunch boxes for outing. Seasonality is also marked in Japan by serving sweets associated with particular season or holidays. The Doll Festival is minor holidays on March 3rd. Families with girls display elaborate sets of...
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