Tell Me What You Eat, and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

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Shady Bahsoun
Amst 276
December 8,2009
Research Paper #2

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are”

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are” once said French lawyer and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. With the growth of food import/export around the world and the opportunities of expansion in foreign coutries: Could Brillat-Savarin’s statement still be possible today or has it completely lost ground? Food is one of the fields in which globalization has faced and is facing very strong and persistent resistance across the globe. How do firms work past this?

With climate, flora and tastes changing from one region to another, our blue planet houses a plethora of different grains, which are first cultivated, to be later eaten by humans and animals. This being said, we can take the example of the Far East, China, and Japan. In that part of the world, rice is the central ingredient in almost everything agricultural. This old and historical tradition has not faded over time. Figures by the UNCTAD, Secretariat from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations show that consumption of rice in China has gone from 50 million metric ton in 1961 to 160 millions metric ton in 2002. Same increasing trend applies to the other countries of the Far East, India and South East Asia (“UNCTAD Infocomm Market information in the commodities area”). The new agro-industrial advancements have made this leap possible. William Marling emphasizes on the fact that babies raised in different cultures develop a sensibility to what they are given to eat. After the common “milk-stage” cultures distinguish from one another and serve their children with the central cultural nutriment: Japanese children “are encouraged to focus on the texture and mouth feel of rice […]” in the United States “infants off the bottle [are fed] applesauce, strained plums or apricots” (Marling, 2006, p.89-90). Thus children who later grow up are...
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