Food has historically been used to reveal ethnic, cultural identities, especially in diverse cultural societies like the United States. Dieting is an entirely personal activity. Eating communicates people’s beliefs, experiences, and cultural and ethnic attachment. One reason people exclude certain types of food from their diet is due to their ethnic beliefs and some instances religious beliefs. Food can also be considered as a language that portrays specific cultural and social systems. Food is used to enhance relations, uniqueness, and cultural solidarity (Counihan & Esterik, 2012).
Types of food consumed vary across different cultures and ethnic groups. Growing up in a particular place can shape people’s inclinations towards foods. A person growing up in Japan, for instance, is more likely to get inclined to eat sushi. Different foods are associated with different ethnic groups, like burgers for Americans, Pasta and Pizza for Italians, tortillas for Mexicans and so forth. When ethnic groups like Italians and Mexicans exports themselves, they also export their cooking styles and food to their host nations as a way of creating a home away from home. They do so to maintain their strong cultural connection with their native countries and cultures. They also open up food joints and restaurants to express their cultural identity through diets and ingredients (Counihan & Esterik, 2012).
Growing up in Korea influenced me to eat more rice than bread. But, since I moved to America, I now eat more bread than rice. This boils down to the attachment Americans and Koreans have to bread and rice respectively. Eating rice is part of the ethnic identity for Asians and any growing up in an Asian nation like Korea is more inclined to eat rice, a similar concept applies to a person living in America.
Food defines people and their cultural backgrounds. It conveys the authenticity of a particular culture and even enhances national and ethnic identity. Different ethnic foods like pizza have been exported to other nations in the world thanks to globalization and migration of people.