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incendiary_dan's avatar

What do your family's food traditions say about your peoples' history?

Asked by incendiary_dan (13325 points ) December 18th, 2010

When I was hanging out with some friends at a party once and we got to talking about food and how it reflects histories of migrations and colonizations and such. For instance, the party was catered with Senegalese food, and there were spring rolls as one of the appetizers. Senegalese soldiers had been recruited by the French to colonize Vietnam and brought back some food traditions, so that reflect the mutual colonization by the French. One of the few Filipino dishes I had passed down is adobo, which is also a word used in Mexican cooking, reflecting the shared colonization by the Spanish. Likewise, foods we think of as authentically ethnic in this country (U.S.) are sometimes the result of migration, like corned beef and cabbage popular among Irish-Americans.

What story does your family’s recipes tell?

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9 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It says we’re pioneer people of the west (USA). In our family then everyone reminisces about food cooked on/in wood burning stoves, fresh meat from animals not bought at a store, home brewed alcohol, trading foods with neighbors.

marinelife's avatar

My family food traditions are Southern because both of my parents were born and raised in Georgia.

For example, we often ate black-eyed peas, which were brought from North Africa by slaves when they came to this country.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It says that my family came from Ukraine. We eat a lot of traditional Ukrainian foods, it’s just a big part of our diet. A lot of cabbage. I’ve never eaten a Mrs. T’s “pierogy,” I didn’t grow up eating things like McDonald’s or casseroles.

muppetish's avatar

Possibly that we are as American as apple pie (served warm with a dollop of whipped topping or scoop of vanilla ice cream.) We barbecue often at family gatherings (burgers, franks, chicken, and occasionally ribs) and have chips and dip, potato salad, bread, and other sides I cannot remember. You really can’t trace our ancestry by checking our traditional food staples. Otherwise, we eat a lot of Italian food…. but none of us are Italian.

It’s an interesting question, though.

tinyfaery's avatar

Parts of America used to be Mexico and some people have no problem admitting it.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Mostly, it’s less about the actual dishes and more about my family culture, which is very food-oriented, but really only on my mom’s side. Dad’s side is kind of WASP-y and lacking in ethnic traditions (besides American). Anyway, as I said on another thread, my mom’s side has a heavy Portugese influence and is extremely food-oriented. Cooking is in the blood and just about everyone cooks, male or female. You can also tell by looking at most of us that we enjoy our eating. ;)

Despite this Portugese influence, I was never much exposed to any traditional dishes and the ones I encountered were totally not my speed and I never tried them. I spent most of my time growing up with my mom in San Francisco, and as such, was exposed to a huge variety of different foods from different ethnicities. I remember eating and loving Japanese and Chinese food when I was 4 or 5. But that says more that SF is a melting pot with amazing food, than it does about my people’s history.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

We come from a long line of sea faring people and are crazy about Capt.Crunch.Go figure ;)

incendiary_dan's avatar

@muppetish Even that reveals that part of your family’s history included assimilation. Every little bit of info leads to a story.

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