Tired of Internet drama and fakeness? This community can help with that. Articles and comments may contain sensitive content. medium.com/non-monetized-together

Could Mass-Market Food Be Cultural Cuisine?


I believe that when people are exposed to a concept or perspective they have never heard of before, their minds respond by forming new thoughts they never had before. It doesn’t matter whether or not they agree with the concept or perspective. Either way, it can get people’s mental wheels a-spinning, it can start a meaningful conversation, and it can take a portion of society into some bold new intellectual territory.

That’s what I will try to do with this article. In order to encourage a conversation, I will describe an idea that few have considered. Only when people mull the idea over and share their thoughts in the comments section will this article have any purpose. I don’t care about making you agree with me, I just want you to think for yourself about what I have to say.

Okay, here it is. Could the dominant type of food made by corporations be considered cultural cuisine? I’m referring to chain restaurants mostly. You could also include supermarket food, but I think you can make a stronger argument for chain restaurants. I’m not referring to food that is made for profit by people who maintain respect for food as a cultural form. I’m talking about food that was made solely as a means for profit. I personally prefer to think of it as cultural cuisine because it’s what I grew up with and what I’m used to, so I culturally identify with it.

The main reason why I think mainstream capitalist food could be cultural cuisine is that we can easily distinguish it from that of other cultures. It is often really flavourful but in a different way than other cultures. What I mean by this is that most examples of corporate food will only have one or two flavours at once, but they will be really intense flavours. This is different than regional cultural food, which will usually have a rich blend of simultaneous subtle flavours. However, capitalist food empires will sometimes let you customize your order so you can add a greater variety of flavours to your meal if you want.

Additionally, the food I grew up with is unique in its production process. It is made quickly, cheaply, and often frozen. Major capitalist food has its own distinct methods of packaging, which can include plastic wrap, Styrofoam containers, and cans, but considering how wasteful this is, we can be glad that not all mass-market food uses this packaging.

A potential opposing argument could be that this type of food was not formed from cultural conditions, but out of the economic condition of capitalism. The only reason corporate food has all these unique components is so it can create a maximum profit in the contemporary world. On the other hand, what makes non-corporate styles of food special is that they will usually be created out of passion, artistry, or to bring people together.

When a style of food is more attached to economic conditions than cultural conditions, it runs the risk of going extinct when the economic conditions change. If more people start viewing dominant corporate food as representative of a culture, maybe they would be more interested in preserving knowledge of these dishes when the current economic system gets replaced. If these people succeed, then this type of food will survive, but not at the hands of corporations that contribute to the obesity epidemic, the pollution crisis, and the limited availability of alternatives. This type of food will not be mass-produced, mass-promoted, or mass-marketed. Instead, my culture’s food would be made and eaten by individuals and small groups who are passionate about its ingredients, flavours, and ability to satisfy.

#Food #Culture #Economy #Capialism #OutsideTheBoxThinking

This article was originally published on Medium on April 20, 2023 (https://medium.com/illumination/could-mass-market-food-be-cultural-cuisine-80b488b69611?source=friends_link&sk=b36bd130bd2f1f3ae4389bf5ba4ccde8).