chapter  2
22 Pages

You Are What You Eat: Culture, Norms, and Values

At first glance, the topic of food might not seem very sociological. After all, food is a biological necessity. At a very basic level, we eat to survive. Even so, what we eat and how we eat it varies tremendously around the world, revealing vast differences in the food that is available, the rituals that surround eating, and the meanings attached to the foods we consume. In some parts of the world, eating bugs is a common practice, while in others it’s a reason to demand your money back at a restaurant! Indeed, what is deemed inedible in one cultural context may be revered as a delicacy in another. Consider the following tasty treats from around the world:

Escargot: A delicacy for thousands of years in the Mediterranean, escargot, or snails, are now primarily associated with French cuisine and commonly enjoyed in their shells with butter and garlic. An estimated 40,000 tons of escargot are eaten in France each year; at about 50,000 snails per ton, that’s 2 billion snails.