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This week poses the question, how do we find out about the past? And to answer this question, we can literally look at any point in recent human history and learn about what they ate through food images, food stories, and traditions surrounding food. Furthermore, according to Miller and Deutsch, what makes the history of food so interesting is that it can offer useful insight into cultural patterns and practices so that we might better understand what went on during that generation (Miller and Deutsch, Pg. 78). We can examine primary and secondary sources with the purpose to learn about a person, event, or phenomenon related to a food studies topic (Pg. 87).

Adding another take on it, Goody in “Recipe, Prescription, Experimentation” suggests that when looking at the past, we can study food in three different aspects: the shopping list, the recipe, and the menu (Goody, Pg. 83). While these aspects remain valid points to investigate, I believe Goody leaves out a crucial point and that is whom the meal is being prepared for.

This is a dramatic part in studying food because through out human history a hierarchy exists and it impacts many aspects of human life, such as what one eats. What is prepared, how it is prepared, and what exists as options to eat can be greatly dependent on ones status. Who the food is prepared for can tell us more about what was available for the wealthy and on the contrary, for the poor.

When studying the Middle Ages, for example, this would be very important. Who is being served can tell us about the economy of the time, what was expensive and perhaps considered a luxury and what could have possibly been a staple food. Understanding the diets of certain people could thus aid in researching past sicknesses and health.

By incorporating who ate what to what was being served and how, we can learn much more about certain time periods. My question to my peers is, what other factors could knowing who was consuming certain types of food tell us about history? Is there something else missing to this part of Goody’s argument that should be considered?

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