Tasting food, tasting freedom: excursions into eating, culture, and the past
Food is a central element of expression in all cultures. What and how we eat, and with whom, reveals much about our desires and relationships. In Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom, Sidney W. Mintz shows how our choices about food are shaped by a vast and increasingly complex global economy. Taking as examples everything from sugar's ascendance over honey as the most commonly used sweetener to the worldwide distribution of Coca-Cola, Mintz demonstrates how our consumption of a food can be shaped by a variety of external forces, including moral judgments and the demands of war. Mintz goes on to argue that even under the most severe constraints, our choices can hold enormous significance for us. The title essay explores the way enslaved Africans' creative adaptation of their cuisine to New World conditions offered a symbolic hope of freedom. Other essays probe contemporary American eating habits: Why does the average weight of Americans keep increasing, even as dieting and healthy eating become more popular? Is there such a thing as an American cuisine? Should it matter to us?