Cultural factors in food consumption: An example from India


In preparing for this talk, I have been thinking about what I, as an anthropologist, can contribute to a panel discussing the subject of "Nutrition for an Expanding World Population." My knowledge is rather restricted; I have a rather typical anthropologist's background, which might be called the "head-of-a-pin-view." By "head-of-a-pin-view-" I mean "seeing "small" but not necessarily "thinking small" ; that is, anthropologists tend to know one small population rather intimately and in depth, but rarely is this group even as large as a whole "tribe." My own major research experience has been concerned with a very small region in South India, an area in which my wife and I worked for a year and half..Consequently, most of what I say will be about South India. I shall begin, however, by making a brash generalization and shall refer to several other cultures. In all societies there are customs regulating the consumption of food. In some, these are minimal for instance, AustralJan aborigines have been noted for their lack of taboos regarding what foods are restricted from their diet, and in the protocol used in its cooking, serving and consumption. The food taboos that they have are primarily related to their kinship system, in which a group of kinsmen often refuse to consume the animal or plant

DOI: 10.1007/BF02907849

Cite this paper

@article{Harper2008CulturalFI, title={Cultural factors in food consumption: An example from India}, author={Edward B. Harper}, journal={Economic Botany}, year={2008}, volume={15}, pages={289-295} }