Growing up in a city with no strict food and health restrictions or regulations, Mexico fed me with greasy delicious “antojitos” (cravings) that many people have come to stereotype as sickening and dangerous for one’s health. Living in the U.S. and going back and forth to Mexico has made me think of the relationship between culture and food.
The dynamic that both of these have with each other goes beyond what one thinks. A country’s food definitely shapes its people (both literally and metaphorically), people= culture.
Society then is composed of people who are composed of their unique food and nutrition.
This past month I was in Mexico City with one of my best friends. Oscar took me to Coyoacan, a part of Mexico City that screams Mexican culture. There are many markets and delicious places to eat. If you ever go to Mexico, you MUST eat one of Coyoacan’s quesadillas.
But anyways, Oscar and I were having a real talk while eating real quesadillas made from that delicious Mexican “masa” (dough) and as I watched the guy fry the quesadillas on the super oily pan, I couldn’t help but notice how that was something that would never be seen back in the States.
The guy was deep-frying the thick quesadilla in oil that was being re-used from what it seemed a whole day worth of quesadillas.
As the owner placed the quesadillas on the plate, and in front of us, I smiled and said to Oscar “wow this is super greasy, and I’m totally ready to eat it.”
All around us, warm-hearted Mexicans and adventurous tourists were laughing and eating the delicious greasy food. We were all being laud, and the energy that the place radiated was definitely that of a typical Mexican restaurant.
I finished my food, and taught of how my experience differed from that of eating at a typical American restaurant. Which is where it all made sense to me…in a way.
The U.S. has definitely more food regulations and health restrictions, which already makes people eerie about what they put into their mouths. The U.S. has super processed foods, but it also has healthier organic foods. With this in mind, I concentrated on the way people who eat super healthy back in the states acts in comparison to the way people in Mexico act. After giving it some thought to it, my theory ended up being this:
The U.S. population that is “health-conscious” (or any country that has way more stricter food regulations), tends to be more rigid about other aspects of life. The way they interact with other people (being open hearted and humble), the way they dress, the way they even think of life and their social role, is different. At least to me, this has been evident for the past 7 years.
Im not saying this is a negative or positive thing, this is just a thing that I think could be quite true. People, regardless of where they come from, tend to act like what they eat! At least it’s influenced.
That’s why balance is such an important thing when it comes to what you are putting in your body. One needs crappy food, and healthy food.
One needs those fried “insert delicious cheesy thing here” and fatty ice-cream cups. However, one also needs to fuel with healthy veggies, and whole grains. If someone eats only crappy food, they will feel and perform crappy. Likewise, if one eats super healthy all the time, they will be too controlling and more likely to freak out on life.
Life is not one extreme or the other, but it is both worlds colliding perfectly to make the best human possible. A person, who can understand the pleasure that comes from eating everything in moderation, understands the world and its cultures.
Food builds up tolerance, because the food that comes from different cultures, makes-up a cultured person. Don’t be afraid of trying different things, nothing is ever bad for your body (unless, of course, you are allergic to it), and it will definitely shape you and your soul up.