It's a matter of taste

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are. It’s certainly a familiar expression. But Claude Fischler, a sociologist at the Centre national français de recherche scientifique, explains that these choices not only express our personality but also our culture and identity. 

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The foods we eat make us who we are and shape the world we live in, and our family traditions, culture and religion influence our choices. So do our lifestyles, socioeconomic situations and, ultimately, our personal tastes.

The ways in which we share our meals also define who we are and the groups to which we belong. Families who sit down to dinner together every night maintain their ties on a daily basis. Special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, religious holidays and Christmas celebrations also reaffirm identities and group solidarity. Typical national dishes serve as a cultural introduction and facilitate immigrant integration in a host society.

To eat is to consume the cultural symbols of the foods we choose. The elements that make up who we are—our family, ethnicity and social and religious identities—are confidentially connected to our food practices and then, literally, in our guts!