Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Alison Jameson: Essay

Food and Higher Education
Alison Jameson

The study of food is an excellent and pertinentaddition to higher education. Food is a facet in every part oflife, from one’s natural need to eat, to restaurants, eating disorders,advertising, and social activity. To exclude the study of foodand eating from higher education is to deny the importance ofan activity that humans spend 1/15th their lives doingand spend a much more of their lives thinking about and beinginfluenced by.

Food is present everywhere and it is a subjectthat goes far beyond the realm of an edible substance. For example,consider the advertising of food: “television commercialsare used to sell more than products-they are selling culturalvalues” (Kane 139). One way that these food commercials affectcultural values is that they paint pictures on how male and femaleroles differ in the home and especially as regards food preparationand eating.

According to Kate Kane, ignorance about foodis “particularly dangerous for women.” Since nurturing,namely feeding, is an intrinsic part of the women’s role in ourculture, it is important that the changes in trends and ritualsaround feeding be explored. History can also be viewed by cookbooks.Cookbooks can be “appreciated as historical documents andused to reconstruct not just past lifestyles, but the tacit philosophiesunderlying those lifestyles” (Kolodzey 179).

Food is important to consider; however, itis difficult to teach because little has been studied systematically.But using food as the subject matter in academia is valuable.Food and eating are related to many societal and social problemssuch as bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive overeating. The actof eating is often seen as disgusting and sinful. It is difficultfor many to see the relevance of the study of food, but its studyis pertinent and valuable for understanding a wider spectrum ofanthropology, psychology, history, and society.

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