New Cultural Trends
America is a melting pot of humanity. Each day, people from around the world come to America; many stay, becoming citizens. With more diversity finding its way into small town America, the trend towards ethnic foods has developed over the past 10 years.
In this activity, students will:
- explore the various ethnic foods found in their community
- discuss their own ethnic foods — i.e., family recipes
- discuss how eating is a social, political and moral act
- review, as food critics, different ethnic dishes
- write a review for the school or classroom newspaper
Have students brainstorm what ethnic foods are available within 10 miles of the school. Ask if anyone has visited those restaurants. What did they think? Discuss whether the cuisine is healthy or part of the fast food market.
Most ethnic restaurants are not fast food. Patrons are expected to sit and relax. As Professor Ikerd writes, "Eating makes a social statement — we eat with our family and our friends. Eating makes a political statement — what we eat affects what other people will and won’t have to eat. Eating makes a moral statement — what we eat affects how the earth is treated, and thus, reflects our personal ethics. Whether we think about it or not, eating is a reflection of character."
Share this quote with the class. Have them discuss their feelings. Do they agree, or disagree? How does this statement apply to them? How does it apply to American culture? Discuss how supporting family-run restaurants differs from going to fast food outlets. Also, discuss the benefits of buying local produce. Is it important to support family farms? Why?