Decolonizing food culture


"Foodways, or the intersection of food, culture, tradition, and history, are not separate from other cultural features and reflect local worldviews and ways of knowing. As foodways reflect “behaviors and beliefs surrounding the production, distribution, and consumption of food” (Counihan, 1999, p. 6), food is not simply what we eat but how and why we eat it, and more importantly, what it means. As Anderson (2005) explains, every society uses food to communicate messages: messages about religion, ethnicity, gender, identity, and other socially constructed regimes. Our attitudes about food, and our practices and ritu-als around eating, reflect our most basic beliefs about the world and ourselves. Within this view, foodways become “texts to interpret and analyze” (Anderson, 2005, p. 7). Therefore, through a foodways lens, the dichotomy of “store food” versus “traditional food” becomes more than non-nutritious foods versus nutritious foods but rather reveals contrasting Eurocentric and Indigenous worldviews;"

Despite creation of a Canada Food Guide with traditional foods and translation into several indigenous languages, it is still a Eurocentric document with a Euro understanding of food structure.  The structure of meals represents beliefs about food and eating.  The Guide reflects the idea of  servings from the food groups at each of 3 structured meal times on an individual plate.  Challenges Inuit understanding of meat and fish in their lives, different conception of mealtimes and when they happen.  Euro Nutritionism vs. cumulative experiences and teachings.  Food is much more than nutrients, it is the spirit of the animals and the relationship with the landscape and its organisms, relations of food sharing within the community.  Well being vs. biomedical view of the body.

Dawson in Settee and Shukla

many different ethnic groups contest Canada's dominant discourses on healthy eating and the food guide, sometimes finding them inherently racist because of their Eurocentric roots (Beagan and Chapman, 2017).

Cooking as anti-racist practice and decolonization. Brady, J. (2011). Cooking as Inquiry: A Method to Stir Up Prevailing Ways of Knowing Food,
Body and Identity. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 321-334.

Christensen, 2013

Valiente-Neighbours (2012) “immigrant identity-based localism”. Valiente-Neighbours, Jimiliz M. 2012. "Mobility, Embodiment, and Scales: Filipino Immigrant Perspectives on Local Food.” Agriculture and Human Values Journal 29(4): 531-541.

Often tensions for immigrant families, the desire to use food as part of retaining culture, but also using it to acculturate. Can produce intergenerational conflicts within families (Beagan and Chapman, 2017).

Heldke, L. (2008). Let's Cook Thai: Recipes for Colonialism. In C. Counihan and P. Van Esterik, Food and Culture: A Reader (pp. 394-408). London: Routledge.  cookbooks don't identify the history of their recipes and from whom it originated.  by placing our colonizing relationship “squarely in in the center of the dining table” (p.).  But how does the state encourage this?  Cookbooks and travel are typically a new kind of colonialism, theft and appropriation, the adventure seeking, the exotic, the other, and much of this about commodifying food in ways that favour the white euro over the cultures from which food comes.

Licensing and accreditation of chef's schools

Procurement and government cafeterias

School meals

Next iteration of food guide

Black food sovereignty plan,