Food, National Character and Philosophy

So, Many years ago I was scared of the japanese because they never let their food touch and they served everything at a lukewarm temperature. This stands in contrast to the typical nature of chinese dishes, which even when prepared with great care, are usually great clusterfucks of ingredient combinations and have such a wonderful outcome.

Anyway, I am and always have been curious about how national cuisine serves as very concrete sign referring to the larger thing of that nation’s character. From the character it is but a short step to what Deleuze and Guattari call “geo-philosophy”, in their last book together “What is Philosophy?”

Some examples

Mexican food (real Mexican food not the simplified ghettoizedd tex mex that most North american gustatorial bigots consider mexican food) is a highly complex combination of native mexican ingredients and methods and Spanish ingredients and methods. A very simple example of this combination are chorizo tacos as served in Mexico. Chorizo is a spanish sausage and it’s combined with tortillas (indigenous), chile (ind.), lime (spanish), cilantro (??), and several other ingredients to create a mexican quick meal. The mexican national character is of this mestizo quality, with individuals living with a foot in the european and a foot in the american

North American food - At thanksgiving we all generally eat a meal that is nearly 90% indian and we almost never consider that we are setting at a table filling our bellies with food almost unknown in Europe. Thanksgiving also serves as a larger metaphor for American culture. We owe an enourmous debt to Native American Culture, yet all it usually gets is lip service. Never forget that a large chunk of our constitution comes from the League of the Iroquois amongst other things. Our nation was nearly as mestizo as mexico, as I have stated on this site before, yet the War of 1812 fucked it for everybody.

French Cuisine - peasant food made regal - exactly what happened in the foundation of the French Republic

these are but three examples of what I believe to be a very large and fertile field of inquiry.

In Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China, he quotes Mao as saying that all great Revolutionary Nations liked Spicy food. Snow asked "What about Italy (who had in 1936 been a Fascist State for a Long time)? Mao laughed and said maybe there were exceptions.


National characters, are insignificant in front of human characters.

National characters, change and develop over time.

To study national characters from national foods… will get you real fat.

Got anything to back this up?

Eveidence is what I think about, you know.

National characters is nothing in comparasion with human characters. I don’t care how big the difference is between Russian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Cuban foods. They had all gone Cons after the Jew said that they are being exploited by capitalists. Strungle, hate and revenge.

My characters are developed since birth, yours, too. A nation’s, too.

By the time you work out all the characters of the modern Japanese people, you can actually go and play Sumo in Japan.

  1. yet, you use A National characteristic of a sort to defend your argument

  2. This isn’t evidence. This is you restating your objection really loudly to me.

  3. actually if you study the Communism in different countries each country developed communism according to their own national character. The Russians developed a state totalitarianism that was very Similar to Orthodox Christianity and used a form of succession that descended from the days when the Russians were barely different from the steppe nomads that surrounded them (When a king died power passed to His brother, and if that brother died then the power again passed to another brother. POwer rotated amongst brothers in a clan. The Politburo’s practice of replacing aging leaders with aging leaders simply continues this.)
    The Chinese simply replaced on dynasty with another. Mao simply thought of himself as paralleling Qin Shihuangdi
    The Cambodians thought Of their communism as an extension of their great Empire at Angkor Wat

I could go on.
Communism simply took on the form of the country it found itself in. People ARE different in other countries.
Please provide more evidence to the contrary[/u][/i]

I fully understand what are you talking about here by “national characters”.

National characters, as defined by you, is less siginficant in shaping the course of the nation, than the characteristics of the human. i.e. how they had differed to each other after going con, is less significant than the fact that they went con. By the way, between Qing and the People’s Republic, there was Kuomingtong government and initially, all the warloads. An empire collaps, comes the chaos; after the chaos, the unity arrives. All nations follow the cycle of this course - follow the principles of the society/humanity. National characters, as you’ve defined, could happen to any nation, at any time. However, human characters, can’t be applied to monkeys.

This is the only point that I was trying to make.

Being a younger American (21 as of 2 weeks ago, Woohoo!), I can see how my diet relates to American trends. I rarely prepare my meals, and if I do so, it’s never from scratch. I feel I’m in the majority of Generation X, Y, or whatever, in that I really don’t know much about food preparation. It’s all about convenience. I feel my diet shows how much of my day is spent seeking out something to fill the void, rather than how it would’ve been if I was responsible not only for preparing meals, but for growing vegetables, and caring for livestock. This poor food quality in fast-paced America should be an indication of how cluttered our culture actually is. By cluttered culture, I am in no way trying to imply negative sentiment to our cultural diversity, but I am implying, however, that we have a shaky-foundation for culture. What are we really doing with all this time we ‘save’ by using our many conveniently met needs? (Besides engaging in binge auto-eroticism.) I also eat very fast. This habit, I believe, stems from childhood. Dinner was not relished, but tolerated rather. I had to get done with it quick so I could go out with my friends. Maybe we Young Americans have had way too much time to play.

anthropology of a food is science unto itself… why is this in a philosophy forum???

because it would probably go ignored in the social science forum; and because I felt like it

I am American and I love to cook whenever I can. Still I can strongly relate to what I & zachariah says about seeking out convenience. My father is American but my mother and her family are Spanish. I grew up with mother’s family and with them cooking and eating together have always been a big thing. I just grew up with it, so I took it for granted. Food isn’t treated quite the same way by other people that I spend time with.

I cook food that other people think is odd. Like fried peas. I never thought of this as an unusual meal (more like a snack) until fairly recently. My friend were like, “Fried peas?” It was very odd to them. I found out from my grandmother that it was a Spanish thing.

Spanish weddings are also a lot more fun that weddings for white people. You go to a wedding for white people and EVERBODY has a stick up their ass. Even at the reception! It is DULL!

Have you read the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser? I wonder what your reaction would be.

Sort of a new twist on “You are what you eat”


I have Only read excerpts of Fast Food Nation. I am very intrigued by Schlosser’s works, but alas, I have only limited reading time. You know how it is.

Aye. :frowning:

How very Nietzschean of u.

please explain

U must be aware that Nietzsche expressed a very similar idea?

For example The Gay Science aphorisms 134 and 145.