“Cheese and Chips out of Styrofoam Containers”: An Exploration of Taste and Cultural Symbols of Appropriate Family Foodways
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Taste is considered a gustatory and physiological sense. It is also something that can be developed over time. In Bourdieu’s work taste is a matter of distinction, and a means of drawing boundaries between groups about what constitutes “good” taste. In this context it is necessary to perform or display tastes over and over again. This then becomes part of a cultural habitus, a code that can be read and understood. In the field of “feeding the family” (DeVault) for respondents in my study, healthy food prepared from scratch became the symbol of appropriate mothering, a means of demonstrating a middle class habitus, distinction, and taste. I use the term “family foodways” to emphasize how feeding the family encapsulates more than buying, preparing, cooking, and serving food, it incorporates the ways in which families practice, perform, and “do” family food. These family foodways are about the family of today, as well as an investment in the family of the future, through the reproduction and reinforcement of cultural values and tastes around food.
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