Food, a Window into Culture and Identity: A Conclusion

“You have to taste a culture to understand it.” -Deborah Carter

Food is a very integral part of any culture. Local cuisine gives us an enormous insight into the local culture, as it sheds light on the regions indigenous crops, cooking techniques and even reflects the history of the area. Food has now been recognized an an important component of intangible heritage. UNESCO has also attributed gastronomy as a part of their Intangible Heritage List. Currently there are 8 cuisines on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The move was made since culinary traditions demonstrates, “practices, representations, and expressions, and knowledge and skills which are transmitted from generation to generation and which provide communities and groups with a sense of identity and continuity.” 

We at GoUNESCO celebrated Food Heritage (#deliciousheritage) for the last two months. We introduced out readers to numerous aspects of global culture via food. From the origins of ice-cream to burgers; to a photo series on traditional Ramadan food traditions, to introducing the debate around globalization and its effect on local cuisines; to providing access to Apicius, the oldest cookbook dating back to the Roman Empire. Yes, we gave you a variety of topics to explore, ponder upon.

We conclude this theme with another fun read for all of you by our newest interns. The GoUNESCO Internship Program kickstarted on the 12th of July with a very interesting Task for our interns around the theme, Food: A Window into Culture and Identity. For this task, the interns were paired up and assigned a common food ingredient. The aim of this task was to illuminate the diversity in local culture and culinary traditions of two places, displayed through the ingredient assigned. The outcome? We leave you to judge that…

So here is our GoUNESCO interns, enthusiastically introducing you to their cultures through, what we think might be the best artefact ever: food. Have a read at the following articles to get a glimpse into varying cultures traced through some common food items:

Tea: Tracing Culture of India and Britain

India: Tasting the Cultural Heritage of India Through Tea: The Story of Chai, by Abhilaash Narayana Rao





United Kingdom: Tea Break, Tea Party, Tea Cake, Tea Pots- Why are the British Obsessed with Tea?, by Alexandra Phoebe Curson



CoffeeTracing Culture of Turkey and India


Turkey: Turkish Coffee – A Future Oriented Culture from the Past, by Trude Jacobsen Nytun




India: Flavored Mornings: Glimpse into India’s Coffee Culture, by Priya Chanani




Pork: Tracing Culture of Germany, USA, Italy and Kenya

Germany: Roast Pork – An Essential Part of the German Cuisine and Culture, by Paul Marquardt





The Frankfurter – From Emperor to Chancellor, by Jonathan Johannes Benirschke





United States of America: Boudin: A Flavorful Link to the Cajun Past!, by Kathleen DesOrmeaux





Italy: Yummy Italian Porchetta, by Marco Romagnoli





Kenya: Pork Choma, by Sheila Wangui Ndirangu




CheeseTracing Culture of United Kingdom and Italy


United Kingdom: The ‘Cheesy’ British Culture, by Miki Dowsing





Italy: Say Cheese! The Inseparable Relation Between Italy and Cheese, by Jessica Scodro




Rice: Tracing Culture of India, Malawi

India: Rice in Bengal, by Priya Chanani






Malawi: Tracing Cultural Heritage of Malawi Through Rice, by Kondwani Stephalno Mubisa




India: Tasting Indian Food: The Hyderabad Biryaniby Francesca Scapolo




Beef: Tracing Culture of Lebanon and USA

Lebanon: My Grandma Does it Better!, by Martine Zaarour

United States of America: America’s Food Heritage and Its Quest for the Perfect Barbequeby Mitchell Phelps

Wheat: Tracing Culture of India 
India: The King Of Rajasthani Cuisine “Daal-Baati-Choorma”


Haleem, by Ali Abbas Ahmadi

Fish: Tracing Culture of Malawi and Pakistan
Malawi: The Usipa Wotendela Malawian Dishby Benson Kalonga

 Milk: Tracing Culture of India, Egypt and Afghanistan


India: Kheer: The Quintessential Indian Milk AffairUrmila Santosh





Afghanistan: Taste of Afghani Culture Through Sheer Pera, by Nilab Rahimi





Egypt: Milk and Egyptian Heritage Dishes, by Mohamed Badry Kamel Basuny Amer

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