Mission hypothesis #4: Eat what they eat


The old saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach is definitely proved by me. In a similar vein, the way to a culture is through their meals. This is going to be such a tough principle for me to live out…

Being local in my eating practices is not just about fitting in, but a wonderful way to learn. To enter into a mealtime is to enter into the culture. Insights into relational dynamics of families and friends are on view. Expressions such as saying grace or even a simple ‘cheers’ or ‘dig in’, reveal what is important to people. The local Cambodian phrase ‘Nyum Bai’ meaning ‘to eat rice’ or ‘let’s eat’ or even ‘have you eaten?’ portrays a concern for the other backed up with an act of generosity.

In Melbourne, as part of our training, we were given the task of completing a worldview survey in order to help better understand another culture. I was surprised by how much was revealed about what a culture loves and how it works through studying their meal dynamics.

So food is not only the way to a man’s heart (and many women as well), but it’s also the way into a culture. I’ll definitely enjoy this aspect of culture learning-to-love. “Enough parsing verbs. I’m off to do some culture learning at lunch.”

Aussie reflection: What does Maccas or doing 11 wheat bix for breakfast reveal about Aussie culture? Do you have any examples of food or meal practices that reveal our culture?

One thought on “Mission hypothesis #4: Eat what they eat

  1. Pingback: Mission hypothesis: Series wrap up |

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