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           If you were to leave your home country at this very minute and travel across the world to China, how do you think you would adapt? Would you slowly pick up on the Chinese language from the people who surrounded you?  Would you change your religion and start worshiping another god?  Would you change your clothing style, home style, or life style?  Would you change as a person or your family traditions? I’m sure you naturally would pick up the language.  After a while, if you were around a whole continent full of Chinese people, you would somehow learn to speak to them.  You would begin to dress like the people around you, and accommodate your sense of style to the traditional Chinese style. One thing to think about is, would you change your ever day meals? Would you forget about all the memorable cuisine and culinary traditions from your previous country? Or would you treasure the meals of your ancestors and continue the cuisine even though you are in a different country? It may be very hard for people today to just let go of their family’s traditional meals from culture, religion, or country.   


Above is a picture of Moo Goo Gai Pan. This Chinese dish is light and very flavorful. It is made up of sliced up chicken, mushrooms, onions, and brocoli.

          If countries didn’t share their dishes with other countries we would not be able to experience the flavor and taste of the foreign cuisine.  You would have to travel across the world to have Chinese food if Chinese and American cuisine had not mixed with each other and evolved. It creates an opportunity for two entirely different countries, cultures, or religions to learn from eachother and share ideas. While it is important for original recipes to be remembered and treasured from the time of our ancestors, it is also important to move on and develope multicultural cuisines.

         “Assimilate means to take in and incorporate as ones own; absorb;adapt or adjust.(”  “Food is also one of the most easily preserved aspects of cultural heritage through the generations” (258).  She asserts that food is more resilient to the forces of assimilation than any 0ther element, such as language or clothing.  Since people are so adapt to their normal cooking styles foods resist the force of blending.  Language maybe easier because when everyone around speaks in a different language you quickly learn how to comunicate and with more practice everyday you could even become fluent.  The blending of foods is much harder because a recipe may get passed down one family at a time and could take a while. People want to remember their original cooking styles thus resisting change. 





“Food is also one of the most easily preserved aspects of cultural heritage through the generations” (258).

In this quote from the book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee, she states that food has great resistance in terms of changing from the original “design” of the dish. She compares this to another factor to cultures like a language.

The example that Jennifer used was that was born in America and immediately started to speak English. Her parents were from China, so this shows how she was quick to lose the language. She also goes on to talk about how Chinese food is something that she still holds close to her. This might be the case because food is such a big thing in everyone’s life. When growing up, food is a big influence in a child’s culture. When the child is an adult, they would want to learn how to make that food that they loved when they were little.

With the taste of the traditional dish, one might want to add something to appeal more to it, like another spice. Even when this happens, the same dish is still there. This is why it is good when this happens because the original dish is able to be recognized, but changes make it capable to be appealing to many more people. This allows not only the dish, but the culture it originated from to reach the knowledge of many more people. One could preserve the authentic dish if they wished, but that wouldn’t help the food being brought into other cultures. I feel that if the dish was preserved, it would have the importance in the life of the culture that it belongs to, but I wouldn’t be as important to history as if it was in more societies all over the world.

In the Fortune Cookie Cronicles, Jenifer 8. Lee thinks that food is the most resilient part of a culture.  I agree with this, however I also think that when the food inevitably changes, it is a good change.  I think that food is the most resilient part of a culture because you can still participate in the new culture even if you eat traditional food.  You cannot speak a different language and effectively participate in another culture, therefore languages must change quickly.  It is a good thing when food blends because it spreads ideas and helps assimilate the new culture.

When two cultures foods fuse, techniques and ingredients are shared across cultures.  For example General Tso’s Chicken may seem Chinese, but includes sweeter tastes found in America and Europe, but not in China.  This combination brings Chinese ideas to America in a way that Americans will eat it.  Another example is the wok.  The wok was invented in China and used for cooking.  It is used in many different ways all over he United States.

The fusion of food also helps cultures to assimilate.  When I think of culture the first things that come to mind are food, language, clothes, architecture and religion.  Clothes and architecture are usually changed when people move.  Language is changed out of necessity to communicate with the other cultures.  That leaves religion and food.  While religion is hard to change because of strong faiths, food is not.  When this fusion occurs it helps to assimilate one culture into another because they have one more thing in common.

This assimilation is important because it makes people more welcomed into society.  This allows them to influence other ideas without being doubted because they are different.  This in turn helps to advance all of society.  It also allows them to participate in society more easily and without others discriminating against them.×240.jpg



Yes, I believe that all cultures should come together a no one should have hate for any certain culture and the perfect way to do that, is by cooking and mixing foods.  I also believe that while mixing foods, they learn more than just to respect their food, they learn more about their beliefs, tastes, and even language.  Some people many believe that food has no point in mixing and everyone should stay away from all other cultures that aren’t like their own and there is no point in creoles because food can bring anything together.  But I don’t agree because I feel like food can be a way of language and can bring different nationalities closer together.      

The author of the book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles Jennifer 8 Lee shows how she agrees when she says, “cooking is like a language: the ingredients are the vocabulary; the techniques are the grammar.  You can mix and match across different traditions absorbed from the people and influences you’ve been composed to.” This means that when people cook, they leave tradition and it acts as a language and can bring different cultures together by taste, trade, and language.  This is really important that people don’t stop mixing foods because if people stop, it has the potential to break creoles apart and will make people have more disagreements than necessary.   

Also it helps minority cultures mix with other minority nations and makes them feel more important and less of a minority.  As Jennifer 8 Lee states, “two sociologists posit that Chinese food helped the generation of immigrant Jews feel more American, in part by making them feel more cosmopolitan at a time when they were trying to shed their image as hicks from eastern Europe.”  This quotes shows how Chinese foods bring can make Jewish immigrant’s feel more “at home” and “cosmopolitans” while they felt that their parents, apparently did not mix, were “an antidote for Jewish Parochialism”.  This proves that different cultures do more than just mix with other cultures, they make them feel welcome and important.

          Assimilation, as defined by, is “the act of taking in and incorporating as one’s own.” Is the eventual and inevitable assimilation of food necessarily a bad thing? One cannot stop this change; further, this blending creates new foods!  We should encourage food to evolve and mix with other cultures. However, once these foods are blended, an effort should be made to preserve the original cuisine. In other words, new foods can evolve from existing foods as long as the existing foods are sustained.
          Food is more resilient to the forces of assimilation than other aspects of a culture, such as a language (Lee 258). Modern-day English is much different than the English used during Elizabethan Times, or should I say, Olde English. No one today speaks or writes as Shakespeare did, but most everyone still eats “breads made from a variety of flours” and meats seasoned with a variety of herbs (
          Ethnic foods today, including a classic Argentine dish called empanadas, would not be in existance today had it not been for the merging of ingredients from other countries.  The traditional recipe simply includes wheat, lard, and a filling made of meat (Civitello 129).  Today, fruits and vegetables from other countries, such as potatoes and peaches, are sometimes added to create a delicious version of this traditional cuisine.  Although this version is sometimes desirable to enjoy, the traditional recipe should still be preserved so as to pay tribute to the original.

This version features a vegetable in with the meaty filling. Source:

Another example of assimilation of an international food is the pizza.  Eaten in hundreds of countries around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, India, Israel, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Sweden, Japan, and the United States, the once-humble pizza has taken on many different styles and varieties.  In the United States, people of different cities have put their own twist on the classic Italian pizza (  Chicago has created the deep-dish, New York City the thin crust, and Detroit the twice-baked pizza.  However, if the original pizza was destroyed, would the pizza experience be complete with just the many U.S.A. versions?  It is my opinion that eating pizza would not be the same without the original, although I do enjoy indulging in different varieties once in a while.



Civitello, Linda. Cuisine and Culture:  A History of Food and People. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Lee, Jennifer 8. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2009.


“Pizza.” Wikipedia. November 23, 2011. Wikipedia. December 1, 2011. <>

“Assimilate.” December 1, 2011. <>

“Fooles and Fricasses:  Food in Shakespeare’s England.” December 30, 1999.  December 1, 2011. <>

In the Fortune Cookie Chronicles, the author, Jennifer 8. Lee, contended that assimilation affects other elements of culture more than food. Personally, I agree with this point; many other elements are in fact altered over time as society changes. Language changes by other cultural influences, and the youth of each cultural group create slang to shorten traditional terms. Languages can evolve because of other cultures (words from other languages), and modernization from younger generations. The youth of most cultures realize that old ways are too out of date, and therefore try to modernize their ancestor’s ways, by making laws more lenient. Cultural recipes, however, are not as easy to modernize, and usually maintain their original idea, and are kept to reproduce the dish for future generations, and keep the memory alive.

Many popular dishes, such as General Tso's Chicken, are in fact the result of a blend of cultural culinary ideas. This particular chicken recipe was intended to be an American food that imitates Chinese cuisine, thus an intermixing of Chinese and American culture. Photo courtesy of

I don’t think that the blending of different types of cuisine in one dish is necessarily a bad thing, but rather creates an opportunity for two entirely different cultures to learn from each other, and share culinary ideas. However, I think that the original dish recipe should also be preserved (perhaps renaming the new dish of blended cultures instead), so that the original meal is commemorated. This way, future generations belonging to that specific ethnic background/nationality could keep the tradition alive.

Original ethnic recipes will indefinitely intermix with other cultural techniques, because of the acceptance of interracial and inter-nationality marriage in modern times, and therefore adaptation of other cooking styles. Also, many people like to experiment with the cuisine of other countries, and may end up cooking it themselves, and adding their own cultural twist on it, and so this new recipe is passed down. It is important for people to go along with the evolution of food, as taste preferences change and cultures begin to amalgamate. However, as I stated earlier, original recipes should also be treasured as a reminder of what sorts of foods ancestors would eat, and to keep the cultural cuisine alive. Thus, both the evolution of “ethnic” foods and the preservation of these authentic recipes are important, and should be incorporated in the way the world progresses.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Jennifer 8. Lee writes, “Food is also one of the most easily preserved aspects of cultural heritage through the generations” (258).  She asserts that food is more resilient to the forces of assimilation than other elements, such as language.  Why do you think this might be the case? Is the eventual and inevitable blending (fusion cuisines, change of dishes over time to reflect popular tastes) is a good thing, or a bad thing? Should there be more of an effort to preserve “authentic” cuisine, or should we encourage food cultures to change and evolve?

Food is more resilient to the forces of assimilation because it is not adaptable to other foreign places and cannot change as easily as other aspects of culture such as clothing or ways one acts. A food is one common ground that makes up one culture. Families of every nationality gather to share this one thing. Even though there are thousands of different kinds of food, it is special to every family or even just one person. Everyone eats different food and it is not as emphasized as other aspects of culture, therefore it it is not changed as easily. For example, if a family moves to a foreign country, they may feel out of place from the people surrounding them. They may feel that they have to change their physical appearance or how they act so they can blend in, but they won’t feel as obliged to change their eating style because everyone eats differently. Food is not something that one has to change to blend in because in places like America there are many nationalities of people. For example, the metaphor of America being “a salad” or “chili” symbolizes this because there are many different components that still come together even though they are completely different (Jennifer 8. Lee 259).

The fact that food does mix when put in different environments, such as a foreign country, can be good and bad. The fact that it does not change is one thing that keeps someone true to their culture and heritage. One may feel pressured to change their style and ways of life if they surround people different from them, but at the end of the day, they most likely won’t feel obliged to change their eating habits. This is because, as said before, food is not a highlighted aspect of culture. However, it can also be a good thing. When it does blend, it provides uniqueness and character to a culture or society. Food should be able to mix together to build something better. An example of this is when Columbian styled food came together with the influence of Europeans to create something new. This was a good thing because when two different styles came together, it created something completely different, or Mexican food.

Some may believe that there is a greater need to preserve ethnic food to stay true to their heritage, but it is all about perspective. I, however, believe that this is not necessary. Anything should evolve and change when it encounters something new. One of these things is food.  People of a certain ethnicity should willing to let their style be shared because it has the potential to create something completely new. Even though others may be using their food style, it will eventually become something new. Take Chinese food, for example. At one point, it became the new rage in America. Over time, Chinese food in America adapted to the American’s wants. It then became “Americanized Chinese food.” Even though the Americans used part of China’s culture, they created something new with it. Once again, the “tossed salad” metaphor applies to this: many different nationalities (or all the different vegetables) all come together to form one big salad (Jennifer 8. Lee 259).

Works cited: Lee, Jennifer 8. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. New York, NY: Twelve, 2008. Print.


I chose this picture because the conversation represents the problems of "America as a melting pot." Image from:

The blending of cultures has lead to the mixing of ethnic groups, and therefore promoting the fact that in the United States, you can find a restaurant of any different ethnic origin around you. Jennifer 8. Lee states “We are a stir-fry; our ingredients remain distinct, but our flavors blend together in a sauce shared by all” (Lee 259). This is a very interesting and well-thought out quote, as she summarizes precisely America in a food dish. She is stating correctly, that we are not just a mixture of different foods combined into a sauce without any singular identity, but still posses our individual tastes and root to our ethnic culture, which according to the Chinese, we will always have. The Chinese state, “huaqiao“, meaning Chinese “sojourners”, as they are expected to come back to China, and reunite with their heritage after many years of being away. This states that once one is Chinese, they will forever be Chinese, and all are welcome back. Having said that, this shows clearly that as cultures come together and mix traditions, share cultural festivals, and most importantly, we break off bits and pieces of our heritage, and give those pieces of knowledge to others, so they can share special things with us. I definitely agree that it is a very good thing that cultures will come together to share different foods, as this expands our knowledge of other ethnic groups, and is important to recognize as as significant as one’s own ethnic traditions. For example, Americans love hamburgers. If we didn’t, there would not so many Burger King’s, Five Guys, and McDonald’s fast food places. We claim hamburgers as Americans food, but where did they really originate from? Germany. Without this cultural interaction, we would not have our great “American food”, that many, many Americans rely on for a fast stop after a long road trip.

This is a photo is an original German hamburger. When Germans immigrated to America, they brought this food with them, and then Americans adopted it, and altered it over time to fit the likes of American food. Citation for image:

As one can see, just like the German hamburger, many foods were taken into American hands, adopted, and then changed in some way. The result of this wonderful cultural blending process has lead America to posses great recipes and family traditions. I agree with the statement that it is great that cultural interactions have taken place, for now we can enjoy holiday meals, or just nightly family dinners filled with a variety of different foods from different places. “Authentic” food is one that should always be preserved, but along with that, new cultures are always mixing to form new foods. I believe that authentic foods should remain in our lives, and stay in cultures, because it is what new and creative dishes originate from. However, if these cultures did not interact with each other, this would lead to no new dishes.

Citation in book: Lee, Jennifer 8. “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles”. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2008.

Food has the ability to transcend cultural assimilation primarily because most cultures make their food in their homes. When children begin to learn how to cook, the recipes that they first learn tend to be traditional family recipes. Additionally, when someone moves to a new country that is completely alien to them, they are more likely to only know how to make their old traditional recipes. Aside from being their main source of recipes, these recipes are likely to remind them of their home. The combination of these two aspects cause people to hold on to their cultural foods even as they assimilate into a new culture. Eventually, an aspiring cook will open up a restaurant that showcases the foods from his home country that seem foreign to the people of his new country.

I believe that the preservation of notable cultural dishes from around the world is an important aspect of culture and they need to be saved. This is because many cultures and people use food as a way to connect with their past. For example, the Chinese people are very connected to their ancestors and some of their dishes and recipes date way back in their family and local histories. Without the preservation of at least the recipes, the foods of the past would become lost and we would be disconnected to our past.

Taken From

On the other hand, the evolution of recipes allows for new cultures and flavors to evolve. Foods like chow mein and Genral Tso’s Chicken would never have been created and new cultures would never develop. Human ingenuity and creativity is the driving force that has allowed for delicious food to be created. In this sense, we need to be creative and encourage people to come up with new and creative dishes. The preservation of traditional ethnic foods is a necessity in order to remain in contact with our past but we also need to be innovative and create our own recipes  that evolve from the old ones.

Food does not change as easily because people like to be reminded of home. In Lee’s case, she was in America and spoke English, but the food she ate was Chinese. This is because her parents want to be reminded of their home. It is the only thing that they can keep, because they cannot continue to speak Chinese when mostly everyone in America speaks English.

The blending of foods is a good thing. The more cultures and ingredients a dish sees, the better that it will taste! (A culture won’t keep an ingredient in a food if it tastes weird to them). In fact, part of a culture is how it interacts with other cultures. Cultures cannot be isolated from each other, just the way food cannot. Interaction between cultures and foods is definitely important. This is how new cultures are born. Lee often states that food represents a culture extremely well. If that food can bond and work together with other foods, it symbolizes a lot more. It shows that those cultures are open to change and are not isolated from other cultures. And by blending, this can create a new culture from two different cultures. As with many cases in history, like Brazilian food coming from Portugal and Africa, a new culture is born, but the old recipes stay present throughout history.

This is a Brazilian Dish, which is influenced by Portugal and Africa

The only problem is that when the last generation of a culture that knows how to make a certain dish dies off, the original dish will be lost. The original dish will be incorporated to the new dishes, but the original might be harder to point out. Therefore, it is up to the next generation to try to preserve the dish if they can. There is absolutely no harm in dishes (and cultures!) combining and blending, but it is not bad to preserve the original dishes.

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