Food, Global Connections, Family History – by Nick Lozinski. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Food, Global Connections, Family History – by Nick Lozinski. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Living in the Twin Cities offers a wide variety of different opportunities. There are several colleges and universities to further your education and a large concentration of Fortune 500 companies that call the Twin Cities home. One of the most distinct opportunities in the Twin Cities is the opportunity to learn about a different culture while still in the comfort of your own home town. The Twin City area is home to several diverse communities from around the world, and these communities each add to the area as a whole.

One of the ways these communities have shaped their neighborhoods is through the wide selections of food. In the neighborhood I live in, there is a Turkish restaurant, several Korean restaurants, and an Ethiopian restaurant. Food is often an important aspect of someone’s culture. Not just what they eat, but how they eat it.

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Within my family, there are distinct cultural differences. My dad’s side has very traditional American food. The way we go about dinners is also very traditionally American. With everyone sitting around the table with the food all in the middle. On my mom’s side, our Slovenian heritage is quite prominent. The food we have is usually traditional Slovenian meals. There’s always a wide choice of smoked meats, struklji, potica, and some form of homemade alcohol. Not only is the selection of food a product of our heritage, but so is the way we hold family dinners. The food is simply placed on the counter and people grab a plate and find somewhere to sit. Since we have a large family seats aren’t limited to the table, but wherever there is an open seat.

When looking at meals it’s important to not only look at the food being served, but the rituals that go along with it. Whereas my family looks at dinner as very informal and relaxed, many cultures view meal time as formal and have strict rules and guidelines they follow while eating. This past summer I travelled to Spain and lived with a Spanish family, and they viewed meals as more formal. Everyday they ate at the same time and their meal consisted of eating bread before the meal, followed by the meal for the day, and then ended with some type of fruit. This was a stark contrast to my family’s informal approach to dinner.

Experiencing how different cultures view meals is a window into that culture. You don’t need to buy a plane ticket to experience and learn about a different culture when you can go down the road to get a glimpse during dinner.

Nick Lozinski is a student at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

23 Comments

Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

23 responses to “Food, Global Connections, Family History – by Nick Lozinski. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

  1. Holly Kampa

    I enjoyed reading about your families traditions Nick, thanks for sharing! When we think about culture and rituals, food is a huge contributor. Most of the time when families get together food is involved in some way or another, well at least for my family. I look forward to family gatherings. Everyone brings a dish and we graze all day long. With my immediate family we are more formal and eat around the dinner table, but when our entire family is together then you eat wherever you can find a spot. I think it’s very interesting and neat that you still keep and practice rituals on your mother’s side. More and more we see traditional heritage fading. Thanks again for sharing!
    Holly Kampa

  2. Matt Breeze

    I particularly enjoy that you bring up and provide examples of different ways to eat food rather than just different food itself. Personally when I think about cultural differences between groups of people their food is one of the first things that comes to mind. However, the way people eat is not one of the first things I think of. The style of eating is probably just as important as the difference of the dishes when looking at differences or similar cultures. Thank you for binging this to light in your piece.

  3. Sofia Pineda

    I think that it is fascinating the amount of layers that a culture has. It is not just the way individuals dress, the language they speak, or the holidays they celebrate that defines a culture. It is important to pay attention to smaller details such as the patters woven into sweaters, the tools used to eat or even facial gestures, to truly understand and appreciate a culture. Food is very important because what they cook revolves around their staple grains and how they eat revolves around practices.
    I think it is great that both traditions regarding your parents ancestry are celebrated in you home.

  4. Sarah Burton

    My favorite part about experiencing a new culture is always trying the different foods. It is interesting how different cultures prepare food and how they present food. I find it interesting how different the meals I share with my dad’s side of the family compared to with my mom’s. During a meal at my dad’s home, everyone drinks a glass of milk and maybe uses one eating utensil. During a meal at my mom’s home, we never drink milk as a beverage and we always use a knife with whatever we are eating. I never really think about how different the meals are between my parents but when I do think about it, it is almost strange how different the meals are. Food plays such a huge role in culture and can tell people a lot about what foods are most prized or available in the area the recipes come from. It is fascinating that food can bring people together and bring great joy. I love sitting around a table with family, sharing stories and enjoying a great meal together.

  5. Connor

    Getting to experience new foods is one of my favorite parts of learning about new cultures. Food is a powerful tool that can really bring people together across cultures. Have you visited the various restaurants in your area? Do you have any idea if the presentation of the food offered there or the “style” in which the guests eat is different from a traditional American restaurant?

  6. Kyle Dosan

    Very great article, thanks for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading about the contrast between the American food on your dads side of the family and the Slovenian side from your mom. One has to look no further than food while observing a different culture. It is very fascinating that you have so many outlets to different cultural restaurants in your home town.

  7. Sara Desrocher

    I like this article because it makes me think of how my own family values meals. We have a more relaxed thought on eating meals together. We enjoy having conversation and eating when we want to eat. It is very casual but I feel closer with my relatives when I can sit by them and engage in deep conversation while eating.

  8. Catherine McConnell

    This article is very entertaining to read as well as informative. My family follows traditions like yours but I have also experienced what it is like to have more strict guidelines to follow. It is interesting when traveling how you can pick up certain habits along the way when exposed to different cultures so directly. Do you find yourself wanting the structure of the meals you had in Spain again? Or does the comfort of the familiarity of informal dinners appeal to you more?

  9. This was so fun to read because my family is also Slovenian! Every year, my mom and dad make poticia, normally around the holidays, and we also have a variety of smoked meats. I like how you touched on not only the food being served, but also the style of meals and how it varies culture to culture. My family is very relaxed at mealtimes, but when we eat at my grandmas house (she’s 92), there are no hats allowed and we need to be dressed to impress. Although styles of meals vary across cultures, they also vary amongst age groups.

  10. Bryce Gadke

    Usually when I think of food and culture it tends to be different foods, but you did a good job bringing up different ways to eat food. When just my immediate family eats dinner (the somewhat rare occasion our busy schedules align) it is quite relaxed, but when my grandparents visit my mom especially focuses on the strict actions during meals and accelerates the pace to what we’re used to. This is interesting how the phenomenon isn’t only cultural but also generational.

  11. Courtney Banks

    That’s so interesting! The most foreign foods I’ve eaten are Americanized Chinese food or that casserole with some sort of…meat? Anyway, it’s such a shame that there aren’t many diverse food options in the area. I think it would be neat to have a food exploration day on campus!

  12. I hadn’t put much thought into how food is served having a correlation to culture. My family either leaves the food on the stove and we dish up ourselves or we set up a buffet line. One notable thing is that we dish up the oldest relative first, then the youngest children before anyone else is able to get their food. Such an intriguing way of investigating cultural practices! Perhaps you can share more information about Slovenian food as I haven’t had the opportunity to learn much about it in the past. Thank you for the examples you provided!

  13. Being Native American, I have been raised to love eating wild rice and to expect it at every family gathering and the occasional Indian taco that was found at pow wows attended in the summer. I is so interesting to look at how Americans take their culture to the dinner table to share with loved ones. Thanks for sharing!

  14. My fathers side of the family share traditional rivals. We sit in the formal dining room when we eat, with everyone placed at the table in ranking order with heads at the ands and so on. Prayer is said before meal and talking at the table is encouraged. The stress oh formal dinners always get to me, before we leave I always make sure I am up to date on the latest politics, science, and news so I have something of worth to discus at the table. The young then go to the library to read or perform on the piano while the adults discussed. It is though a very unique tradition of the family and I am happy to partake.

  15. Thomas Landgren

    I haven’t really put any thought into the significance of food in my families culture but after reading your article i tried to pick out the signs. I really liked how you talked about not just the significance of the food but how it is prepared. When you started to talk about the formal and informal aspect of meals i could relate because i also feel that the US has broken away from the idea of a formal meal. It seems with the increase in technology and new ways to get food we no longer have a set meal time. Great article!

  16. Nancy Thao

    I enjoyed reading your article. Sometimes when eating a cultural dish, we do not think about how it is eaten or the eating etiquette of the culture. What happens when these type of traditions/eating etiquette are disappearing? Referring it back to an article read in class about the importance of having dinner at a table, will it still be common in the future to have dinner at the table with family?

  17. Reading about food is always my favorite. I think it’s interesting how different parts of the world like different foods and eat their food in different ways. I like how you mentioned that it’s important to look at those rituals that go along with serving the food. I think that in today’s world our culture is spending increasingly less time focusing on traditions and building memories with their families, which is disappointing.

  18. Jodi Moran

    I really enjoyed this article because it reminds us that the small things can bring unity. It is so interesting that different cultures can view something like eating dinner in such different ways. I liked that this article showed two different cultures within the family and how they varied in traditions, it gives us readers a little window into that culture. My family values eating together every night because we can talk about our day. It is cool to learn that some cultures have certain orders in which they can eat. That would be interesting to partake in some of those traditions.

  19. Nichole DeBoom

    This is a topic my world history class has talked about often. My mom and dads sides of the families are very diverse- mom’s is always late and loud, and my dad’s is always quiet and formal. Either way it is about the family being together and sharing stories, it is rare to see a family eat together each night in today’s society. Great article, it makes us think how we have changed as generations grow older.

  20. Carley Nadeau

    I really like this article. Not only does it talk about food (one of my favorite things ever), but it also talks about the importance of family as well. Sometimes, these things come together and bring people great joy, as seen here.
    I also really like this sentence that you wrote: “When looking at meals it’s important to not only look at the food being served, but the rituals that go along with it.” I could not agree more with this.

  21. Elisabeth Bergstedt

    Growing up in a small town in southeastern Minnesota, the only restaurants we had was a pizza place (that I worked at during high school) and a typical American cafe. BUT, like you said, you don’t have to go across the world to learn about a new culture. Our next door neighbors were from India and I learned that I love Indian food! Curry, orange chicken, rice and other spicy foods. Then, moving to Duluth for school, I made new friends that introduced me to their traditional food and again I learned more. So I agree–you don’t have to travel far to learn a new culture and try different foods. You just have to be open-minded and resourceful.

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