Foodways and Identity: Narratives of Life History Told Through Family Recipes

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Tina Grace


Our foodways are an important marker of our identity; they are as much a marker of our identity, as language and culture. Food signifies our values, beliefs, traditions, and heritage. From everyday meals to holiday feasts, food is celebrated, often shared, and used as a tool in communication. These culinary marks of identity are acquired early in life through the transmission of knowledge within family foodways, where more than just recipes are learned - narratives of life histories are shared. It is precisely this process that cements food as an integral part of identity development. However, this transmission of knowledge seems to have decreased with the popularization of prepared foods, how-to recipe videos, and pre-measured meal kits as solutions to more demanding workloads and faster paced lifestyles. This raises concerns for the loss of familial ties and the authentic self, since preparing meals and experiencing the teaching process through family foodways has significant impact in meaning making and identity formation.


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