Read the four texts. Which text gives you the answer to each question? Choose the correct text (A-D) for each question.
|A-It is because of its centrality in our lives that food and the sourcing, hunting, growing, preparing and consumption of it lend themselves so well to ritual. Some customs are so entrenched within culture that we are not always confident of their origins. An example of this are the food restrictions that feature in the major religions. From an anthropological perspective, these are often explained as having once been mechanisms for conserving resources as well as a means of preserving hygiene in pre-industrial communities. Only later did the spiritual associations overtake the practical factors. By no means does this theory have universal support, but evident in the modern world is that, religion aside, people will choose to reject certain foods to mark social boundaries; class, wealth, ethical viewpoint, and so on. It is also apparent that the more we move towards secular living, the less our old rituals appear to matter; no longer is there a necessity to partake of a meal in a wider group setting.
|B–In the past, the sharing of a meal had an inseparably social and religious purpose, with the largest feasts market key passages of life; birth, marriage and death. Although the child might have been the focal point of a baptism, or the deceased the subject of the funeral, the audience was not peripheral. Rather it was their unification which was the goal of the shared meal. Even until the last century, the tradition of younger generations returning to the matriarchal home for the ritual weekly gathering and grandmother’s cooking was still prevalent. It seems, rather sadly, that this has been abandoned, perhaps in favor of other pursuits. What is interesting, however, is that many people still adhere to rules concerning prohibited foods; religion is still central in governing what is regarded as fit to be consumed, or not. Thus, it seems that food and the spiritual path are intertwined.
|C–Foods considered sacred and taboo have been defined by religion; they provided a means of becoming closer to God and for many this remains their function today. Rituals involving food can be equally significant to their practitioners. The Japanese tea ceremony earns recognition as a cultural treasure through the sheer art of its performance. The Christmas pudding, with its origins in medieval England, is no less an emblem of culinary tradition. Despite the very obvious differences between a subtle green tea and a spicy ridge dessert, there is a commonality; the meaningfulness given to each stage of creation through the rituals of movement, of ingredients, of a recipe or procedure followed. In contrast, we have developed a hasty and mechanical approach to the making of meals and with it, at this connection to the real value of food and what it represents beyond our basic survival. Not all is lost. There appears to be a resurgence of interest in the concept of cooking and providing for the larger group.
|D–In sharing a meal, we’re reinforce the ties that bind us to family, friends, associates, or even larger social groups. Historically, the choice of foods that could or could not be eaten was religion’s way of creating identity and group cohesion, and in most cases, the exclusion of foods from a diet continues to be a deliberate act of worship. But whether you are religious or otherwise, there is a good chance that the meals that you make ready for yourself, or which have been made ready for you, have been produced with little thought and attention. It is time-efficiency that is valued in the modern era, not mastery and skill or labor performed with love. And as the craftsmanship involved with food continues to die out, so do the celebrations that bring people together. Must we be doomed to a life of flavored pills eaten in self-inflicted solitary confinement?