ABSTRACT

Rozin (1976) and Fischler (1980) have discussed this tension between the biological and the cultural aspects of taste. They identify the so-called ‘omnivore’s paradox’ as becoming more of a problem in the modern age because, on the one hand, people are naturally suspicious about any new foods which do not fit with the traditional foodways that have delivered nutritional stability over generations. In the last 20 years such doubts have extended even to staple foods, with scandals such as Salmonella in eggs, mad cow disease, and many others (Chapter 16). On the other hand, there is a natural curiosity about novelties, to the extent that adventurous

consumers have become familiar with the cuisines of distant lands or are creating their own ‘fusion foods’ from mixtures of different cuisines. Alan Beardsworth identifies three food paradoxes that summarize contemporary anxieties (Table 21.1)

In this chapter we will look at some of the social and cultural influences on taste and food habits, a discussion that will be continued in Chapter 22.