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My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

            In Ruth Ozeki's "My Year of Meats," Jane Takagi-Little, becomes the American director of "My American Wife," a cooking television show for Japanese housewives detailing the way American's cook with meat. The book documents how meat is perceived by people of different class, race and gender, as well as going behind the scenes of the American meat industry. Although meat plays a substantial role in the average universal diet, meat can also reveal a person's social class status, the geography of where they live, their culture and religion, diet, and even political views.
             The perception of meat in "My Year of Meats" is that "beef is the best" by both Japanese and American standards. The Tokyo office noted in a memo sent to the American Research Staff that "pork and other meats are second class meats, so please remember this easy motto: "Pork is Possible, but Beef is Best!" (Ozeki 12). The degradation of pork and other meats as second class meats places beef in first place of meats for the higher social classes. What accounts for this belief in Japanese standards is the ample amount of seafood meat in their diets, making beef quite exotic. When something becomes exotic, it will generally be more expensive and only the higher class will be able to afford it. The Dawes family would agree with this.
             The Dawes family was the only African American family cast to be on "My American Wife!" but their episode was later turned down due to reasons regarding their choice of meat. Their choice of meat made them undesirable for the show, and reflected their class status as low. Helen Dawes's recipe for the show was to make chitterlings, which is made from pork intestines. If pork was considered a second class meat already, then its organs must be of the lowest class. And what makes organs fall into the lowest class of meat is that it becomes the last pick, meaning it will be inexpensive, and presents those who eat it as rather poor and barbaric for eating every part of an animal.

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