Neither life nor culture can be sustained without food. On a very basic level, food is fundamentally essential for life, not simply to exist, but also to thrive. By examining food consumption and preparation, much is discovered regarding the intricacies of culture. In his book, "Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom" Sidney Mintz displays how what we recognize as freedom in our choices regarding food is actually created and often controlled by an immense and progressively more intricate global economy. Even under the most severe restrictions, all the choices we make can have a great importance for us. Mintz's main idea expresses his notion "that what we eat determines who we are.".
The title essay shows how enslaved Africans used their creativity to adapt and put together a cuisine that helped them to meet the conditions of the New World. The cuisine they formulated was symbolic of their use of food to generate and maintain a hope of freedom. Through the discussion of such things as the history of sugar, its mass production and consumption, to the fulfillment of the preconceived and increased wants/needs of the American consumer, Mintz shows us how eating is influenced by an array of outside forces, inclusive of demands of war, i.e. (Coca-Cola becoming the global beverage of choice), massive material consumptions, moral judgments, and the national obsession with fitness. Mintz goes on to explore contemporary American eating habits and discusses if there is such a thing as the existence of an American cuisine.
Eating fast carries with it many social consequences. For example, it increases commercialization which in turn through nifty marketing ploys increases consumption. We rely on fast food to get us through the day because it is convenient, affordable, time-efficient, but mostly because it is what we are told we want. One out of three Americans is 20 or more lbs. overweight, which is characterized as clinically overweight.