Intoduction to Food & Society
Peasant Cookery
Restaurant History

American Food & Culture

The function of religion is to explain the inexplicable and thus give humans a sense of control over a chaotic world. Food, because it sustains life, is an important part of religious rituals, symbols, and customs; those acts of daily life intended to bring an orderly relationship with the supernatural.

It would seem that the only organized religion that does not adhere to stringent laws is Protestant. This with the exception of the Mormons, who are required to store a year’s supply of food and clothing for each person, and are supposed to fast 1 day each month, and the 7 th. Day Adventists, who observe the Jewish Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday . All food must be prepared on Friday. The dishes are not washed until Sunday.

1. All animal and vegetable components of food must be derived from approved species. These are defined by the laws of Kashrut, based on the Talmud, or the Old Testament, as interpreted by scholars. Approved animal species include four-footed animals that chew cud and have cloven hoofs, birds that do not eat carrion (that which has rotted), and fish with scales. All other animals, as well as their milk and eggs, are ruled unfit. The pig, for instance, has a cloven hoof but does not chew cud. The rabbit and camel chew cud but do ;not have cloven hoofs. Taboo are carnivores, rodents, shellfish, birds of prey, and reptiles. Most plants are approved with the exception of untithed and hybred grains and the fruit of trees that have born fruit for less than 3 years. Animals must be slaughtered in the principal of “pity for all living things”, requiring they be killed with a minimum of pain. Hunting is forbidden. Killing must be accomplished with a single, swift almost painless stroke to the trachea and jugular veins. The blood is then removed by ritual soaking. “If any man….eat blood, I will set my face against his soul and will cut him off from his people”. (Leviticus 17:11) Finally, milk and meat are never mixed. “Thou shalt not seeth the kid in the milk of its mother.”

Mormons define the human body as a temple not to be defiled by poor dietary habits and unnecessary drugs. There is a marked decrease from the rest of society in heart and cancer disease and diabetes, as well as alcoholism.

Vegetarianism is practiced because the Bible states that the diet in Eden didn’t include flesh foods. They eat milk products and eggs but not meat and are called lacto-ovo-vegetarians. (as most Buddhists. However, some Buddhists believe it is permissible to eat the flesh of an animal al long as they’re not personally responsible for killing it.) Some do consume meat, but never shellfish or pork. Nuts and beans take the place of meat. Like the Mormons, there is no alcohol, tea, coffee, or tobacco. Condiments such as mustard and pepper are avoided. Eating between meals is discouraged so that food can be properly digested.





Islam is the 2 nd largest religious group in the world – They fast to earn the pleasure of Allah, to wipe out previous sins, and to appreciate the hunger of the poor and needy.

Eating is part of their worship. It is for survival and good health. Self indulgence is not permitted. Muslims are advised not to eat more than two-thirds of their capacity and must share what they have. Food is never to be thrown away, wasted, or treated with contempt. The hands and mouth are washed before and after meals. If eating utensils are not used, only the right hand is used for eating, since the left hand is considered unclean.

Their Koran prohibits:

1. All swine. Four-footed animals that catch their prey with their mouths. Birds of prey that seize prey with their talons. (claws)
2. Animals must be killed as in Jewish laws by slitting the front of the throat. The person who kills the animal must repeat at the time of slaughter, “In the name of God, God is great”. Many will eat only Kosher meat slaughtered by Jews or Muslims. Meat is forbidden if it comes from an animal slaughtered when any name besides God’s was mentioned.
3. On fast days, they abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sex from dawn to sunset.


Considered the world’s oldest religion. Like Judaism, it is the basis of other religions, such as Buddhism. Most Hindus live in India.

Although dietary restrictions vary among the castes, all Hindus avoid foods thought to hamper the development of the body or mental abilities. Bad food habits will prevent one from reaching mental purity and communion with God.

“No sin is attached to eating flesh or drinking wine, or gratifying the sexual urge, but abstinence from these bears greater fruits”. By not eating meat, a Hindu avoids inflicting pain on an animal. The cow is considered sacred and may not be killed or eaten. As a result, when one visits India, the sight of sickly, bony cows walking the city streets creates a shock to the senses.

Fish that have ugly forms, the heads of snakes, snails, crabs, fowl, cranes, ducks, camels, and boars are forbidden. No fish or meat should be eaten until it has been sacrificed by the repetition of mantra, or prayer, chanted to offer it to the gods.

Pious Hindus abstain from drinking alcohol, do not eat garlic, turnips, onions, mushrooms, and red-colored foods. Exciting foods, such as honey, are avoided.


1. Fasting is considered an opportunity to prove that the body can rule the soul. No meat or animal products are allowed, including milk, eggs, butter, and cheese. Fish is also avoided, but shellfish is allowed. Devout Eastern Orthodox will not use olive oil but will eat olives. On the 3 rd Sunday before Lent (Meat Fare Sunday) all the meat in the house is eaten. On the Sunday before Lent (Cheese Fare Sunday) all the cheese, eggs, and butter in the house are eaten. On the next day (Clean Monday) Lenten fast begins. Fish is allowed on Palm Sunday and on the Annunciation day of the Virgin Mary. The Lenten fast is broken after midnight services on Easter Sunday.


Before 1966 abstinence was observed every Friday. Now, in the United States, six days of obligation are: New Year’s Day, Ascension Thursday (40 days after Easter), Assumption (August 15), All Saint’s Day (Nov 1), and Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8)

Fasting and abstinence were observed Ash Wed and Good Friday. Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not eggs, milk products, or condiments made from animal fat.

Go Back to Home Page

Tune in to
• Comcast Channel 22
• Brighthouse Channel 199
• Florida Cable channel 4

to watch Valerie Hart interview chefs in their kitchens in "The Back of The House". See Lake Front TV for showing times.

Food Protection Manager Certification Examination Exp. 9/14/2015