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Elena Belova

LBST 2102-245
December 13, 2016

Reflection Essay
After learning about four different cultures over the course of the
semester, I became interested in studying cultural origins of food
traditions. In this essay I would like to compare Russian and German
cultures through the lens of their cuisines.
To begin with, one of the most important factors forming culture is
geography. A type of landscape determines a particular way of life and
direction of an industrial development. For example, German plains
gave agriculture a great opportunity for growth. Consequently bread
became the national heritage. Similarly, for people from the central
part of Russia, bread is a very important part of diet. Type of consumed
bread is further determined by climate. In northern parts of a country
dark and heavy breads are more popular because rye can sustain low
temperatures better than wheat. As a result, any culture has its roots
in natural environment.
However, geography is not the only factor that determines culture.
Neighboring cultures enrich each other through cultural exchange. For
instance, southern German state Bavaria is located next to the country
of Austria, hence there are a lot of similarities in the types of traditional
dishes between the two. People from Ukraine and Belorussia share a
lot of recipes with people from the central part of Russia, while people
living next to Caucasus serve similar delicacies as people from
Armenia, Turkey or Georgia. Cultures extend beyond physical borders
of countries. As a man travels, he sows seeds of his culture and at the
same time absorbs the other ones.
Politics also has a great influence on culture. Our capitalistic world
rapidly undergoes the process of globalization. Its impact is enormous:
cultural exchange turns into disneyfication, which means that
fakeness replaces innate traditions. In terms of cuisine, we may see the
wave of extreme popularity of fastfood. It is a consequence of global
change in peoples lifestyles. Germans dont cook their traditional
hearty meals as they did before, because preparation takes time.
When in the middle of the 20th Germany had a very strong economy, it
started inviting guest-workers that would temporary work in the
country and then leave. Turkish guest-workers introduced Dner Kebab
to Germans and it became one of the most popular types of fastfood.
Nowadays many Russians that live in large cities also abandon

traditional cuisine due to a fast-pace life. In Russia religion played an


extremely important role in the development of the traditional cuisine.
Fasts dictated what people can eat during certain periods of time and
what they cant.
Unfortunately, globalization erases many cultural traditions and
doesnt offer anything in return.