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Food, Fun and Friends in France and the Southern United States of America

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English 1101 Final Research Essay

30 July 2011

Food, Fun and Friends in France and the Southern United States of America

Red wine, sweet tea, ice cold beer, chilled champagne, soft drinks, croissants, barbeque, fried chicken, bleu cheese, American processed cheese...all of these are symbols of good eating and drinking. Furthermore, these symbols are commonly enjoyed by two diverse and unique cultures; the French and the southerners of the United States of America. What underlying factors link these two diverse and unique cultures together? It is a common assumption that the French culture enjoys extremely rich and fattening foods, along with the fact that the French are obsessed with having a good time. It is just as well known that Southerners also enjoy the same rich and fattening foods, and they too know how to have a good time eating and drinking. Research has shown similarities and differences in immigration, social interaction and diet habits between the two cultures.

The United States of America is known as a huge 'melting pot'. America is made up of many nationalities and the southern region represents that same multi-cultural picture. "The population of the Southern United States is made up of many different people who came to the region in a variety of ways, each contributing to what is now called 'Southern cooking'(Food In Every Country)." The various cultures included American Indians, Spanish explorers, West Africans, Creoles, and Cajuns. Each diverse group introduced foods, spices, and cooking techniques, which have ultimately factored in how today's foods of the south are prepared. A particular region, namely Louisiana, is greatly influenced by French culture. Louisiana was once a colony and strongly habituated by Creoles. "They came to colonize, but were still connected to France and they brought their French culinary heritage with them (Burgess, 2007)." The French were among America's earliest explorers but did not settle in large numbers like the English. This explains why the cultural influence is most evident in the southern regions. Another aspect that displays a similarity between the French and the Southerners of the United States of America is the characteristic of social interaction.

Although the French culture is more adamant regarding nightly family 'sit down' dinner, and American culture tends to enjoy their dinner on the go, it is obvious that both cultures commonly share the same desire for social interaction (Borade). Let the good times roll or Laisses Bon Temps Rouler are phrases commonly understood in France as well as the southern United States of America. These terms describe the importance of the three Fs, food, fun, and friends.

...France represents the good food, the good wine but if in France these two characteristics are so well preserved this not only for the pleasure of eating but, an all above, for the pleasure to be together. I think that the French cooking has found its place because the French culture also is social interaction...A meal is the occasion to speak with others... (France_1).

Social Interaction is defined as the process in which people act toward or respond to others (Rodgers). While social interaction is enjoyed by mostly everyone, a particular region of the south that couples social interaction with food is South Georgia. Specifically, during football season, food and social interaction are evidence in the ritual of tailgating. "Fall in the South is nothing without good food, great friends, and combining the two before the big game" (Tailgating). It is common knowledge that large football rivalry games are not complete without huge tailgating parties. This is a social interactive event that is enjoyed by southerners. During these tailgating parties, a variety of foods are

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