Food Increasingly Popular a Leisure Activity Background Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

food increasingly popular a leisure activity. Background Information: Food people solely 'food fuel'. Food,, aspects a leisure activity: shopping [ farmer's markets], eating, cooking, reading, TV viewing, blogging .

Food as a Leisure Activity

Conditions in the contemporary society have made it possible for people to change their perspective regarding some concepts and things as simple as food have come to represent a leisure activity. Individuals are no longer interested in eating with the purpose to satisfy this need, as many people presently regard cooking and eating as an art. Moreover, one needs to focus expansively on these concepts in order to harvest all the benefits associated with making and eating food. Food has reached a whole new level in first-world countries, considering that the financial condition that people in these countries have virtually enabled them to see food as being more than just a necessity. Numerous individuals are actively engaged in producing, buying, and selling food-related ideas with the purpose of exploiting this domain.

In spite of the fact that food is generally perceived as a means of sustenance, the social order has gradually turned its attention toward the leisure aspect of this particular concept. This influenced many individuals in perceiving it as being more than a necessity, as it came to be a way of life. People are practically making a statement through the food that they eat or cook. The food industry has presently reached a point that makes it one of the most important fields in society, especially considering the growing number of nutritionists that are apparently concerned about what the masses eat.

In spite of the fact that more and more individuals start to express interest in eating food that provides them with as many benefits as possible, "fast food, frozen food, restaurant food or simply skipping meals has replaced cooking" (Nazareth 2). People consider that they are constantly busy and perceive cooking as a leisure activity that they can only perform when they have a lot of free time. The idea of 'Super Suppers' has recently emerged as a solution to this issue, as a chain of stores spread across the world are intended to provide people with resources that they can use with the purpose of cooking food faster than they would normally do it. One of the most disturbing truths regarding prosperous communities is the fact that they have little to no time to spare for cooking, especially considering that "about half of food dollars spent in the United States are for food eaten outside the home: the restaurant industry is the biggest private-sector employer in the country" (Nazareth 21).

Food is no longer a product that needs to be consumed in large amounts in order to make people happy, as quality is more important than quantity today and as the masses have turned their attention toward the relaxation aspect of the concept. Food has been introduced to a series of domains and is an important factor in numerous groups, considering that people are currently identifying with particular types of food. "As the realm of social order (and disorder) becomes ever more constituted by and through processes that cross political and cultural boundaries, traverse staggering physical (and mental) distances, undermine established ways of doing things and create new forms of thought and practice" (Inglis & Gimlin 3), the food industry is severely affected and a lot of food-related ideas affect the process of globalization and the globalized world.

Most people regard globalization as a process that primarily affects economies. However, these respective individuals are inclined to ignore the fact that this progression is actually much more complex and that in order to determine the exact domains that are most affected by it they need to concentrate on understanding it completely. People are no longer interested in sustaining themselves by using traditional means and they focus on borrowing tips and tricks from a series of cultures that they interact with in an attempt to create the most effective living environment that they could possibly think of. This influences them in adopting enthusiastic attitudes in regard to foods that are reputed for the beneficial effects that they have on bodies and minds (Inglis & Gimlin 7).

Although it is difficult to determine exactly when the globalization of food started, it is only safe to assume that it began to be appreciated world-wide during the last decades of the twentieth century. In spite of the fact that food has travelled across the world for centuries, it is not until the recent decades that it actually came to be recognized for its potential to assist intercultural communication. Food has become very diverse and is presently available in most areas of the world in large quantities, even with the fact that there are also individuals who are unable to access it. Developing countries are especially at risk when considering the globalization of food. "Competition for a market share of food purchases tends to intensify with entry into the system of powerful new players such as large multinational fast food and supermarket chains" (Globalization of food systems in developing countries: impact on food security and nutrition 1). Traditional food markets are losing significant ground in the face of these agents and people start to have lesser access to established food sources. While one might perceive this as being detrimental for people living in these countries, matters are not necessarily critical. Corporate food industries bring along important improvements in food quality and are even likely to sell products much cheaper in comparison to domestic food producers. Consumers thus come to be more sophisticated and express less interest in products that they perceive as being less qualitative when compared to the standards brought forward by large food companies.

While people are generally more likely to experience positive changes as a result of having access to a wider and more qualitative range of foods, problems also occur as some have trouble understanding what products are safer for them to consume. This is especially disturbing, considering that "the lower socio-economic population groups drift towards poor-quality, energy dense but cheap and affordable foods" (Globalization of food systems in developing countries: impact on food security and nutrition 1). Even with the fact that these people also express interest in food as a leisure-related concept, their financial condition makes it difficult for them to actually experiences positive results as a result of being actively engaged in this process.

The masses are vulnerable to outside influences and the mass media is one of the strongest actors persuading them to put across certain attitudes in regard to food. The present-day social order has acknowledged the fact that it is essential for people to put across particular interest in regard to the effects that the food that they consume has on them in order for their experience with food to be pleasurable (both from a physical and from a mental point-of-view). Food television is one of the most important concepts in developed and developing countries and it is one of the reasons for which the masses take on particular positions in regard to some food assortments. From food programs to food channels that are entirely dedicated to providing food-related information, mass media devices are an active participant in shaping the way that people see food.

In addition to providing people with information concerning what are some of the best foods that they can possibly get their hands on, food television programs also promote social expectations. The mass media provides personalized programs for people to watch and individuals can thus view whatever they are interested in by watching their favorite programs. Consequent to watching a food-related program a person is likely to express interest in eating particular foods and in having them cooked in a certain fashion. Cooking shows started to appear in the media right after the Second World War as entrepreneurs were testing new methods of gathering large audiences. Numerous food-related television programs emerged during the second half of the twentieth century and viewers appeared to be especially interested in the concepts that they put across. American and English television operators issued food-related programs and promoted names like James Beard, and, respectively, Dionne Lucas. These people managed to draw a significant number of supporters and people started to comprehend the potential of combining food with television. Julia Child and Graham Kerr gathered numerous viewers in the 1960s and enabled individuals to learn that it was not dangerous for them to look at food as an international and intriguing affair (Adema).

While Child and Kerr are two of the most notable individuals to host a food-related television program during the early days of the industry, it was not until Martha Stewart entered the scene that these type of programs started to gather a lot of attention. This person was actively involved in the lives of her viewers by influencing them in changing their lifestyle completely. Not only was she interested in providing them with information regarding…

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