Canadian urbanites embracing world cuisine

Researcher provides insight into how committed Canadian foodies actually are

FREDERICTON, May 28, 2011 /CNW/ - A study of Canadian families in Toronto and Vancouver says most are happy to eat ethnic foods, but even if people are open to trying things, European cuisine is still a favourite. Sarah Cappeliez, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, is presenting this weekend at the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Cappeliez's work examines how cosmopolitan Canadian urbanites are in their eating habits through interviews with families of European descent in downtown Vancouver and Toronto. These are ethnically diverse cities and people in the centre are exposed to foods of many cultures. Cappeliez found that how these individuals deal with variety differs.

She was able to divide interviewees into three categories: Maximizers, Pragmatics and Tentatives.

The Maximizers, she says, take advantage of diverse foods on offer. They are interested in a variety of ethnic foods, and actively seek them out, sometimes driving across town in search of a particular ingredient.

They are concerned also about 'authenticity' and are interested in acquiring knowledge through what she called formal channels. For them, it is akin to an intellectual endeavour. They also tend to be the group with the highest income.

The Pragmatics, says Cappeliez, are open to trying new foods but won't go out of their way to find it. They will stick with what's they can get in their neighbourhood, and rely on friends and acquaintances to introduce them to new things. The key word for the Pragmatics is 'exoticism.' They see new foods as a way of being introduced to different cultures, and don't worry about techniques or authenticity.

The Tentatives, says Cappeliez, are the smallest group. They are not very interested in seeking out new foods, though they are increasingly aware of the diversity out there and have a made a few changes in their diet.

Cappeliez says her study shows that despite the wide variety of foods available in cities, a taste 'hierarchy' comes into play with food. For example, she says that despite their openness to other cuisines, the Maximizers still tend to favour the European cuisine and recipes that are a part of their heritage.

Get more from the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences brings together scholars, graduate students, practitioners, and policy-makers to share groundbreaking research and examine the most important social and cultural issues of the day. This year's Congress is co-hosted by the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University and runs from May 28 to June 4.

The Congress program includes original research from across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, providing a great collection of expert sources and innovative story leads. If you are interested in accessing the latest research in the social sciences and humanities, please contact us to be added to our mailing list.

SOURCE Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

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