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By Cecil G. Helman (Auth.)

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Each culture usually has a set of implicit rules which determine who prepares and serves the food and to whom; which individuals or groups eat together; where, and on what occasions, the consumption of food takes place; the order of dishes within a meal; and the actual manner of eating the food. All of these stages in food consumption are closely patterned by culture, and are part of the accepted way of life of that community. In most parts of the world the actual preparation of food is 2 usually the task of w o m e n , but in many societies they are also closely involved in the production of food - milking animals, caring for poultry and livestock, and planting, tending and harvesting a wide variety of crops.

Case history: Infant feeding practices in Glasgow, UK 29 Goel et al. studied the infant feeding practices of 172 families from various communities in Glasgow. These included 206 Asian, 99 African, 99 Chinese and 102 Scots children. It was found that, after arrival in the UK, most immigrant mothers did not want to breast feed their babies. 9% of the Asian, 4 8 % of the African, and 2 % of the Chinese children had been breast fed. Of the Scots children, 99% had been exclusively bottle fed. The commonest reasons given by the immigrant mothers for not breast feeding were embarrassment, inconvenience and insufficient breast milk.

Local historical and cultural factors, as well as personal idiosyncrasies, may play a part in assigning foods to these two 8 categories. For example, in his study in Morocco, Greenwood found significant differences among his informants as to what foods were hot and what were cold, although they all agreed on the tastes, physiological effects and therapeutic value expected of the two categories. In some cases the choice of category was based mainly on personal experience; one man, for example, noted that goat meat tasted sour and caused indigestion and joint stiffness (cold conditions), and that goats could not tolerate being outside in the winter, while cattle could, and therefore goat meat was cold while beef was hot.

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