The first step to truly accepting cultural food diversity is being respectful of other cultures’ taboos and prohibitions when it comes to eating.
Come to Terms With Your Own Taboos
Before judging another culture for things they consume that you consider food taboos, think about your own food practices. Think about why you do and don’t eat certain things, then try to take another person’s perspective when examining how and what you eat.
Perhaps foods that are normal to you seem foreign and taboo to someone else. Your consumption of beef may offend a Hindu follower or your penchant for pork may offend a Jewish person.
This cultural sensitivity can help you better understand why certain food taboos exist in one society but not in another.
Taboos Around the Globe: Keep an Open Mind
As a traveler, you’re already opening yourself up to a world of experiences and opportunities, so try not to shut down when it comes to cuisine. As the old adage describes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but it may also be true that the way to understanding a new culture is through its cuisine.
You may find the normal foods eaten around you repugnant, though most cultures consider it incredibly rude to refuse food that’s offered to you.
Maybe you’ll eat something that turns your stomach, but you could also discover many new dishes that you love.
Being Respectful of Other Culture’s Taboos When Hosting a Party
When hosting guests for a dinner party or other culinary event, make sure to keep your guests’ needs in mind when crafting a menu.
If a guest considers some foods taboo that you or your other guests don’t, try your best to be respectful by:
• Asking questions: Most people will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the things they choose to eat or avoid. It shows you are committed to being a welcoming party host.
• Doing your research: Prior to cooking a meal, read as much as you can about food taboos that come from a culture that your guest hails from.
• Making a variety of dishes: If your guest can’t consume pork, one of the major taboo foods in Islam and Judaism, but your other guests think your ham sandwiches are delicious, consider making many different kinds of sandwiches to appease everyone