The Anthropology of Food Food not only sustains bodies, but also reflects and shapes cultures, social identities, and systems of power. In this course we examine the relationship between food and culture. Beginning with an examination of the origins of cooking, we will go on to analyze a variety of approaches to understanding the food/culture/society relationship. These include the symbolic meanings of food, the role of food in constructing social and cultural identities, and the relationship between food and political and economic systems. Our examples will be cross-cultural (Africa, South and East Asia, Europe, and the Americas).