Mealtime and meal patterns from a cultural perspective
AbstractThe meal is universal, existing in every society, culture and social class, but its symbolic meanings differ across individuals and groups. Encyclopaedias define a meal as a certain amount of food eaten at a specific time, some researchers define the meal as part of the eating space, and some by nutritionally distinguishing meals from eating events, such as snacks. Meal patterns and meal orders in Sweden have changed considerably over the centuries according to historical evidence. In modern society there is a tendency towards increased grazing behaviour and perhaps also towards a decrease in sharing family meals, but these phenomena require further investigation. Research on meals, or ‘‘meal research’’, has been developed and now represents two new academic disciplines in Sweden. The first department to establish this new academic discipline by establishing a professorship was the Department of Domestic Sciences, Uppsala University. The aim of meal research is to take a holistic perspective on nutrition and food studies, to which studies at the department have contributed during the past decade. Keywords: culture; meal patterns; meal research; mealtime
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