Matters of Taste: Cultural Value and Class

In this essay, I will particularly focus on the manner in which food and drink transcend their physical forms representing nourishment and necessity, and become meaningful symbolic entities which represent cultural values that both challenge and reproduce class divisions. Firstly, it will be established that food and drink maintain cultural value through constructed symbolism. I will then assess the arguments for and against the position that the cultural value of food and drink has an inextricable relationship with class.

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Imaginative Capacities

Why champion scepticism when fables offer a meaningful commentary which positively guides, directs, and reinforces approbative behaviour and mentality? In my mind, a belief in these entities triggers a complex to become receptive to the sublime and that which is worthy of awe, that is, a greatness beyond seemingly logical comprehension.

What a Honed Palate Really Signifies

But where does language fit into this picture? I believe that having a good palate is ultimately a matter of language, for it allows a championship over supposedly ineffable sense experiences. It is only language, and totally up to one’s prowess and accuracy of language, that enables our experiences through tasting to enter a public arena. For in a languageless existence, verification cannot be possible. Private intrinsic experiences are sentenced to confinement - they cannot be liberated and released into the external world without language.

Champagne as Luxury

I came to the realisation that Champagne is one of the most affordable everyday luxuries in wine consumption. But beyond the idea that Champagne is an exercise in celebration of some meritorious action, I think it’s not a matter of whether or not a person will purchase Champagne. Rather, it is a question of what brand of Champagne will be purchased. Champagne houses, through marketing, force a deeper connection with the consumer.

Consider the Homeless Man

Consider the homeless man. You may have considered the homeless as a collective noun, as a set of displaced peoples scattered throughout your town. But I want to consider the homeless individually and separate from each other, not in order to uncover their rich individual histories and circumstances, but to shift perspective on the topic. Because for the homeless man, charity represents much more - for he becomes the temporary target of good fortune and the subject of a morally beautiful and sublime action.