These Roots Remain: Food Habits in Islands of the Central and Eastern Pacific Since Western Contact

Overview

Here is a broad survey of the eleven main starch foods of Polynesia and Micronesia that draws together previously scattered information and explores both explicit and implicit expressions of food habits associated with these staples. This study addresses the question of South Pacific peoples retaining their cultural and dietary attachment to traditional food sources despite Westernization. Why does the use of root and tree starches such as taro, yams, and breadfruit persist despite the availability of other ...
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Honolulu 1992 HARDCOVER First edition Very good in slightly torn dustwrapper in good jacket 298pp, text figures, bw illustrations, octavo cloth. Institute for Polynesian Studies.

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Overview

Here is a broad survey of the eleven main starch foods of Polynesia and Micronesia that draws together previously scattered information and explores both explicit and implicit expressions of food habits associated with these staples. This study addresses the question of South Pacific peoples retaining their cultural and dietary attachment to traditional food sources despite Westernization. Why does the use of root and tree starches such as taro, yams, and breadfruit persist despite the availability of other foods? What in fact are the local concepts of food and the values attached to it? Using approaches of symbolic anthropology, social ecology, and household economy, Nancy J. Pollock explores the values of food beyond the Western concept - as a collection of energy inputs the individual body needs to function - to establish the broader role food plays in the world view of certain Pacific Island societies - that of a symbol of power and well-being that structures social life. The author finds that food comprises a carefully categorized set of symbols that help determine thought and action in Pacific societies. Food is a culture pattern, unique to each society. But some patterns are also shared and those shared patterns are due to links in times past. Pollock investigates the cultural mechanisms that have allowed certain distinct features associated with food to remain in the face of many intrusions to those societies. Extensively reviewed are the sociocultural, archeological-historical, and scientific literature on the topic, ranging from the records of early explorers, missionaries, and pioneer ethnographers to those of modern medical, nutritional, and ethnobotanical researchers, along with observations from the author's personal fieldwork. Among the topics covered are: classification, feasts, food tabus, language aspects, decision making, cooking and preservation technology, land use and control, urban food patterns, food policy issues such as dependency and
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780939154517
  • Publisher: Institute for Polynesian Studies, The
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Pages: 336

Table of Contents

Figures
Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Food Classification 22
3 Food Choices 43
4 Cooking 61
5 Preservation and Storage of Foods 90
6 Feasts and Ceremonial Presentations 105
7 Food Production and Land Tenure 128
8 Taro for Sale 164
9 Food and Health 191
10 Evaluating Pacific Diets 203
11 Conclusions 230
App A Characteristics of Starch Food Plants of the Pacific 237
App B Proto-Malayo-Polynesian and Proto-Oceanic Lexical Reconstructions Associated with Edible Plants 253
App C1 Origin and Distribution of Taro in the Pacific (map) 254
App C2 Distribution of Breadfruit in the Pacific (map) 256
App D Breadfruit in the Pacific: Local Names and Main Season 258
Bibliography 261
Index 291
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