The purpose of my research was to explore how people use food as tool to build relationships with family and transmit their culture. Using interpretive phenomenology as my methodology, I hoped to uncover an “essence” about food that incorporates and transcends different generations, genders, races, religions, ethnicities, etc. I used a conceptual framework of neoliberalism and cultural hegemony to examine the effects of Western ideologies on the relationships between food, family and culture. Ten participants from diverse backgrounds were interviewed. My findings discuss five major themes – necessity, togetherness, navigating through food, nostalgia, and passing down skills and culture. The implications for my research show that social workers need to have a better understanding of the importance of food in people’s lives and the effects of neoliberalism on everyday interactions.
Keywords: food, cooking, family, culture, neoliberalism, cultural hegemony