Have You Had Lunch Today?

Many people do not realize the importance food plays in today’s society. Around the world the different types of food individuals eat and the different ways in which food is eaten helps form individual and cultural identity.

As Discussed in the article “Oota aitha?” Eating culture in South India, the phrase oota aitha means “have you had lunch” and Bowan explains how this is equivalent to the English phrase “how are you.” This demonstrates how food impacts this culture, in the sense that it is a part of everyday language and instead of asking how you are they ask if you have had lunch.

The relationship between foods is prominent. For a meal to be considered a meal, or more specifically lunch many items must be included. Many items may be necessary because this can represent a families wealth and ability to support others around them. Bowan also explains “food is central to social life and an index of power, difference and inequality. Eating together is an index of social relationships shared and unshared, desired and refused.” This may be why skipping meals is not very common and can sometimes be considered rude in this culture.

Eating culture in India also consists of eating food with your hands and being able to actually taste the food. In this culture Bowan discusses how the food is eaten with your hands because “it tastes better.” one of the reasons this food might taste better is because it involves using the sense of touch as well as taste, and smell. Which could amplify the overall taste of the food being eaten.

This shapes the overall meaning food has in the south India culture and has an impact on the way people interact and communicate with one another on an everyday basis.


“Oota aitha?” Eating culture in South India by Gillian Bowan.