Essay: Atheism, food science and bland food

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Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1] Paul Edwards, who was a prominent atheist and editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, defined an atheist as "a person who maintains that there is no God." [2]

The Institute of Food Technologists defines food science as "the discipline in which the engineering, biological, and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of deterioration, the principles underlying food processing, and the improvement of foods for the consuming public".[3]

Atheistic cultures with bland food

Claude Lewis wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the food is the former Soviet Union which had militant state atheism:

Many people in the Soviet Union have grown tired of institutionalized food in state-run cafeterias found at state-run cafeterias such as Stolovaya No. 22 and Stolovaya No. 23 where the menus seldom change and often lack variety. Most food in the Soviet Union is unimaginative, tasteless and bland.[4]

Several Nordic countries have high atheist/agnostic populations within them (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Nordic food is often depicted as being bland.[5]

A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".[6] See also: British atheism

International food authority Andrew Zimmern said of Britain's food: “Twenty years ago the food of the British Isles was universally considered to be among the world’s worst—boring, bland and boiled.”[7]

Germany is one of the most atheistic countries in the world and the website adherents.com reports that 41-49% of Germans are agnostics/atheists/non-believers in God.[8]

Parlour Magazine reported about German food:

From a young age the German palate is adapted to enjoy the simple flavors of salt, wurst (sausage) and breadcrumbs, shunning anything too sweet, too spicy or too complex.

...I do occasionally enjoy a bit of spice and this is the dilemma. I grew up in a West Indian household led by my grandfather who was a chef, to say I was spoiled in terms of flavorful food would be an understatement. The pepper, the curry, the jerk – all flavors that fueled my youth and make me feel at home. How I survive in Germany, the land of bland, is a mystery to most who know me.[9]

Notes

  1. Multiple references:
  2. Putting the Atheist on the Defensive by Kenneth R. Samples, Christian Research Institute Journal, Fall 1991, and Winter 1992, page 7.
  3. Heldman, Dennis R. "IFT and the Food Science Profession." Food Technology. October 2006. p. 11.
  4. Making A Beef About Soviet Food
  5. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/13/244600582/new-nordics-cool-but-old-scandinavian-food-holds-its-own
  6. Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  7. Five myths about British food
  8. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics(Zuckerman, 2005)
  9. Black in Berlin: Surviving Germany’s Food Culture, Parlour Magazine