What about Italian food? Thai food? Chinese food? The answer may or may not surprise you.
A new report from New York University’s chair of nutrition and food studies Krishnendu Ray found that what we are willing to pay for certain cuisines is an indicator of just how we think about race, class, and ethnicity.
Ray analyzed data from Zagat and finds that Americans have been willing to shell out more for French food than just about any other cuisine since at least 1984. It also shows we expect to pay less for Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine.
What the research shows is that the price we are willing to pay for different foods is tied directly to people’s ideas about class and social status. Ray offers two examples that might make you wonder just how shallow we, and our taste buds really are:
What’s going on today? He says our fascination with quinoa, avocados, mangos and Bolivian cherimoya is result of Americans growing more leery of industrialized, processed food systems, “so anything poor, exotic people do far away could be a good thing.” So expect prices to go up!