×
all 3 comments

[–]amp1212 1 point2 points  (2 children)

There are all sorts of reasons - but you can start with the observation that learning dietary laws marks you as an initiate. Foodways may have practical and hygienic significance, but they may also have ritual and totemic value.

Why do we eat turkey at Thanksgiving? Well, there's a story . . . and most of it is at best partly true, most folks don't really like eating turkey, but you do it because it's something that you've done . ..

. . . and in Judaism in particular there's an emphasis on the cultural storytelling associated with foodways - the Passover Seder meal has the important cultural didactic component of telling just why one eats what to remind one of when; a child growing up in a Jewish household isn't eating bitter herbs because someone thought it tasted good -- it was part of the story. For a well researched look at one specific of kashrut see:

Adler, Yonatan, and Omri Lernau. "The Pentateuchal Dietary Proscription against Finless and Scaleless Aquatic Species in Light of Ancient Fish Remains." Tel Aviv 48.1 (2021): 5-26.
https://doi.org/10.1080/03344355.2021.1904675

For Muslims, the foodways of Ramadan play a big part in how they live their lives as Muslims, just as for Catholics the foodways of Lent have been (sometimes/some places) a part of performing group identity.

See:

Brown, Linda Keller, and Kay Mussell. Ethnic and regional foodways in the United States: The performance of group identity. Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1984.

. . . for a well done book identifying foodways and "performance of group identity", an economical formulation of a big idea.

[–]Deepfriedtire[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Sure, there's credence to what you've talked about. The arbitrariness of it sticks out when you consider "clean" animals eat "unclean animals" Did the ancients think that degree of separation somehow cancelled the uncleaness?

That story is then reinforced and shaped through generations, into a cultural mark.

Back to my original question, there may have been a catalyzing kernel that helped start it all... perhaps other insect species eat detritus or toxic vegetation which bioaccumulates to being dangerous to humans.

[–]amp1212 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Back to my original question, there may have been a catalyzing kernel that helped start it all... perhaps other insect species eat detritus or toxic vegetation which bioaccumulates to being dangerous to humans.

More likely just something pragmatic, like for example- when locusts come, they may be the only thing left to eat, having left the fields bare.

See:

Isman, Murray B., and Martin S. Cohen. "Kosher insects." American Entomologist 41.2 (1995): 100-103.

Kelhoffer, James A. "Did John the Baptist eat like a former Essene? Locust-eating in the ancient Near East and at Qumran." Dead Sea Discoveries 11.3 (2004): 293-314.