Dorm Talks: How Food Defines Us

In Case You Forget, Dib
3 min readJul 9, 2020

Food consumption has a wide intrepretation, so it’s function as a health maintenance, identity, and also as social function itself. Food talks is much wider than a memory, meaning, but also the symbolic and social nature.

The social functions are examined for common themes and patterns, giving important aspects of the ways food can also intreprete the cultural practices and also social contribution. The researching provides explanations for how interactions influence eating behaviour and identity. It devining precious experiences of the writers among cultures in the biggest cultured country, Indonesia.

Starting a story from the past 2 years when I was living in a dorm with 29 of my friends from different provinces in Indonesia. We did made food choice everyday over consumption, but we ate together more often. We exchanged our food and ate in one same plate, the big one ofcourse.

We believed the idea of food is never reducible to what appears on plates, there is a many aspects of society that can be potraying in multitude of ways.

Some people are unfamiliar by plate sharing, but many of them are easily onway. While we did lots of activites by sharing, cooking, for huge amount of heads. We are 60 different heads, come from Sumatra, Sulawesi, Jakarta, Surabaya, till Maluku. By cooking together, we could taste different persective and listen to the story of it.

What makes food form Sumatra bring lots of savory and thick of using coconut milk. We realized Sumatra becomes the biggest coconut production in the country. It’s revealing the passionate of cooking and a clear decisive character, as I found some of my Sumatra friend look like. Generally many of food takes a long time to prepare, and also spend. The artist from Sumatra’s food is RENDANG, made from pieces of meat with heavy tasty thick dressing of coconut milk and lots of condiments. The idea of food is gives much of tasty and hot spices.

We found a very different taste when it comes to another culture, like Jogja, the region where the dorm stands. As it says each cuisine reflects its history, lifestyle, belief, and characters. Basically people in Yogyakarta (Jogja) has a special traditional food which comes to it’s culture of consumption. You will find GUDEG along the restaurant and the street.

Gudeg comes from young jackfruit (Gori) with dressing from javaness sugar (gula jawa) and also coconut milk. They add some condiments and bring brown reddish color with a Jati leaves. You’ll find tasty and sweet over the dishes. It served by chicken, tempeh, tahu (tofu), and boiled egg whiclh all cook into the javaness sugar. Absolutery sweet and tasteful.

Learning about the history of gudeg, we understand it shaped of colonialization era. Jackfruit comes into choice of people food in case of it’s easy to find, plant, and ofcourse takes easy of cooking. The character, particularly the way of talking (logat), of Jogja’s people is slowly smoother than people from Sumatra.

Food choice comes from the individual, like languange, exist as a vehicle for expressing culture. By closely realizing the reason of food choice, we come closer to understand the information about them, their views, passions, assumption and ideologist. We believe briefly it also tells stories about communities, tribes, families, adaptation, resistance, changes over time.

One grows up eating different food it will become the part of what they are.

Adibah Rasikhah Amanto, Food Studies Anthusiast