Globalization is the process through which the entire world turns into a small village whose people have the same traditions, culture, language, and way of living and habits; including food habits. The implications of globalization on the Arab countries are various and remarkable for it has changed our concepts of many things.
?Food is the oldest global carrier of culture??. Even though, globalization has brought us many food habits that are different from our culture for ?food has always been a driving force for globalization???. One of these new food habits is fast food that was brought to the Arab world from western countries; specifically from the United States of America.
Many fast food restaurants, like Pizza Hut and McDonalds, are now found all over the Arab countries. These restaurants find their customers from the children and youth through commercials and advertisements that are designed to appeal to them. People in the Arab world were impressed by the fast food culture because it was new to them, but now we may say that the Arab youth are to addict to fast food. It is to become a daily life style.
The American fast food culture spread all over the world and affected many people?s behavior and culture. ?Food and beverage companies attract attention because they cater to the most elemental form of human consumption. We are what we eat, and when diet changes, notions of national and ethnic identity are affected."
Many researchers have done a lot of researches and have made statistics for the consumption of fast food; but they were more concerned with its effect on health. In fact, fast food has various effects and in different levels. Its effect on the fabric of the Arab society has been very obvious for it caused tremendous changes to the concept of eating in the Arab world; especially on a social level.
In the past, eating was more a social habit than an essential need for life. In Yara kassem?s opinion eating was like a familial gathering.
?As for eating in the houses, it was more like a social tradition where all the family would gather around the dinning table which reflects the means of the familial coherence in Egypt, and in the Middle East countries in general. In Egyptian and Arabic movies, you can observe eating as being an important social habit?"
If we look at the Egyptian family in the past, we would find that it was consisting of different generations. We would find the grandfather or the grandmother living with the parents and their children. Each of them used to have his/her life and interests. The grand parents used to stay at home whereas the parents are working and the children studying at schools and universities.
The commons between them were not many but strong. One of these commons was food. The time of meals was a holy family gathering at when all the family sat around the dinning table taking their meals and talking while eating in a very warm familial atmosphere.
Moreover there were certain customs that were to be followed by the families concerning having their meals. The father used to sit first on the table then all the family joined him. Such customs helped to raise a sense of respect and gratitude in the children towards their parents and grand parents.
Eating was considered an important social habit that all the family had to respect, appreciate, and follow its customs punctuality. The eating process was a representative of the familial coherence and unity that the Arab societies were characterized by. This coherence used to appear clearly at feasts at when the Egyptian families used to exchange the feast common food with their neighbors and relatives. Food then was an important feature of the feasts.
We can feel now the impact of fast food culture, which was brought by globalization, on our society. Nowadays, the fast food restaurants are in everywhere and their consumers from the Arab families are buying their products in increasing numbers.
Instead of eating at the same time, in the same place, and the same food, each one of the family now just eat his own favorite meal or sandwich alone. Yara Kassem thinks that ?You just get into any of those places and get a hamburger sandwich, along with French fries and Coca-Cola, or maybe a slice or two of pizza and then leave quickly.?
The Arab families do no longer