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Time never stands still and changes take place in every sphere of life of humanity. The same is true for food and meals traditions – due to quite rapid development of modern technologies, changes related to the pace of living, and influence of foreign traditions that are becoming extremely popular among teenagers in the East, modern ways of cooking in Dubai are quite different from ones that were popular a few decades ago. Considering the important role that cooking plays in our culture, it is necessary to conduct research allowing us to define how family meals and food traditions in Dubai have changed and which processes acted as prerequisites to such changes. The research question that needs to be answered with the help of the given paper is the following: how have family meals and food traditions in Dubai changed with the lapse of time and which factors have contributed to such a situation?
Food culture in Dubai and UAE, in general, has changed due to many factors such as the development of modern technology providing people with access to millions of recipes. Apart from that, it can be said that modern people in Dubai are often pressed in time, and this is why ways of cooking that consume less time are growing in popularity. Also, it is necessary to understand that wide use of social media and online communication remains a factor that encourages a kind of exchange between representatives of different cultures. Due to that, Western food becomes even more popular among teenagers and it may have a negative impact on traditional culture in Dubai and assumptions of the younger generation (Ali, Jarrar, Abo-El-Enen, Al Shamsi, & Al Ashqar, 2015). The culture of food consumption in the United Arab Emirates remains an important topic for many researchers. As it is clear from the article devoted to food atlas of the United Arab Emirates, a lot of food which is popular in the country is not traditional for the region (Al Marzooqi, Burke, Al Ghazali, Duffy, & Al Yousuf, 2015). Traditional dishes popular in the country include kubbe, khema, madhroba, fatoush, balaleet, and many others. Nevertheless, the consumption of dishes from other cuisines such as pizza, pasta, cheesecake, and sushi seems to grow as well due to the popularity of western lifestyle among teenagers. In fact, consumption of traditional food in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, in general, has decreased recently; another reason why such a situation occurs is teenagers’ and young adults’ concerns related to body image. Due to the popularity of a healthy lifestyle and willingness to lose weight, many university students in the country refuse to eat traditional dishes (Al Dhaheri, Al Ma’awali, Laleye, & Washi, 2014). In the past, a lot of attention was paid to family meals at home; having a family meal was both a way to spend time and a symbol of unity. Although it has been proved that family meal frequency influences children’s eating behavior, some families tend to apply other eating practices due to the lack of time (Al Amoodi, 2016).
As is clear from the results of the research, there are certain changes related to food consumption in Dubai. Among younger people, traditional food becomes less popular due to its calorific capacity (Zafari, Allison, & Demangeot, 2015). People of the older generation pay less time to cook and the popularity of foreign dishes grows but family meals with traditional food served still remain an important part of life in Dubai. The most important factors contributing to such a situation include the spread of western culture and lifestyle changes.
Al Amoodi, S. (2016). Family food environment and child eating behavior in a private school of Abu Dhabi. Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise, 1(1), 33-50.
Al Dhaheri, A. S., Al Ma’awali, A. K., Laleye, L. C., & Washi, S. A. (2014). Nutritional knowledge of Emirati traditional foods and body image perceptions among UAE university students. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 26(10), 853-860.
Al Marzooqi, H. M., Burke, S. J., Al Ghazali, M. R., Duffy, E., & Al Yousuf, M. H. S. (2015). The development of a food atlas of portion sizes for the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 43(1), 140-148.
Ali, H. I., Jarrar, A. H., Abo-El-Enen, M., Al Shamsi, M., & Al Ashqar, H. (2015). Students’ perspectives on promoting healthful food choices from campus vending machines: A qualitative interview study. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 512.
Hussain, H. Y. (2015). Obesity and overweight among Dubai population, prevalence and associated risk factors. Cross sectional analytical study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 44(1), 133.
Zafari, K., Allison, G., & Demangeot, C. (2015). Practising conviviality: Social uses of ethnic cuisine in an Asian multicultural environment. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 32(7), 564-575.