Food often plays an important role in social interactions in a culture. For example, in Chinese, cuisines, portions are often orient towards families instead of individuals. This reflects the family oriented and collectivist nature of the Chinese. American foods, on the other hand, tend to be based on individual portions. Choices of cuisine also reflect the religious and spiritual values of those who make the cuisine. Jewish cooking for example, does not contain foods considered “unclean,” reflecting the dietary restrictions of the Jewish Law.
Indian food often contains less meat and more vegetarian options, reflecting the value that some Indian religions place on animal life and the spiritual preference for a diet that does not involve eating animals. Foods common in different cultures also reflect their history. Beef and pork are common in Western cultures, because during the Middle Ages, such meats were only affordable by the nobility. As a result, access to meat was considered a sign of wealth and a status symbol.