Accept all substitutes : a historical analysis of cultural taste patterns through an examination of mock cuisine.

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


Mock foods describe a subsection of foods that essentially are transformed in one way or another to emulate a different food in an attempt to subvert one or more of the sensory experiences of eating. Mock foods have been utilized throughout history for various reasons and remain an important category today. Some uses of mock foods include illusion foods during Roman and Medieval times; recipes made during times of hardship such as the Great Depression in the USA and WWII rationing in the UK; and dietary substitutes for health or moral reasons. Though mock foods are actually much more ubiquitous than the average consumer might think, there are few discussions about them. The analysis of mock foods is useful in an anthropological context because they hold great symbolic value and can tell us a lot about their respective historical and cultural contexts. In this paper I will first explain the importance of studying food in general and how mock foods represent a distinctively significant topic in that study. I will then explore mock foods of the past and present and analyze their symbolic meanings and speculate on the role that mock foods will play in the future of our food system.