Unity through Mythical Foods

19 Oct

Mythical foods have a magical element to them; they empower people and serve as a symbol, connecting them to the past. In Momotaro’s story, Momotaro comes to earth in a giant peach and is found by an old woman who takes him in. She and her husband decide to name the boy Momotaro, which translates to “peach boy” in English. Thus, a magical story about peaches in Japan emerges.

Johnny Appleseed is the magical story of how apples spread throughout the United States. The myth claims that Johnny Appleseed was a legendary American who planted and supplied apple trees across much of the United States of America. He loved apples so much that he wanted everyone to be given the opportunity to taste the fruit, thus, he planted apple seeds wherever he went. He is portrayed as a successful man with a simple life. In fact, myth claims that Johnny Appleseed would travel around with a cooking pot as a hat and no shoes. He is portrayed as a nature loving, kind, and gentle man.

In Momotaro’s story, millet dumplings serve as patriotic and heroic foods that give heroes the strength to fight. They were given to him by the old man and woman who took him in. Throughout the story, the dumplings serve as food that Momotaro uses to lure others to fight with him. They give Momotaro and his friends a sense of unity that leads to victory. The apples in Appleseed’s story serve a similar function as they unite the United States, bringing together the eastern and western parts of the country. As Johnny Appleseed peacefully traveled across the United States planting his seeds, he broke down the barriers of the east and west. His story glorifies apples as a very patriotic fruit with a rich past.

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