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Family and Food

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The Somali Bantu diet and family structure have changed since their immigration to the US. While corn remains a staple part of their diet, there is more of a variety in their diets since coming to America. This variety, however, is not enough to ensure adequate nutrition since their diet now contains much more sugar and carbohydrates. Social structures have also changed. Food preparation, previously done entirely by the women and mothers, has now adapted to include help from fathers. Child raising responsibilities are also shifting. Family structures are changing because of marriage laws in the US which forbid polygamy, a common practice in Somalia, and because hectic and incompatible schedules prevent visits from extended family which disrupts family ties and relationships.  Somali Bantu families are changing as a result of the cultural environment of the US, new economic demands, and the fragmentation of family life in the US. Despite these challenges, the community strives to maintain the culture of family and food that they brought from Somalia.

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