International Journal of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics Volume 3 (2017), Article ID 3:IJCND-122, 6 pages
Research Article
Meals and Eating Practices within a Multi-generational Approach: A Qualitative Insight Study

Christine Brombach

Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Einsiedlerstrasse 34, CH-8820 Waedenswil, Switzerland
Dr. Christine Brombach, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Einsiedlerstrasse34, CH-8820 Waedenswil, Switzerland; E-mail:
24 July 2017; 11 September 2017; 13 September 2017
Brombach C (2017) Meals and Eating Practices within a Multigenerational Approach: A Qualitative Insight Study. Int J Clin Nutr Diet 3: 122. doi:


Background: Eating behaviour is predominantly learned in childhood during socialisation, growing up in a cultural context. Various studies suggest that parents play an important role in the patterning of the eating behaviour of children. Very few studies consider the development of meals and eating practices in the context of multi-generational influences, therefore, the aim of this research project was to investigate influences on eating behaviour in one multi-generational family, presently living in South-West Germany. The parents, first generation (F1), were born at the end of 19th century. The couple had 15 children, the second generation (F2), and two of those children are alive today. There are 31 grandchildren (F3) and 50 great grand children (F4) and currently more than 10 great grand children (F5). The purpose of this study was to gain insights into the onset of eating behaviour and eating practices within a single multigenerational family perspective.
Methods: This study is a single case study of a multi-generational family living in South-West Germany. Qualitative interviews with an aide-mémoire were used within the matrilineal branch of the family, tracing four generations and spanning a time frame of three centuries.
Results: The predominant role of women in meal preparation, use of family recipes, customs and food practices can be traced into the F4 generation. It appears that the matrilineal dissemination of meal structures and opinions, family recipes, use of cherished cookbooks, customs, is stronger than in the patrilineal mode and can be traced to the F4 in the present.
Conclusion: To date very few studies have been conducted with a three generational, let alone multigenerational, approach on tracing eating practices within one family. The findings permit a better understanding of the onset of eating practices in a broader familial and cultural historical context.