Last semester I took an introductory course, Understanding Food: Theory and Methodology. Each week we explored ‘food’ through a different liberal arts discipline. These ranged from philosophy to art history to archaeology to sociology. With a little dose of theory thrown in the curriculum helped me to understand the different lenses through which you can study the broad subject of food. Going from thinking about accounting problems to contemplating the globalization of corn was quite a switch! While it was challenging, it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable semester. How can you be unhappy when your assignments include a cookbook analysis, observing farmers markets and writing a research paper about a topic of your choosing related to food?
|Charles Square Farmers Market|
I spent a lot of hours working on my final paper. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great start for not having done a research paper in at least 10 years! I combined what I was already doing regularly, visiting farmers markets and interviewing vendors, with some academic research for a paper discussing female food entrepreneurs and the Boston farmers market scene. I typically visit a farmers market 1-2 times per week in the summer and biweekly in the winter. Through my observations I was intrigued that most of the non-farm food vendors were female owned and managed. I started thinking about why this was the case? Was it something about the Boston market scene? Something about the women? The nature of the food business? There were a lot of angles to consider. I reached out to a number of these women who graciously agreed to answer questions about how they got into business and their experience at Boston area farmers markets and in the food industry. I won’t bore you with all 30 pages of my paper and exhibits, but I will work on an edited version to share on the blog.
|Chatting with Atlas Farm on the last day of the Copley Square Market|
This semester I am enrolled in another class, Anthropology of Food. I am fascinated by how people think about food, how it defines cultures, and its role in society. Do you ever think about how much food likes/dislikes can tell you about someone? And how people readily share this information? You wouldn’t normally tell a casual acquaintance about health issues or personal secrets, but you’ll readily share your food preferences (which can reveal a lot about you, I think!). The class will look more broadly at what food can tell us about human culture and society. From food centered life history to globalization to social structures, the class will look at how anthropologists approach these topics along with the necessary methodological tools.
Some of the assignments include conducting an interview and writing an essay on a food centered life history, observing a food related environment and analyzing the experience, and researching, preparing, and presenting a dish based on one of the course themes for our final class.
It is going to be a lot of work, but it will be engaging, challenging, and I think enjoyable! My blog posting frequency will likely decrease with the increase in homework, but I will do my best to keep to a regular schedule. I’ll try to sprinkle in learnings from my class along with regular recipes and features.
Thanks for your continued support and readership. I’m looking forward to a great 2011!
P.S. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win Chobani Greek Yogurt! Winners will be announced on Healthy Snack Wednesday! Enter here.