Student Workbook on the Anthropology of Food: New Dining Experience

New Dining Experience” focuses on the anthropology of food. Students will research the cuisine of another culture and choose a particular dish to study and taste. The fieldwork assignment involves consuming this chosen dish in a restaurant or home setting and writing a report on their experience. The report must engage the questions and points below and include a photo of the meal taken by the student.  Each student will submit the report as a password protected chapter of this workbook. Fellow Students will be required to comment on the chapters of their classmates for discussion purposes.

Overall questions and points to cover in the report:
1. Name the food or drink item or meal you are investigating.
2. What is the authentic form of this food/drink/ meal?
3. Do you agree with the idea that there are authentic forms of cuisine?
4. If you are able to gather a sense of it from your research, who would normally prepare
this meal or food stuff (in a restaurant or in a home setting)?
5. What are the traditions related to?
6. It is normally consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or dessert?
7. Is it connected to a particular time of the year- a festival, holiday or religious
celebration?
8. Are there any controversies surrounding this food stuff or dish?

Fieldwork questions and points for a restaurant experience:
1. Describe your meal in detail. This may include drinks
2. Name the restaurant and describe the décor (art , design of the location, colors)
3. Describe the atmosphere (music, television in background? what sort of music or
program). Quiet, noisy? Scents in the air. Languages being spoken etc.
4. The types of people dining in the restaurant. Describe what you can observe. What do
they seem to order? Do not interview anyone. Do not record anyone. Do not take
photos of people. Do not take any names.
5. The staff you can see. Describe. You are allowed to ask the staff a few questions, but
do not take names. Do not record. Write down notes only.
6. The types of utensils, table setting
7. What did this experience teach you about the connection between food, culture and
people?

Fieldwork points and questions for a non-restaurant experience:
1. Describe your meal in detail. This may include drinks
2. Describe where you consumed the meal.
3. Describe the utensils and manner in which you prepared and/or consumed this food
4. Talk about how you had to adapt this meal to this setting.
5. How do you think your experience differed from a restaurant or other traditional setting?
6. What did this experience teach you about the connection between food, culture and
people?

 

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