Thursday, January 24, 2008

second night of class

This week was the second meeting of my Food and Culture in Louisiana class.

We discussed our readings and our assignment for next week:
Food Diary: 30% of total grade; 60 possible points. Each student will record every item of food and drink consumed for a 7-day period (35 points, 5 points per day). It is not necessary to record quantities or brand names; a concerted effort should be made to record consumption soon after it takes place (record the acts as they happen, not as a recollected act hours or days later). When food is consumed in a restaurant or purchased when away from home, please indicate the source of the food (i.e., “three piece spicy white meat chicken dinner with a side of red beans from Popeyes” or “1 bottle Vitamin Water, Reilly Rec Center smoothie bar”). A sample food record page will be distributed in class. In addition to the 7-day record, each student will complete a 750 word essay (25 points; typed, double-spaced, 12-point font) reflecting on the food journaling experience and addressing the following 5 questions:
Self-Awareness: Did the act of recording every consumed item created a heightened awareness of food & drink? Was the process: tedious, boring, exciting, threatening, liberating, challenging, etc?
Patterns: Does the diary reveal any patterns of consumption? Particular food habits or avoidances? Did a prior awareness of these patterns exist?
Seasonality: Would the food diary be significantly different if recorded in a different season of the year? Why or why not?
Locality: Does the food diary capture foods or consumption patterns that are intensely local? (In other words, would the diary be different if the eater lived in a different locale?)
Impact: As a result of keeping the food diary, did any shifts in consumption occur?
And our snack for this week was dried shrimp. In these days of refrigeration, dried shrimp is mostly used as a snack - like a seafood jerky. Some people use them in gumbo for a different flavor. Most dried shrimp are the small ones that would not sell well in stores or to restaurants. But before refrigeration, folks in Louisiana would dry and salt shrimp so they would have shrimp during the winter months when the weather is too nasty to go shrimping. The idea for dried shrimp probably came from Filipino immigrants that often sailed on Spanish ships in the 17th and 18th century.

We listened to this decima "La vida de un jaibero (The Life of a Crab Fisherman)," by Irvan Perez while snacking on our dried shrimp.

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