Before reading the excerpt from Intro to Food Studies, I had a general idea of what food studies entailed as a field. I’ve been fascinated by food history, food science, nutrition, and cooking since I was in middle school, and a good two-thirds of my personal book collection falls squarely into those categories. Getting more into Sociology and Anthropology as fields have further allowed me to explore topics like systems of production, consumption, and distribution of food; food justice advocacy work; and permaculture training. A lot of what Miller and Deutsch wrote of in this excerpt really excited me. It gave great examples of how Food Studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field, and how it can draw on a huge body of related disciplines and skill sets, modes of thought, and methods of research. I particularly found the four excerpts from papers interesting, as they were all clearly related to food, but came at the topic from very different angles and with very different aims. Honestly, I’ll probably go and look up some of the papers after this!
Jeff Miller and Jonathan Deutsch’s Introduction to Food Studies serves as a perfect first read for the class, as it explains the concept of food studies and provides several different examples of the various methodologies that make up the food studies field. Prior to reading this article, I did not have a full understanding of what food studies actually was, however after reading the article I realize that food studies is not solely centered around food, but around the relationship between food and human day-to-day life all around the globe. After defining food studies, Miller and Deutsch claim that food studies is made up of four main methodologies: ethnographic, historical, cultural/media based, and quantitative. This shows that the field of food studies can be studied in many fundamentally different ways and is inherently diverse. Furthermore, food studies includes a vast amount of experts and authors from a wide range of disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, social psychology, amongst others. This shows how broad of a range of topics and disciplines food studies covers, and how much food is ingrained in the systems and processes of our world, which I find extremely fascinating.
The assigned reading was very interesting and changed my whole view on this class and food in general. Before reading this, I was thought about food in a very shallow way. The article expanded my view, especially when the author brought up the statistic about food being a 4 trillion dollar industry making up 10% of the world’s GDP. Also, I liked how the author went on to explain how food is related to the human experience in depth. He went on to break down the experience into four different perspectives. The author presented the idea that “food can tell stories of migration, assimilation, and resistance.” I was able to relate to this idea because of some of the stories my grandma would tell me about some of the soul food growing up and the experiences and stories that came with the stories. This article allowed me to look at food in a different way and look at my experience with food from a different perspective.
The introductory chapter of Miller and Deutsch’s Food Studies was an interesting and enlightening read. I appreciate that the authors took time to tease out the differences between multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies, and to address the specific differences between various methodologies. Understanding how a sociologist might study foodways differently from a historian or nutritionist helped me understand the many approaches one can take to food studies. As an aspiring material culturalist, I also appreciate that they separated food studies from food science. The study of how food is embedded with identity interests me the most about food studies, and I am looking forward to learning more throughout the semester.
The article focused on the relationship between food and the American experience, which is certainly a big topic, but then narrowed it to four different perspectives. It was a great opening to the study of food. I was struck by the observation that “food habits represent powerful systems of symbols.” From food production to preparation to consumption, we can see symbols in every step. I was also intrigued by the assertion that what we choose NOT to eat is more telling than what we choose to eat. You can readily see the cultural influence in that statement. The end of the article outlined varying areas of interest of the Association for the Study of Food and Society. While most of the areas are familiar, one I did not recognize: Applied Nutrition. Perhaps this will become clear with future readings.
After reading ‘Food Studies’ by Jeff Miller, I have learned so much about how I think about food in my life. When reading about how you speak about food I realize that can build relationships and find dislikes about things. For example sometimes talking about certain foods can make me feel sick or my mom gags sometimes towards things we dislike but also when talking about love for food you feel like rumble in your stomach about what you want and crave it. I also enjoyed the part about how food can tell stories, thinking about my papa always cooking things but never having a recipe and me having to call him and tell me step by step with no measurements. This makes me look back at my day to day life more and about food.
Tyler Carnohan Introduction to Food Studies Blog Post. January 21st 2022. After reading through the assigned reading for this week, I was surprised to learn just how many different methods and disciplines make up the Food Studies branch of learning such as the Gastronomica being a source of both scholarly and non-scholarly articles. In reading the four small sections that described different methods of investigation that comprises the discipline most notably the interviews done with the four adult Mexicans who were asked to speak about their experiences with school cafeteria programs in their youth. This particular section struck a cord with me, because a lot of the discussion brought up about the society norms and practices that develops during our school cafeteria days is one I could relate with. The problems and conflicts that they experienced during their times within the American School Lunch program was one that either I experienced first hand such as the social anxiety of choosing where to sit and with whom of which I experienced myself as well as how our own dietary choices are shaped by these formative years was quite enlightening to read. I can factually say that much of my own food choices and tastes were effected as a result of my time within the public school system of which I would say was a mostly negative experience. In my opinion the quality both visually and taste wise of the food that was served during my in the K-12 public school system were detrimental to the formation of my own tastes. Many of the dishes served such as chicken parm, calzones, and other similar cheese based meals were wither ruined for me because of their low quality in regards to their looks and taste.