Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reading Response

For class we were asked to read "The Pleasures of Eating" and Food Justice both pieces talked about food mainly focusing on supermarkets and where our food comes from. One thing I didn't realize before reading Food Justice was how in certain areas supermarkets may not be as close in distance as they are were I'm from. After reading that excerpt it helped me understand that supermarkets aren't always close enough and that's probably one of the most important problems to fix before we try and follow the guidelines Berry sets up for us in "The Pleasures of Eating". In a way these two pieces go in order of what should be done and then how to improve from there. In "The Pleasures of Eating" Wendell Berry provides a list of ways we can eat more responsibly. The list includes seven different things we can do ranging from being more active in the food process to eating locally or at least knowing where your food is coming from. I feel like all the different things Berry lists are important because they give reasonable options for the consumer to integrate into their daily life. Being in college with the minimum resources I have available to me it is hard to incorporate these things different suggestions into my daily life. Back home my family and I were able to grow some food/herbs and preparing our own food. I feel like it would be very beneficial for me to eventually adopt some of the suggestions like dealing with my local farmer/gardener directly to know where my food is coming from or knowing the origins of my food that I buy at the local grocery store.  In the excerpt from Food Justice that we were assigned to read Gottlieb and Joshi focus more on grocery stores and how they aren't readily available in certain areas. This is one thing that Berry takes for granted in his paper. Not everyone has access to locally made food at a reasonable price. In my town back home it was harder to get locally made food than it was to just get food from the local grocery store and hope for the best. Although I understand where Berry is coming and I agree that it is important to know where the food you're eating is important I think the first step we need to take is making sure everyone has equal access to food even if it may not necessarily be the kind of relationship Berry wants to form with local farmers. Food is a necessary part of our lives and Gottlieb and Joshi really point out the fact that supermarkets need to be readily available in all parts of the community.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Foodies in Asheville

Food is a very important part of the Asheville community. Just going downtown gives you a ton of variety when picking what you want to eat that day. So trying to find an image that accurately describes all the food that makes up the Asheville community is difficult. The image above is from a service learning trip I went on for my language 120 course this past Wednesday. At the Green Opportunities Kitchen they provided us with a delicious three course meal that they cooked in the kitchen right in front of us. This kitchen not only has their own garden, but they are completely non-profit and help feed the surrounding community solely working off of donations and the generosity of the surrounding area. I think this truly explains what Asheville is about because everyone here always works to better the community and they are always willing to lend a helping hand if you need it. The head chef asked an interesting question when the group first got there  along the lines of "how can non-profit organizations be successful without having to depend on anyone else?"   I don't think it's necessarily logical to think that non-profit organizations can run without the generosity of the surrounding community. I know with how the world is currently that we live in it can sometimes be difficult to see all the good in the world, but if you just look around good surrounds us. This kitchen for example is one great thing in this community. They help people get back on their feet and provide them life skills that they can later incorporate into other jobs although they are welcome to stay there and cook as long as they want. One woman in the kitchen has been working there for around 40 years I believe, and she was such a sweet woman that I had the honor of meeting. This dinner was such a great chance to not only escape the food from the caf, but to also have a meal that you can tell everyone in the kitchen worked hard to get out to the group. Food is such an amazing part of this town, but it's really the people that make this town the way it is. So it's not necessarily the food that depicts this amazing town it's the meaning behind the food, it's how hard everyone in the kitchen worked to make our food, and most importantly it's the experience of getting out into the community and meeting all of these amazing people that truly care about each other.   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Benefits of Service Learning

As a first year college student I expected the required hours of community service to be something I left in high school. In a way I suppose that is true, instead of  community service we now participate in service learning programs. What is the difference between community service and service learning? Well in my opinion there aren't very many differences. In both circumstances you are working to better the community by helping people in the community or working in the community itself. However, the Key center- a service learning oriented club on campus- says the " community service gives the volunteers a sense of being better than those they are helping" and "service learning as an active engagement for undergraduates in well-organized direct service projects and research in ways that respond to community-identified needs and enhance the well being of people and places while allowing students to reflect and learn about the connections between their courses and their work". As someone that did a lot of community service in high school I don't necessarily agree with the statement, but I do believe your mindset when volunteering is very important. Going in with a negative or positive outlook on these experiences will help better not only your experience, but it'll also improve the experience of the people you are working with. With the many opportunities available on and off campus to get involved I have no worries that all of these experiences will better the community. A few programs that I know of  range from working in a garden to working at schools in the area. There are many different programs we can participate in although I haven't been able to take part in a service learning activity thus far I can't wait to go and really get involved in the community.  This week I am going to the Green Opportunities event, and volunteering in the ROOTS garden on campus. I look forward to both of those events, and can't wait to get more involved with this community that will be my home for the next four years. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unusual eating habits and Generalizing soul food

After reading "Reclaiming True Grits" (Terry)  and "Eating the Hyphen" (Wong) from Food Matters by Holly Bauer it made me realize how we Americanize food in a way that the cultures where the food originated may feel weird  for eating food they could have grown up eating. "Reclaiming True Grits" (Terry) focused on how we see "Soul Food" ( Terry,82) in such a negative fattening way because when thinking of soul food we think of the "Instant Soul Food" (Terry, 82) which is basically the well known high sugar, high calorie, low nutrient food commonly thought of even though that in now way depicts what soul food really is. Soul Food is interesting, after living in the south for nine years I got to taste some soul food, it can either be amazing or it can be absolutely terrible. Granted I haven't experience the true "Soul Food" Terry mentions in the passage considering what little food I've eaten has been the "Instant Soul Food" (Terry, 82) so it would be interesting to eat home cooked soul food and see the differences. In "Eating the Hyphen" Wong focuses on her unique style of eating dumplings. Although she later elaborates and eventually explains why she needs so many different utensils and ketchup to eat a few dumplings. Now I've eaten dumplings and they have to be my favorite thing to order from Chinese restaurants, yet I've never needed a knife, fork, chopsticks, and I've never even considered putting ketchup on dumplings. Everyone has their own little quirks with different foods they eat. I found it interesting that she accounts this unusual combination from taking her American culture and her Chinese culture and mixing them up in such a way to eat dumplings with ketchup.  I think both works are interesting and give a better understanding on how Americans can generalize an entire culture based on a few findings that help to further proof why that generalization is correct. It's fine to appreciate different cultures and try food from around the world or from different areas, but when it comes to making a food have a negative connotation like "soul food" (Terry, 82) does it becomes an issue in my mind. Food is a weird thing. Everyone needs it, Everyone eats it, and there are many forms of the same food reproduced all over the world. It truly is something that connects people and helps strangers form bonds. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

College Food and other food adventures

The food in college hasn't been the high-fat food that I was worried about when coming into the school. On campus they offer many different varieties of food ranging from vegan to Indian. I appreciate these options and I think that will help me in the long run to try and avoid the freshman fifteen. I know there has been a lot of complaints about Browns food on different social media platforms, and if I'm being honest a lot of the food on campus has made me sick as well. It's not like I'm only eating pizza or pasta I've eaten a variety of different foods from different places and nine times out of ten I've left with an upset stomach. Not necessarily saying the food is terrible, but it takes time to adjust to the different ways of cooking compared to how my family cooked at home. I find my experience is similar to Kingsolver who wrote "Taking local on the road" basically telling us her experience with college food and the necessary adjustment she had to make from knowing where all of her food came from to having to eat in a college cafeteria that may not be held to the same standards as her family's farm was. She ends her story with explaining how she found a local place she can eat at that holds the same ideals as the farm she grew up on. The other story by Kingsolver "You can't run away on harvest day" explaining the process of running a farm and what it takes to "harvest" the animals. I was a vegetarian for two years, and the graphic details of how they killed the turkeys and chickens in this story made me want to run back to being a vegetarian. Kingsolver and her family were actually vegetarian at some point which I found interesting considering they now own a farm and harvest their own animals. But she made a good point in saying that being vegetarian is very expensive and not everyone can afford it especially if the land they live on can't sustain vegetables or fruit. After being vegetarian for quite some time I began to realize how expensive it was and it was  especially challenging considering I was the only person in my family who became vegetarian making any shared family meal very difficult. The great thing here on campus is that if I ever decided to become vegetarian again it would be much easier to do on this campus than it was back home. I think Kingsolver really made me curious about finding out where my food comes from, and after reading "Taking local on the road" you realize there is something for everyone you just have to look a little bit harder for it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let's get serious.....

After being assigned to read "Not just a white girl thing" and " Her chee-to heart" you realize the different opinions people have about their body, their life, and their eating habits. Although they are both different articles I think they were assigned together so we can see how truly different people are. One article gives the reader insight  on this unfortunately common eating disorder and the other shows the life of a junk food junkie."Not just a white girl thing" is about anorexia nervosa: an eating disorder that affects more than just the privileged white girl that society seems to associate this eating disorder with. It instead focuses on the idea that many different cultures and people including men have this eating disorder. On the other hand "Her chee-to heart" instead focuses on a junk-food junkie in her prime. Where she could eat whatever she wanted while ignoring the possible outcomes of the high fat and high calorie food she ate because of her age. The first article I read was "Not just a white girl thing" which made me upset and very body conscious, I empathize with anyone that has suffered from an eating disorder although I've never personally suffered through one. I know many people that have and that article just made me realize what those people suffering really go through. It's just a terrible realization when it finally hits you how much this disorder can change your life. You also realize how strong those people are that overcome this disorder. On the other hand "Her chee-to heart" had a light, humorous tone in it which is much appreciated after reading such a serious article about an eating disorder. The message from  "Not just a white girl thing" made a bigger impact on me than the other article because of the tone and the message given. Although both pieces make you think one makes you realize how the media skews our view on what "perfect" is and how we can achieve that. One point that the author brought up multiple times is how magazines will claim they found the perfect new diet to help you get the "perfect-body" you always wanted, yet on the next page it will tell you how you can be happy with yourself just the way you are. I've seen this multiple times, but having someone else bring it to my attention makes me wonder what else I may have noticed even if it didn't really register in that moment.  After reading "Her chee-to heart" I honestly didn't know how to react to the food and snacks she was eating. Some of the snacks sounded good even if they were very fattening, and others make me wonder if her stomach is made of steel. To each their own I suppose.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Comparing food choices from around the world

 After looking at the pictures provided from the book Food Matters  by Holly Bauer I further understood the different foods people eat around the world and even the different uses for cooking and storing the food. In the first photo there is a picture of the Mendozas from Guatemala. In the photo you can see a lot of vegetables and home grown food. I don't notice anything processed or unnatural. This is interesting compared to the next photo of a family from India. They have a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and different homemade foods, yet they still have little to no processed foods. They do have soda and possibly chips, but other than that the food looks all natural. The next picture shows a family from Mali shows very few completely prepared "meals" instead showing more bags of seeds and other things used to possibly make their meals. It appears that they have bags of seeds and wheat products and a container possibly for water. All of the other families so far have shown full meals so it's interesting to see a family with no pictures of the complete meals they would eat in a week. The final picture shows a family from the United States. The first thing I notice is all of the processed and prepackaged food they have. All the way in the back of the photo there appears to be a bundle of bananas and some other fruit or vegetable products but other than that everything is prepackaged, precooked, and seemingly unhealthy compared to the other families. The other interesting thing is the size of the family in each picture in comparison to the amount of food they have. The largest family is the family from Mali, yet they have the least amount of food. Considering this is the amount of food consumed in a week by this family it makes you wonder how they do it and what nutritious things that could be  missing from their diet. The smallest family with the most amount of food comes from the United States. Not only does it show all of the processed food you can also see all of the junk they consume in a week. Seeing these pictures makes you truly realize how different cultures eat and view food and family time. Besides the type of food the families eat in a week and the size of the family in the caption you can see how the family cooks and the different technological advances some cultures have over others. For example the family from Mali use natural resources like a wood fire and natural drying to cook compared to the family from India that use a gas stove and a refrigerator freezer combo.Americans know, as a whole, they have a bad reputation for their food choices and these photographs further prove that. Sometimes you have to wonder what happened that made the United States take such a different and unhealthy approach to the food they eat.