The purpose of this assignment is to explore cross cultural aspects of food and nutrition through an interview with someone from another culture heritage, and through participant observation of other cultural foodways at a public eating establishment. Students will learn about alternative cultural norms regarding food and nutrition. This assignment should take student 5-6 hours total, so budget your time accordingly.
Format and submission
This assignment must be placed in D2L Dropbox by the due date on the course schedule. Students will submit assignments in a word document (Pages from Mac must be converted and there are downloads to help with this).
Assignments will be typed in 12 font, Times New Roman or Arial font (no larger), one inch margins, and will be over 2, but under 4 pages, single spaced.
Add title (Cross Cultural Foodways Awareness: Interview and Observation Assignment) and name to header along with page numbers.
Students will use headings described below in the assignment to separate sections and will write in first person. For the observation section, students will not use any full names of persons.
Students will use complete sentences, good grammar, use spellcheck, edit work, and organize the writing for good composition.
Assignments will be handed into Turnitin, so it is essential students do their own work. Students will be able to submit assignments ahead of time, check originality report. The originality reports (or similarity reports) reveal any work that is not original from a pool of papers submitted and from publications: it will show a percentage and there should be no more than 10% similarity and you can view individual instances. Be sure to do this a day or two before the due date and revise and resubmit as needed. Here is a webpage on viewing originality reports—alternatively, go to YouTube and search for Turnitin Originality reports and you will find a visual guide.
There are three parts for this assignment and students will assemble data (answers to questions below) into a narrative essay format with headings for each part.
Part 1: Cross Cultural Interview
For the first part of this assignment, student will conduct a semi-structured interview using the questions below (only via phone or internet interview). Students will then gather what they learned into a summary narrative of 2-4 paragraphs about cross-cultural foodways gleaned from the interview, to hand in for this assignment. The heading for this part should read Cross Cultural Interview.
First, find a person with a cultural heritage different from your own. (I will be more flexible with who you select–only use phone or internet interview) Try to choose a person who may be newer to U.S. culture, or who has everyday cultural practices that may diverge from mainstream American culture. The person cannot be a family member, significant other (boyfriend/girlfriend; wife/husband, etc) faculty or staff at WCU, or a roommate. Describe what you are doing for this assignment to them, and be sure to obtain permission from this person to conduct the interview for this assignment. Please only use the first name of the person you interview in your essay. Additionally, students will need to describe how this person fits the description of a person newer to U.S. culture, or who has everyday cultural practices that may diverge from mainstream American culture in their essay.
Please read box at the end of assignment about “Points to remember” for interviews before your conduct your interview. Be sure to be respectful of different ideas, and respectful of their time. Record answers on a piece of paper.
Use the questions below for your interview. Write down responses from the person you interview. If you do not understand an answer, ask another question to clarify. This is your data that you use to write your essay. Use the answers to guide the writing of your narrative essay. If there is no response to a question, explain this in your essay. You need to ask all the questions listed and include them in your essay to receive full credit. If you have questions about some of the food your participant tells you about, ask them and/or look up some of the foods using the website (be sure to add references at the end of your essay and cite the website): www.foodbycountry.com .
How many generations has your family (mother and father) been in the U.S.?
What do you consider your ethnic heritage to be?
Is one side of your family more culturally dominate than the other? If so, which one and why?
Traditional Foodways:
What are traditional foods you eat every day? (name at least three)
What foods that you eat/do not eat for religious reasons (identity).
What is a typical traditional first meal of the day? How often do people traditionally eat throughout the day and when do they eat those meals? What foods are necessary in order for it to be a “meal”?
What traditional foods are considered snack foods?
What foods are used for therapeutic reasons and how?
Which traditional foods are considered high status foods in your culture?
What is your family’s favorite traditional meal and how is it prepared (can list more than one)?
Describe a traditional holiday meal your family typically prepares.
How is the way you currently eat different from the traditional diet of your heritage and why? (provide some examples)
Part 2: Participant Observation
You have already viewed a few videos describing the process of participation observation for the first assignment. For COVID, this will be remembering a past experience and for the assignment you cannot go into public this semester. You could get takeout and answer questions as best you can. I will be flexible with grading this portion of the assignment – do your best! Gathering data through observation is very helpful for nutrition professionals and can take some skill to do well. It is also a great form of data collection for understanding foodways and nutrition for beginners—and can be fun. It is a form of qualitative research and a great way to engage in standing in someone else’s shoes—to develop “sympathetic introspection”. Write field notes down during your observation. Use the data collected in this section to write a 2-4 paragraph essay on your observation as a participant in a new foodway. The heading for this section should be Participant Observation.
Next, your assignment is to conduct participant observation by eating a meal at a public food service establishment that serves food from a different culture than your cultural/ethnic heritage, and that you have not visited before, or one that is new to you. This assignment CANNOT be a retrospective account of a place you visited in the past, but must be accomplished during the semester (if you have difficulty with this, please discuss with your instructor). Use one of the following guides to find a restaurant nearby (many of them are on social media and some have apps) and be sure to describe how you found the food service establishment :
Menupages for Philadelphia: http://philadelphia.menupages.com/. This website allows you to choose restaurants in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs by neighborhood and/or ethnic foodways.
Allmenus webpage: http://www.allmenus.com/pa/west-chester/ . Allows a search by some ethnic foodways.
OpenTable webpage: http://www.opentable.com/philadelphia-restaurants?mn=41. Allows a search by large city (Philadelphia) and ethnic foodways.
Suggested but Optional: Go to the Restaurant Opportunities Center to see if the restaurant you are eating in follows ethical standards in treating employees. Download the App for smartphones at: http://rocunited.org/dinersguide/ . You might want to add a line or two to your essay about what you find.
Collect the following data to guide your observation:
In your narrative essay, be sure to start out naming the place where you ate, where it is located, the type of culture and/or cuisine, how you discovered the place, and the day and time you went.
Describe the ambiance and facility.
What type of service did you have (full wait staff service or buffet) and did they talk to you about the menu and explain foods or ways to order?
Describe the menu and meal composition/structure/order (language, descriptions, order by food types or courses).
Was there a special order to how you ordered food (separate courses) or any accompaniments provided (a type of bread)?
How were menu items presented—as a meal and full plate already composed, or as dishes to be shared, or a la carte (each item ordered separately)?
Describe your meal (foods ordered, likes/dislikes and why)
Describe the portions. Were you full?
What were the predominant flavor principles that you could define in your meal and for the menu/ethnic foodway overall? If you have questions this, research answers using the website (be sure to add references at the end of your essay and cite the website): www.foodbycountry.com .
What was the staple starch, protein, and primary vegetables in for the ethnic foodway and on menu? If you have questions this, research answers using the website (be sure to add references at the end of your essay and cite the website): www.foodbycountry.com .
Describe how “Americanized” you think the food was and why.
Describe what you see about food and people:
Do you notice any patterns in how people interact, their foodways (purchasing, finding a place to eat, foods they choose, who they interacted with, who they did NOT interact with)?
What are people doing while they eat? Do they sit alone or with others?
What did you notice about people’s foodways and social interactions that you did not realize? What does it tell you about your own foodways?
Part 3: Summary
Use the questions below to compose a one-paragraph-summary of what you learned from the cross cultural interview and observation together.
What did you learn about cross cultural foodways from the interview and observation experience?
What were two (2) similarities and two (2) differences between you and your interview subject with respect to foods, celebrations, diet, culture, etc.?
What foods mentioned by your interviewee: are new to you, or impressed you the most, or were most interesting to you, or have you never eaten? Explain.
What appeals to you about his/her diet and foodways? Explain.
What does not appeal to you about his/her diet? Explain.
What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?
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Discipline: Nutrition culture