August 4, 2005
What I took from Heldke's chapter on "Eating in Context," is that using authenticity strategiacally has flaws. Heldke describes strategic authenticity as insiders of a culture appeal to the authenticity of their food and its controls's access to their culture by being able to claim thata cuisine is being misappropriated. Strategic suthenticity also calls for outsiders to respect and understand such claims so as to anticolonize the authenticity factor in food. Heldke also describes several of the traps to strategic authenticity faced by outsiders, including that all claims to authenticity by insiders be observed solely because they are insiders, regardless of their knowledge. Another dilemma is that there is not always a clear line to establish who is an insider and outsider, therefore having the authority to establish authenticity. The final trap Heldke mentions is the idea that certain cuisins have specific elements that must remain unchanged. In conclusion, the pitfalls of strategic authenticity can again lead to a silence of the colonized cultures which further divides Us and Them. Heldke reaffirms that their is a need, however, for authenticity because "there is tremendous power in marginalized people claiming the right to say, 'No.'"
August 2, 2005
Ashwak and I were in a history of Germany class together that emphasized the role of women in the public sphere around the first and second world wars, and since I wrote my final research paper on women in Germany from 1700 to WW2, I thought that I knew a lot about opinions on the matter, but Ashwak's article is really interesting because of the different views that it expresses and explains on the theories of Rosie the Riveter and women working in 'men only' jobs at the time. I have always found it fascinating how a culture can be ok with women doing a job only when it seems necessary, and completely condemn it as soon as the necessity disipates.
Juan's article on the penguin was a funny story, but the first part especially made me realize how little I really know on this topic. This article referenced so many places and people and events that I couldn't place contextually in any history in my brain, it made me feel not a little ashamed! I am really looking forward to Juan's presentation so that maybe I can contextualize this issue better in my brain.
I have to admit that towards the middle of Lara's article I started to scan. It was a lot of lawyer jargon, but the story of the intense racial and class discrimination that took place (oops.. and still does!) is really disgusting!! It is really interesting to me how the white community sued, saying that the plan for development in their area was a form of racial discrimination. Also, how the non-racial destruction was so well put, as if the fact of their being mixed races is a form of societal destruction in itself is so telling of the mentality of the people writing these laws and heading these boards and committees. Really, class and racial discrimination on this grand of a scale is utterly depressing.
July 29, 2005
Whole Foods Response
I got a response from Whole Foods Market today about my question on their slaughtering practices. Here is the reply I got.
Thank you for contacting us at Whole Foods Market.
Although some poultry suppliers have a slaughter plant on their
property, most contract with an outside business whose focus is entirely
on the slaughter process. In order to sell meat commercially, a plant
must be certified by the state or the USDA which is a complicated
process. Sanitation, animal welfare and transportation would be another
difficulty with slaughter at farm level, and efficient transportation
with no temperature gain is essential to safe meat reaching our stores.
Most of our producers use slaughter plants that are smaller than the
large commodity houses. They are smaller producers and so use plants
that reflect their size.
One of our requirements is that every slaughter plant used by our
suppliers is audited annually for food safety and animal welfare. We
have very stringent requirements for the way the animal is handled and
for how the meat is handled as well. After slaughter the meat hangs in
a cooler until it is chilled, then is cut into large sections and/or
cuts, packaged and shipped directly to our warehouses where it is moved
into a cooler prior to being shipped to the stores.
We have a third party auditor that has developed an audit specifically
to meet our requirements. Whole Foods Market representatives accompany
the auditor on these audits frequently.
We are confident that the meat producers we work with are exceptional in
their attention to the interest of the animals under their care, up to
and at the point of slaughter.
Under the National Organic Standards Act, organic meat must be processed
in a plant that has been certified to handle organic animals by a
company licensed by the USDA to certify compliance with the NOSA.
Organic meat must be handled completely separately from meat that is not
certified organic. If the plant processes both organic and non-organic
animals, the organic are slaughtered before the others each day. The
National Organic Standards Act is under the oversight of the USDA and
there are USDA inspectors on site at every plant we work with to ensure
the sanitation of the plant overall and the integrity of any organic
Free range and organic are two very different classifications. The 'free
range' classification does not have requirements that are as stringent
as those with an 'organic' classification in either the living or
slaughter conditions of the animal. Both must be distinguished in the
slaughter plant to maintain identity and classification.
Thank you for asking. If you have further questions, please feel free
July 28, 2005
Neestle's chapter on "Influencing Government" really opened my eyes. I feel like nothing is as it appears in our government. Everything is based on partnerships, trade-offs and lobbying when it comes to what issues are brought up, which are fully analyzed and discussed, and which ones are voted on. It is depressing to know that food lobbyists' sole purpose is to benefit private corporations, and that the corporations are solely there to make a profit, leaving us consumers of the loop. The banana example is especially alarming becuase there was no reason for the US to raise tariffs on European goods except to retaliate against the EU placing a banana import quota and to support Chiquita. This example also shows the futre of government being equated to a corporation, even more so than it already is...
July 27, 2005
In Eric Schlosser's book, chapter 8, introduce us into the most dangerous job in the food production of cattle, and meatpacking. By the way, he described his experience going into the slaugtherhouse just made me as the reader feel a chill up in my body. The thought of seeing what he see as he described those big meats being slices by long slender knifes by a lot of women, mostly young one, and Latino. Seeing those a lot workers working hards, with no happy expression on their face and sweating even the room is so cold. Seeing blood everywhere, dead cattles being hang as it is being crops, or alive cattle being shoot with pressed-air gun by a worker call sticker who does it for eight and half hours and seeing the cattle struggle for it lives( 171). It also made me feel sad for the workers and animals, but come to think of it is a different ways, without the workers that work in a place like that, and without those dead animals, there wouldn't be meats for us human..but still it a little harsh. I liked this experience that he give us about being in the food production line. However, in this two chapter ( 8 and 9), he talk about a lot of interesting things. He talks the dangerous of meatpacking. How workers still use thier hands in the slaugtherhouse despites the use of converyer belt, forklifts, dehiding machines, and a variety of power tools (172). He emphasized that lacerations are the most common injuries by meatpackers, who often stab themselves or stab other working nearly by. Where these icidents happened mostly for closer in the slaughthouse, that the OSHA is involved too with the meatpacking.
In chapter 9, Eric talk about the safetly of the meat such as what is in there, what types of bacterias got in there. I like the story he talk about this Lee Harding eat frozen hambuger and got sick so bad and when he seek help from a nurse. The meats was investigrate to be found with E. coli 0157:H7. After that issues..Eric also talks about other issues and the things that he mentions in this chapter are so true, and it made me realized that I never really consider about the safety of my meat. It so amazing that E. coli 0157:H7 can be helpful in helping us digest foods, synthesize vitamins, and guards against dangerous organisms, but release toxin that call kill the lining of the intestine and cause a lot diease like kidney failure, anemia, internal bleeding and destruction of vital organ. Reading Eric two chapter really made me have second thought about fast foods, or even foods that i eat daily. It is not that the foods is harmful, but it might depened on how the food is prepared or who prepared it first before it get to you like the in the slaughthouse, or maybe how long is keep out that bacterias get in it..This is what I think and sort of understand from his book.
July 26, 2005
In the article, "The Lost Tribes of Faribault" by Paul Demko, I think it gave the reader a blunt perspective of immigration in a very local Minnesota area. The jobs that Demko describes pay less than $10.00 an hour to work in extremely dangerous conditions--to me this seems that this pay is extremely low in comparision to the average amount of money an individual in the United States needs to survive, not to mention if they have children. People that work in factories in the United States are often not better off than in poverished countries, because the standard of living is much higher and the pressure to be middle class is often strong.
I think that it is ironic that people, like Marlene Nelson, feel that the immigrant workers are taking money away from U.S. citizens when they are in high paying jobs that work in engineering and computer programming. I think that people often forget that each ancestor of the caucasian population began as an immigrant--settled in America.
July 25, 2005
Reading the chapter on "Food Rules in the U.S." by Carole Counihan, I kept thinking, "That is so true!" over and over again. The author made it clear that the thoughts and actions of college students concerning food, greatly reflects stratification in the U.S. I found it entertaining that the most important aspects of food known to college students were nutritional qualiatities, especially calories, appetite temptation, its ability to make one fat and emotional associations. This was amusing because this is exactly how I think of food! Reading about the gender differences in food appalled me, because, once again, they become very real in society. Women are expected to eat daintily, men can eat heartily, it's accepted for a man to get big but a woman must remain small, men eat meat, women eat salads... And the list goes on in a binary pattern. Thus distancing men from women in all areas of life. I also liked her discussion of thinness as a form of self-control. Society judges people by their looks and being thin has become a standard of beauty, of self-control, something to be proud of. This manner of eating sparingly and watching ones weight has become proper behavior in the US (unless it becomes obsessive
). I think that the article also deals with class heirarchy really well. "The higher one's class, the thinner one is likely to be." Food in the US is something both loved and feared, and college students, who reveal the injustices in society are just adding to the problems. The continued pressure on thinness and nutrition will continue to harm the nation for years to come.
July 24, 2005
I like how Abarca approaches the issue of food and culture by addessing the paradox of gastropolitics: in that "outsiders" can be found both in and outside of the cultural boundaries. On one hand, non-members "hijack" a recipe by taking away the "intellectual knowledge, skillful manual process, and personal as well as collective historical, political and social stories" of the recipe's authors (3). at the same time, a woman within the cultural borders is still subject to cooking a recipe incorrectly if she does not follow strict directions.
To remedy this clash, it is necessary to define (and contrast) the terms "authentic" and original. "Authentic" seems to be an impossible descriptor considering the fact that a culture is always changing. A recipe CAN be authentic to a certain time, place, cultural or political movement, but on an individual basis, a recipe is original due to the "chistes" that alter it with every generation. So Martha Stewart is teaching a recipe that is an original take on an authentic dish that is part of a myriad of versions found in a myriad of facets of hispanic culture -or any culture for that matter. She is hijacking in that she merely teaches the viewer/student a recipe but does not qualify its authenticity. The fact that she is doing that, however, reveals that her recipe is fundamentally inauthentic. But how is the audience to know that?
July 21, 2005
In "The Other as Resource," Heldke basis her argument on Said's Orientalism. I found the article very interesting because I know that I have never thought for a second about the food I eat at my favorite resturant, Dragon House (in Columbia Heights), let alone eating a taco at Taco Bell. Heldke was able to make clear that eating "ethnic" foods is dangerous and harmful to a culture when their history or the practices behind the food. It is so easy for "Westerners" to separate themselves from other cultures and see our culture as superior. This superiority easily allows us to eat ethnic food. The separation of us vs. them also allows us to ignore any and all attachments a particular culture has to the particular food. Just as non-colonizers, in Uma's article, picked out certain aspects of Indian culture to incorporate into British culture. Both of these readings brought to light so many things that happen all too often in my own life.
July 19, 2005
In the Volpp article I found it very interesting that it was pointed out the comparison between the Dowry murders and domestic violence murders. I guess I never realized the comparison until it was written down. As Volpp states, when the murder involves a minority it is seen as cultural, yet when it involves white people it is somehow normalized. The shooting involving a gun compared to burning with fire.
The domination that the United States uses globally has interesting consequences to make acts of the caucasian race normalized. Is it really part of reality to be shot while driving down the freeway, because you cut someone else off that was driving? Citizens of the United States do not see this as a cultural aspect, because we do not see ourselves as a culture. We see ourselves as 'normal'. There are many things that are traditional in our culture: for example the tahnksgiving turkey or superbowl sunday. It seems that the so-called white traditions are those we expect the rest of the world to know and understand, although the majority of the citizens in the U.S. are not aware of any Islamic traditions.