Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Anthropology 372 and a couple other things

I'm still planning on culinary school after completing my BA, and luckily the Anthropology department at U of A offers a couple "Food classes" that will hopefully satisfy both my curiosity around the culture of food as well as credit requirements towards my Anthro major.

The first day of class is never that exciting, but you do get to find out what types of assignments, papers, and exams you'll be up against. Unlike some of my other classes, I'm really looking forward to the ones for this class:

First, three short papers due at the end of January, February and March.

1. "You Are What You Eat - record your food and drink consumption for one week, and analyze your diet in comparison with the Canadian Food Guide recommendations. Do you agree with the ideal of a "good diet"? What does food and your diet mean to you?"

2. "Celebratory Meals - Valentines Day - A reflection of how food consumption events connect us with one another, in this case, our loved ones. Describe your practices on the day, their socio-cultural relevance, and what they mean to you."

Charles and I are heading off to Skinny Legs and Cow Girls for a Valentines' Day dinner, and I will likely be heading back to Kerstin's for a couple shifts around the 14th, so I should have no shortage of material!

3. "Food Markets - Analyze how food is sold to us via two food markets - one farmer's market and a supermarket - to experience the participant-observation method often used in Anthro."

Then we have a rather large and daunting partner research project and presentation on a topic of our choice. I'm still unsure of what I might do... maybe the formalization of food education or the dominance of French cuisine in North America or something. But our Professor promised a brain storming session next class to get us on the right track.

Finally, although this was only more of an attendance check, she hit us with a whopper of a question right off the bat that we had five minutes to answer before handing in:

What does food mean to you?

I wish I could say that I started scribbling down a response right away, but I couldn't. All I did was sit there for a minute watching my classmates fill half a page with their responses. I did manage to get down a few sentences to hand in, but it definitely took the rest of the day to reflect on the question and come up with an answer that satisfied me.

One of the great things about the class is the actual food we get to munch on each lecture. Everyone had to sign up for a day when they will bring in a food of their choice that they have either purchased or prepared. A lecture on food plus the actual thing... so unexpected and so great.

And not completely unrelated to this, Original Fare's Fork Fest is coming up in a couple weeks and we are heading off to The Blue Pear in the first week and to Culina Highlands the next. These are two places we have been wanting to check out for awhile, so we are definitely taking advantage of the Fork Fest prices.

Also, I picked up a copy of "We Eat Together" by Julianna Mimande and Gabe Wong, at Kerstin's just before Christmas. We've made almost half a dozen recipes including the Red Wine Braised Leek Sausage, Bill and Mona's BBQ Sauce with short ribs (next time we are going to try some stewing Bison cubes), the Potato and "Turnip" (we used parsnip) mash with horseradish, Hot Chocolate with Honey and Cinnamon, and tonight we are going to try the Pearled Barley Risotto recipe.

So far everything has turned out great and very tasty. What I love most is that since the recipes were prepared here in Edmonton using locally available ingredients, I don't have to search the City to find something incredibly rare. Audrey's still had three in stock as of this afternoon, and I know Kerstin's had a couple on Boxing Day, but they are certainly selling fast!


Natalie Wellings said...

Hey guys,
Just wanted to make a comment on how much I enjoy your blog! I am such a foodie and really like to support local food culture in Edmonton. I love your reviews of independent eateries in town along with your food related articles. Your university class sounds so interesting!
Keep up the great work!

Marianne said...

Thanks, Natalie! Glad you are enjoying!

K.Buvens said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and started to read it. Turns out that I want to be an Anthropology major when I go to college and you are getting your BA.
I haven't talked to anyone who is studying in this degree field, but what are the classes like?
Sorry for focusing on just one thing on your post, but I have so many questions! haha (:

Marianne said...

Hi K.,

I really enjoy Anthro for the holistic approach it takes to the study of culture. But what I'm really taking away from my degree is the ability to think critically about information I'm given via news, books and other media.

You should try and attend some lectures before heading to school. I know my university has a "student for a day" program that gives you a peak into your area of interest alongside a current student.

A Canadian Foodie said...

Have you tried the carrot dip, yet? I bought the book, too, because it is local and I shop from the same farmers... but am reassured hearing that som many of the recipes are good...

Marianne said...

I haven't, but it does look good!

I think the book is a good buy. A little pricey maybe, but it was locally printed, etc. Plus I'm enjoying the simplicity of the recipes, and the readily available ingredients.

Mariel said...

I have just stumbled across your blog...I am so happy about this discovery! I am a fellow U of A student by day/food blogger by night and am VERY intrigued by these food courses that are offered! They sound right up my alley. Any chance you could dish on what the course number etc are?? Besides from this peaked interest, LOVE your restaurant reviews and photos to go along with! I will definitely be following from now on!