Skip to main content

Forkways #1: Ethnobotany

Ethnobotany is the relationship between plants and people, primarily for food and medicine. This field of study is relatively new to me, but as soon as I stumbled upon it I felt like it could be a field that would hold my interest. Over the past two years I have been expanding into the study of food. I have been reading about it in a historical, social, and historical context. One of the fascinating things about food is the way that it can be invisible in our lives.

The plate of the ethnobotanist should be filled with local foods. I, like Gary Nabhan, live in a desert. I believe, perhaps mistakenly, that locally sourced ingredients would not provide me with the abundance of food I am used to. Though I am well acquainted with the local farms in the area, I am just beginning to understand some of the foraging opportunities in the area.

But my role as an emerging ethnobotanist is to understand more than the delicious and possibly abundant local ingredients available to me. I also need to understand the way that food tastes. All food. Good food. Bad food. Processed. Organic. To understand the tastes and textures I enjoy and I do not. And to understand how and why others might enjoy food I do not.

Every bite is an experience. And with the challenge of finding new and different foods, I must also remind myself of cultural relativism. Usually anthropologists use this concept to explore other cultures, but I also want to use it to explore my own culture and society. I want to abandon my understanding of healthy foods, and good foods, and bad foods. I want to experience all foods, for what they are, what they can be, how they taste, and how they make me feel.

To explore these food experience I, with the help of my friend Robert, came up with a concept of forkways. Forkways is the historical and culture experiences I have when I eat food. We all eat food every day, but many days I go out of my way to try something new. It might be something big, a type of animal protein, an ethnic dish, or something small like a new candy bar or type of soda. But each of these tastes and textures adds to my lexicon of understanding food.


Popular posts from this blog

Fun Friday

Alice came to the fork in the road.
"Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Repost – My FAVORITE Actor

This is a repost of a blog I did about a year ago. I decided to repost it because I wrote this early on in my exposure to comic books and graphic novels and because, as you will read, it features my favorite actor of all time. When I told a friend I was reading Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton, he brought to my attention that it was also a movie and the movie happened to have Nicolas Cage in it. I highly dislike Nicolas Cage and I think my friend likes to bring up his name as much as possible just to annoy me. (why would anyone EVER want to do that? He must have a death wish.)

But I actually appreciated it this time. It has been interesting to read about the movie in which Cage plays the minor role of Smokey Bennett. It was also brought to my attention that Nick Cage isn't Nick Cage at all, but Nicolas Kim Copula. I remember vaguely hearing in the past, since he is the nephew of Francis Ford Copula. Who happen to direct Rumble Fish and The Outsiders. Cage was asked to help out his uncle…

Short Story Saturday - The Machine Stops Part 1

I was first exposed to "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster through a book called Scraps of the Untainted Sky. The title of the book, in fact, comes from the closing line of the short story, which the author considers to be "one of the first instance of dystopian narrative." I purchased this book several years ago in order to gain insight into my interest in dystopic literature.This interest has been newly rekindled and broadened into science fiction in general. If you call yourself a fan of science fiction and you haven't read this story, do so now or you are a fraud. If you think you don't like science fiction, I suggest you read this story and make sure. (Audio and full text are available online for free.)This short story, if you can classify it as such at 12,000 words, has 3 chapters and was published in 1909. The date of publication is overwhelming when one takes into consideration how many technological advances the author was able to predict. The…