I will begin this blog post by dot pointing reflections on my second autoethnographic experience. I will then pair reflections from my blog post (week 5) and this experience to highlight some key areas of research. I want to highlight again, that my research is based off Ellis et al’s (2011) ‘narrative ethnography.’ Furthermore, the purpose of my research is to reflect on the shared experience I have had in order to understand my time in Nepal and its culture and to also inform others. These ‘others’ will initially begin with my family (cultural strangers) and then to the viewers of my digital artefact (Ellis et al 2011).
Accounts from re-creation of Dal Bhat with my family
- The ingredients used to make the meal were gathered mostly from Coles, little to no attention was paid at where the food was actually sourced from
- The dal bhat did not taste the same, some of the flavors were similar
- Aama (my host mother in Nepal) made the meal with no recipe. However, as this was mine and dad’s first time making dal bhat we tried to follow a recipe
- The whole time my dad and I were cooking the meal he was stressed about my little sister not liking the food, he almost made a second meal for her
- Throughout preparing, cooking and eating the meal I was presented with multiple ephianies (that I had previously forgotten), they where:
- Most international students I have met wash their rice before eating it where as domestic students do not
- We used plastic cups and plastic bowls/ plates in Nepal
- Everyone enjoyed the meal, my mum and dad even went back for a second plate of food
- It was extremely amusing trying to teach them how to eat with their hands – however by the end of the meal they were enjoying it
Points from first blog post
After reading over my reflections from the first autoethnographic experience and after watching the re-creation of the dal bhat experience with my family I have decided to look further into the sourcing of foods. In Nepal, every item of food I ate was locally sourced (most of it grown just outside the doorstep of the house where I lived). Where as the food my parents and I cook with on a daily basis are not locally sourced. I will also look at the introduction of Asian food into Australia, moreover the Asian contributions to Australian food culture.
The reason why the foods used to re-create the dal bhat experience are available is the Asian migration to Australia. These migrants have played major roles Australia-wide through the introduction of food crops (rice, green vegetables, tropical fruits, range of herbs and spices), food imports, fresh-food markets and restaurants (Wahlqvist 2002). A lot of people take advantage of fresh-food markets, Asian restaurants and imported food. As well as Asian migration, the introduction of international students to Australian universities also plays are a large role in Asian contributions to Australian food culture. In the 1950’s, following the approval of the Colombo plan an increased amount of Australians were exposed to Asian (in particular south Asian, Indonesian and Chinese) cooking techniques.
Despite the introductions of such foods and other contributions from the Asian culture, one must question if dinning in an Asian restaurant or making an Asian meal from supermarket ingredients is an ‘authentic.’ From my experience it definitely does not taste the same. In Nepal, everything cooked and prepared was from local sources. This gave the food a fresh taste. The reason for the food being locally sourced is partly due to the poverty level of rural areas. The host family and other neighbors in the village are unable to travel to the city to buy supermarket items so they’re restricted to whatever food they can make from the land. In my family home, every item of food is bought from the supermarket (other than the occasional herb grown in the garden). My parents can afford to travel to the supermarket and are too busy with work commitments to maintain their own grown food. However, both my parents grew up in Northern Ireland where their diet consisted mostly of potatoes, eggs, milk, meat, oats and fruits all grown within a sixty kilometer radius of their house.
After visiting Nepal and eating the same meal made from local produce every day as well as reflecting on my experience via this assignment I have come to realise that the majority of my friends and family have limited knowledge on where the produce that makes their breakfast, lunch and dinner comes from. There are many benefits from eating locally produced foods. These benefits are: supporting local farmers and producers, local produce is often fresher and tastier and less energy emissions and food miles associated with our food (click here to find more benefits).
From this post and the last post, I will produce a digital artefact built on my experiences, reflections and research.
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12., 1.
Wahlqvist, ML 2002, ‘Asian migration to Australia: food and health consequences’, Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 11.