Photo by Stella Archer
After the success of last year’s events, the Social Anthropology Society is throwing itself into this year’s Innovative Learning Week with gusto. After the launch of their Anthropology of 100 Objects event on Monday (which concludes on Thursday), today’s Anthropology of Food event was a casual and more relaxed affair. “We wanted to do something more informal, and maybe less obviously ‘anthropological’,” explained Tabby Gould, president of the society. Taking place in the foyer of the Chrystal Macmillan Building, students were invited to bring along a dish of their choosing and take part in a pot-luck lunch. Anthropology student Tom Spratt, inspired by his time spent holidaying in Turkey, had brought along Turkish pide, a dish closely resembling pizza. Others had brought along treats which included couscous, Indian sweets and a cucumber and dill soup native to Bulgaria. Tabby herself had made something perhaps a bit closer to home: Cornish pasties!
One of the main aims of the event, aside from enjoying all the lovely dishes on offer, was to discuss the role of food in our lives today, and the anthropological and cultural implications of the way in which we produce our food. Francesca Bray, who has previously run the Anthropology of Food course at the University, talked to us about the key issues surrounding the subject, including creating sustainable food systems, how food takes on and shapes cultural identity, and the question of what is ‘healthy’ eating?
Francesca’s talk provided us with a spring board for what proved to be a lively and extensive discussion of what food means to us today. It’s a topic which is particularly pertinent in light of recent events surrounding food standards, and led us to discuss various issues surrounding food, such as how dietary choices are catered to by supermarkets, who we should trust when it comes to finding out exactly how our food is produced and what we can do to educate people on the importance of issues such as sustainable farming. Overall, it was an informative and tasty event!