through the anthroscope

this post has an alternate title.

it's really called "i-want-to-quit-my-life-and-read," but that seemed a bit awkward, especially when a few of you were probably expecting an anthroscope post.

i don't like to disappoint.

so i'll ramble for a minute, then we can watch the clip, and everyone will be happy.

sound good?



anyway, i just got the reading list for two of my classes and, honestly, i'm beyond excited.

some of the titles that i'm already familiar with include: cheap meats (which some of you may remember me mentioning reading), re-imagining milk (which i just bought), food and culture: a reader (which i've been meaning to get for ages), and sociology and cultural anthropology (which i think i might have in storage).

and then there are the newer titles (which i will probably all add to the epicurean canon).

a few of those newer titles include: hungering for america, america's founding food, around the tuscan table, and savory suppers and fashionable feasts.

i'd say the odds are pretty good that you all are going to get sick of me talking about food and anthropology books before i get tired of reading and rambling about them.

loser buys the next round.


speaking of rounds, let's sip some beer.



and laugh at the intense-ness of braai etiquette.

but hey, for those of you who are looking for something more in this clip than just humor (i know... humor! right? what's up with that?), some things to think about while you watch:

  • how culture is created and reinforced by participating members and their roles: the tong master and his subjects each have certain roles to play that must be done in a certain way. these roles create a hierarchy within the group.
  • how gender roles are created and reinforced: men braai, women are kept out — it's a club who's membership is determined solely based on physiology.
  • how repeated behavior establishes a community: the group around the braai continuously takes a drink together. when they perform the "shuffle" to allow the third member in, there is no discuss. movement cues are read and accepted subconsciously. which leads to...
  • how drinking (alcohol) can create a sense of community. and how that sense of community is not necessarily divided by nationality lines. oddly enough, i came across this passage in my book* yesterday:

"this sense of community, inclusion, and affection is what is supposed to emerge at chinese banquets. there is a voluminous literature on guanxi work in modern china that often presents the 'networking' accomplished through banqueting as cynically instrumental; the relationships that eaters and toasters forge and deepen are in such analyses reduced to the means by which (more or less selfish) utilitarian ends will be achieved. andrew kipnis, in his study of rural guanix production in the same area, has thoughtfully critiqued the utilitarian reading of the chinese art of social relationships. he not only emphasizes the ceremonial production of sentiment (ganiqing), but his study demonstrates that these ritual practices do more than reflect hierarchies. they produce social subjects: 'subjects constructed in magnetic fields of human feeling are pulled by the remembrance of specific, past ganqing exchanges'" (farquhar 151).**

  • and finally, how you might be hungry now: what is about staring at food cooking? go get lunch now. or dinner. or whatever.


*for those of you who have been wondering what's been going on with the physiology of taste, i've gotten distracted by a couple of books (mostly judith farquhar's book, cited below), but i should be back to it and moving on to the next "live blogging" book — which has yet to be decided.

** emphasis mine.


farquhar, judith.

2002 appetites: food and sex in post-socialist china. durham and london: duke university press.

kipnis, andrew.

1997 producing guanxi: sentiment, self, and subculture in a north china village. durham: duke university press.