FINDING COMFORT/DISCOMFORT THROUGH FOODWAYS QUESTIONNAIRE
Use this Foodways Framework to think about how your habits have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Not all aspects will be relevant to you, and some might overlap.
Ask if any of these give you connections with other people, your own pasts, or places that bring up good memories or in some other way give you a sense of comfort. Also, do any bring discomfort? Why? (You can also ask who, when, where, and maybe even how and why for each of these.)
Responses can be posted at Center for Food and Culture (www.foodandculture.org); or emailed to Dr. Lucy Long (Lucymlong@gmail.com).
I. FOODWAYS PRACTICES
Production—Are you producing your own food now differently from before? (Putting in a garden; enlarging a garden; planting more of a specific crop; raising chickens or bees)
Procurement—Where and how do you get your food? Have you changed the usual providers or your usual schedule? Are you taking any safety precautions? Are you having food delivered?
Preservation— Did you have plenty of supplies on hand? Where are you storing your food? Is storage an issue? Refrigerator, freezer, pantry? Are you preserving certain items by canning, drying, freezing, etc.? Have you reorganized your food storage places or system?
Preparation—Are you trying new recipes? New ways of cooking? Have you learned any new techniques? Do you have the cooking equipment and implements that you need? Are you watching Youtube videos or using the internet more? Are you cooking with others? Are you sharing recipes with other people or doing any virtual cooking classes?
Presentation—Have you changed the way you usually present your food–paper plates, special china? Are you making a point to have formal meals and setting the table?
Do you use any dishware or table settings intentionally for comfort?
Consumption—Are you eating for comfort? Snacking more, larger or smaller quantities? Are you eating more informally now without “proper manners”? Have the contexts for eating changed-dining room, kitchen, restaurants, virtual meals, virtual happy hours?
Clean-up/Disposal— Are you using leftovers more? Are you more careful about wasting food? Is food disposal an issue? (Taking trash can outside, etc.) Composting?
II. FOODWAYS PRODUCTS
Ingredients—Are ingredients that you usually use now unavailable?
Are you trying any new ingredients?
Dishes/Recipes–Are you eating new foods, trying new recipes during this time? Where are you getting those recipes? Are you adapting any recipes because of a lack of ingredients due to the pandemic?
Are you making any dishes specifically for comfort? What is the history behind those dishes? In what ways do they comfort you?
Menus—Do your menus reflect issues or concerns because of the pandemic?
Have your menus changed because of the need to quarantine or maintain social distance?
Meal system—Has your daily meal system changed (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?
Are the times different from before the pandemic?
Are you snacking more?
III. FOODWAYS CONTEXTS/CONCEPTS/PERFORMANCES
Contexts—How have your usual places for eating changed?
Since restaurants are closed, are you doing take-out or having food delivered?
Are you having any virtual social gatherings around food?
Concepts—Health and safety concerns. Are you emphasizing certain foods for their health benefits? Are you concerned about catching the virus through your food?
Concepts—Symbols and rituals
Have you developed any new rituals around food during this time?
Do you have any foods that have taken on special meanings during this time?
Are there any holiday foods or meals that have been affected by the pandemic (Birthday, Graduation, Easter, Passover, Ramadan, etc.)?
Are you posting photos of meals? Are you making videos of food preparation?
Do you feel that you’re being more creative or imaginative with your cooking than before?
Do you feel your food is giving you comfort?
Are you finding any aspect of foodways a source of discomfort?
Are you trying to give other people comfort through food?
Are you intentionally using food to create connectedness with other people?
For more on foodways and on comfort food, see: Lucy M. Long, ed. The Food and Folklore Reader (Bloomsbury, 2015); and Michael Owen Jones and Lucy M. Long, eds. Comfort Food Meanings and Memories (Univ. of Mississippi Press, 2017.