An Airplane Food Story

 

Download the PDF version here: airplanefood

About the Project

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This creative project explores the interwoven themes of space, time, identity, and memory through the medium of food. In the comic, the male character is perplexed by the uncanny nature of his inflight dining options. Airplane food serves as a familiar nourishing substance, allowing him to experience something in common between the ground and the air. However, it also tastes strangely unfamiliar, as if it has lost its edible quality after being brought into the cabin. On board, notions of time and space are both significant and meaningless, authentic and deceiving. While an airplane houses tangible things, people, and services, it gives the impression of a non-place that houses non-things, non-persons, and non-services. In this sense, inflight meals might be considered non-food. For the female character, she can appreciate food in a space with no relational, local, or historical identity. Airplane food invites her to take a nostalgic trip back to the meals she used to eat at home and at the same time, to visualize a dining experience that she will wholeheartedly enjoy in her future destination. In the end, two characters still have lingering questions and uncertainties about the nature of food: Can an edible item not be considered food? Does the evaluation of food deal with a consciousness wholly wrapped up in the present, or is it always concerned with the past and even the future? If the physical presence of food is in a non-place, will dining memories fade away into obscurity?

Inspired Readings:

Dale Rominger, Notes from 39,000 Feet                                                                                 Guillaume de Syon, Is It Really Better to Travel than to Arrive?                                             Pierre Nora, Between Memory and History                                                                         Marc Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity

Creative Project: Naming of Food Products in the Market

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This creative project focuses the naming of the food brands and food advertisements. In this project, I choose four examples (Philadelphia cream cheese, Beijing Yogurt, Nestle, and Mei Wei Xian soy sauce) represent three main categories of food brand naming strategies used by food companies. I argued that customers think that they have initiatives while they are choosing food products but actually they just passively followed business owner’s standards ( categories designed for customers) without noticing that. In other words, customers are “identified by food business owners” instead of  “identifying themselves” on the choices of consumption. This project is inspired by the “mother brand” indian food mentioned in the article As Mother Made it. In my final project ( food and identity), this creative project will serve an example of “unawareness” (pretending) as well. Also, it can be example of “identity” not relating with “nationalities” or “ethnic groups”. The more important point of his project is that people can identify themselves while others are putting”identities” on them.

Sunyata

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This project tells a story of how the protagonists get together and separates through the presentation of food. Here I would like to quote a famous Japanese poem to express the central premise of the story.

“While transmigrating through the six realms,

There’s no one for company.

Alone we were born, alone we die. ”

(No Adobe, the record of Ippen, Dennis Hirota )

In this lonely world where hearts are isolated and emotions obscured, food becomes a signifier for revealing one’s genuine consciousness. Based on Roland Barthes and his mythology theory, this project seeks to interpret a relationship with the presentation of food.

A Handbook of Some Kitchens and Memories

Creative Project-Kitchen

Why Kitchens?

This project was inspired by Banana Yoshimoto’s novel Kitchen, a story about overcoming sorrow and bereavement by creating and sharing memories and interaction with other people through food and kitchen. The novel made me think about the role that kitchen plays in activities associated with food, and more generally, in shaping our perception. First of all, kitchen is where everything begins – it is the place where raw materials and ingredients become food. Yet such process is ofter omitted by us mentally, making the kitchen a black box in food creation process. Secondly, given the wide range of cuisine and eating habit that different cultural groups possess, I cannot help but wonder how much a kitchen has contributed in forming such variety, and believe that the diverse food cultures and individual memories are partially caused by the limitation or potential that kitchens provide to people using them. While this small project cannot address all the above questions, I hope to use it as a representation of how kitchen functions not only as a creator of food, but also as a container of memories – freedom, betrayal, recovery, and happiness.

Feed This Journal: A Visual Experiment on Food and Identity

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As much as I have learned that I surround myself with very creative friends, I have also created evidence that food is related to identity, not nationality. I collected friends of all different types – sex, nationality, ethnicity, hometowns, birth towns, flavor palettes, etc – and together they helped me in creating an awesome journal filled with interesting food choices. When you flip through the pages, you may be surprised at times at what people choose, and at other times, somewhat expect it. There have been a few “artists” who have said, “Oh, I wish I thought of that!” as they look at a food on the page. What is most surprising is how similar me and my little sister’s food choices were. All in all, this creative journal experiment was a way for me to test my hypothesis that food is related to your identity, background and upbringing; essentially, life experiences. Food is not as much related to where you are born and what your skin color is. Even though, my friends and I are all different, we have shared similar experience, which may explain why some answers are the same.

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Link to my journal: Feed This Journal

Inspired readings:
Francesca Bray, The Rice Economies pp. 1-26
Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, Rice as Self pp. 3-11, 81-136
FC Ch. 3 Pierre Bourdieu, from Distinction
FC Ch. 25 “As Mother Made It”: The Cosmopolitan Indian Family, “Authentic” Food, and the Construction of Cultural Utopia
David Sutton, Remembrance of Repasts 

(Try this if above doesn’t work  ->)

Feed this journal

 

 

A Cookbook of Life

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This cookbook plays into the many themes I am analyzing in my final portfolio. The recipes are loosely connected by a story about a girl growing up and realizing that there is more to the creation of food than the actual, physical ingredients. In this cookbook, I explore the differences between literal and figurative ingredients and dishes based on the protagonist’s life events. I also organized the cookbook in such a way that it starts with more literal recipes and gradually advances to more elaborate and figurative recipes. At the same time, I explore the role of gender vis-à-vis cooking and the preparation of food in households dominated by female figures. These women pass their traditional recipes down from generation to generation, resulting in an interesting continuation of a food lineage, but with differences as each generation tweaks the recipes. These inevitable changes demonstrate that a so-called authentic recipe or food really does not exist. Central to this cookbook is to show that food and family meals is a constant connector throughout our many life events. This cookbook is an exploration of the evolution of food, as shown through the prism of the female experience, and the importance it serves by bringing together family and friends.

Chicken and Fish

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For my creative project, I use the visual representation, a comic, to tell a short story while address the theme on “what we talk about when we talk about food” from week two. The comic is about an American girl Mary, who used to be addicted in eating chicken and fish dishes. And during her time of study abroad in China, she once went to the traditional Chinese food market with her host mother. Over there, Mary saw how chickens and fish were killed for the first time. The bloody scenes make Mary horrified and her mind keeps recalling them when she sees chicken and fish dishes. Mary thus changes into a vegetarian and never eats chicken and fish again. The reading that I drew from is Noelie Vialles’s Animal to Edible, which talks about the invisibility of slaughterhouse. Through the comic, I want to state the subject matter that food and animals are segregated in our notions. When we talk about food, we are only talking about end products such as the made dishes and the treated frozen meat, and we isolate them from the original animal forms.