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Gender and Technology in Family Food Culture: The Technologized Kitchen for the

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Gender and Technology in Family Food Culture: The Technologized Kitchen for the
Gender and Technology
in Family Food Culture:
The Technologized Kitchen for the
Transformative Body
Karen Kua
Thesis
The project outlines the experiences of diasporic Asian men, their wives, and
lastly, their second-generation children. Specifically, the project analyzes the
gendered participation of Asian-Canadian families in food production and
consumption. Through the use of oral history methodologies, I explore how this
illuminates members’ negotiation of “multinational” New Canadian identities
and their quest for socio-economic mobility. For instance, interviews with two
diasporic Asian men reveal how the appropriation and diffusion of ‘old’ and
‘new’ foodways allowed them to claim positions of authority within diasporic
communities, as well as to appropriate cosmopolitan identities for heightening
their social status. Furthermore, in doing so, the hegemonic, gendered nature
of private food production within diasporic Asian families is challenged, but not
deconstructed or nullified. Instead, it is their Canadian-borne children who
neutralize the gendered nature of private food production as their urban
lifestyles foster a dependence on convenience foods, fast food, and the
industrial food technologies that produce them, but not without a
renegotiation of their national identities.
The Participants
1)
-
Sham Sadana:
67-years-old
Indian
Migration to Canada: 1972
2)
Si-Chhuan Kua
-53-years-old
-Chinese
-Migration to Canada: 1988
Within the “Feminine” Kitchen
•
Within the South Asian household,
cooking family meals and more
lavish fare for social gatherings was
socially-perceived as the women’s
responsibility; the men’s minimal
participation focussed on their
supervision over food quality
(Choudhurani 4-12).
•
If company was coming over, the
mother of the family – the senior
man’s wife, or his mother if living –
served chicken, a pork dish,
perhaps another pork dish with
internal organs cooked with
vegetables, and proportionately less
of everyday food (Anderson 247).
The Palette as an Epistemological Tool
for Socio-Economic Mobility
Indian Experience
• Contact Zones for intercultural exchanges
(Kunow)
– Culinary grazing (Duruz)
– Dual-model for understanding the Other
– Cosmopolitan identities
• Socially-aware, progressive, “with the times”
• Desirable
• Upwards social mobility: An authority
figure as a culinary educator
Chinese Experience
Rank
Position
Location
Years of Employment
Special Skills/Duties
1
Owner
N/A
N/A
- Owner of the restaurants
- Supervision of managers
2
Manager
- Very Fair Seafood Cuisine
- Mong Kok Chinese
Restaurant
- Regal Chinese Restaurant &
Banquet Hall
- Casa Deluz Banquet Hall
- Unspecified restaurants
1995-Present
- Chose to be highly mobile, managing at
different establishments at different times to
“know more people and get a better job”
- Possession of multicultural culinary knowledge
and knowledge on Asian culinary trends in China
and Canada
- Responsible for menu presentation and
selection of foods for sale
3
Supervisor
-Harbour City Chinese
Restaurant
1994-1995
- Supervision of servers
4
Server
-Harbour City Chinese
Restaurant
1993-1994
- Provided customer service
5
Cook
- Hsin Kuang Chinese
Restaurant
1991-1993
- Learned how to cook Cantonese food from
fellow staff members
Attended a 6-month night course at George
Brown College to learn how to prepare
American-Chinese, Cantonese, Beijing, and
Sichuan dishes from an instructor, who was a
settled Chinese transmigrant
- As a cook, he began to be mentored by his
manager until he eventually became a manager
6
Assistant Cook
- Unspecified restaurant
1990-1991
- From fellow cooks, learned how to prepare
Chinese BBQ foods, such as Peking duck
Implications on the Gendered Nature
of Food Production and Consumption
• Shared participation in
food production
• Double-Shift / Second
Shift
• Paternal involvement
in culinary cultural
reproduction
Industrial Technologies, Fast Food,
and Convenience Foods:
Conformity and Resistance
• First, they adopt American sweets
and snack foods. Then they pick up
American can drinks, if they had not
already done so in their homelands.
Colas, milk, and “designer water”
slowly replace tea and soybean
drinks. Then breakfast
Americanizes; cereal and toast
replace congee and dumplings.
Then lunch gives away. Dinner takes
much longer to change. Finally,
feast foods associated with the
major Chinese holidays are the last
to go (Anderson 246)
The Second Generational Experience
Reasons for Reliance on Convenience Foods and Eating Out:
1.
Busy urban lifestyle due to dual-earner and
working professionals in general that causes
dependence on convenience foods
2.
Accessibility of easy-to-make or already
prepared foods
3.
Parents are not inclined to teach their
children how to cook because of the
accessibility of convenience foods and their
children’s ability to afford eating out
4.
Cooking is socially perceived to be a lowstatus activity that does not fit into the urban
professional identity of individuals who desire
a higher SES
Their Connection to their Ancestral Homelands?
•
Disconnection due to the children’s dependence on
convenience foods and fast food
•
Re-establishing their children’s connection to their ancestral
homelands becomes a parental duty
–
Parents choose to regulate their children’s eating
habits, reintegrating their ethnic cuisine into their
children’s diets
The Heuristic Value: Prospects for
Future Research
• Intersection of technology and taste
– The heuristic value of this project lies within its
emphasis on these industrial food technologies.
The intersection of taste, and thus food
production and food consumption, with
technology must be further analyzed to study
intergenerational shifts in gendered food
behaviours and their implications on identity.
Fly UP