Slow Foods

Everyone knows what fast food is but no one talks about “slow food”. The idea of “endangered foods” makes you think about how food is handled in the United States. For many college students, slow food isn’t an option. Some don’t have access to kitchens to cook their own food due to living in a dorm or they simply feel they don’t have time to cook. Countless times I have been guilty of thinking it is just more convenient to eat fast food and elect to eat that instead of cooking even though I have a kitchen and I have time. Our culture is fast pass and makes you feel like time is flying and that you need to catch up. In my own experience, the food I cook at home seems more filling and more flavorful than the mass produced burgers at a fast food restaurant. It doesn’t seem so strange to think other countries don’t want the same fast food culture we do. Food is better, both taste wise and health wise, and it bring families together to eat. Think about Thanksgiving. Every year we set one day for slow foods only. What do people do? They gather and bond over food. Could family units in the US be strengthened if we join in focusing more on slow foods?

Like an Extra Virgin

The first topic that stuck out to me from this article was how they define what is Mediterranean area. Again and again in this we ask “what is the boundary of the Mediterranean?” In this article they define it as the area in which the olive tree grows. I think this is one of the better ways of determining where this cultural area is. The olives only grow in the soil surrounding the Mediterranean sea. We see it as a promenade topic in the stories in the area. The most prominent of these stories and legends surrounding the olive tree is the story of Athena. We feel the importance of the olive tree even today. The other topic that I found very interesting was the medical properties of extra virgin olive oil. I had no idea that there were the same properties in extra virgin olive oil as there is in ibuprofen. My question is, is the olive tree important to the region because of various uses or because it is unique to the are?

Schneider Vigilance and Virgins

This reading by Jane Schneider discusses the pastoral groups of the Mediterranean, their beliefs in honor and shame, and how women play a role in their societies. This article again poses the question of what constitutes as being “Mediterranean”. In the beginning she says she defines this area by the people who share these common themes of honor and shame and how it relates to the women of the group. That is a really broad definition of the Mediterranean. Multiple times she discusses the Fulani tribe as being in the Mediterranean because of their honor and shame rules but the Fulani are mainly in central Africa. Is she purposing the Mediterranean stretches this far? Also through the article she describes practices that remind me of class discussions about polar opposite behaviors. In class this is related to the discussion of the Evil Eye but here it is with the practices of herding. A herder watches over and brands his heard in order to protect it but if he has never lost an animal then he is a “sissy”. The later part of the article is what interested me the most. While the Mediterranean shares ideas of honor, each culture expresses it differently. I found it so fascinating how women in Sicily were on the same level as the men and inherited the same as them while Arabs described women as “cows of Satan”. If sons are the key to prosperity and sons come from women, how are women descended from Satan while men are descended from God?