Students Reflect on Food's Role in Communication, Family Relationships
In the Communication Studies course, “Media, Food & Foodways,” Assistant Professor Teddy Workneh, Ph.D., asked his students to dig deep into their family’s history to understand the ways in which food has shaped inter-generational relationships and values.
Senior Communication Studies major Bristyn Nadeau reflected on the multi-generational food legacy on her mother’s side of the family in an essay. She highlighted family favorite recipes, including goulash and buckeyes.
“Whether it is baking cookies at Christmas, Sunday morning biscuits and gravy, or a cold winter’s day and a warm plate of goulash, these memories are as much connected with food as they are to my mother’s identity,” she says.
Elias Shingleton, a senior in the School of Emerging Media and Technology, reflected on the way his family’s recipe for halupki has been handed down throughout generations. Halupki is an Eastern European dish; the tradition arrived in his family with his great-great-grandparents’ emigration from the former Czechoslovakia to the United States in 1925.
“For my grandmother, preparing and eating halupki is a special experience because it brings back memories of spending time with and eating alongside family members who have passed over the years,” he says.
"Media, Food & Foodways" explores the way food connects us. This semester, Dr. Workneh and his students have explored the relationship between food, communication and culture, and they've examined how these relationships affect how we understand our identity, culture and environment.
“The pandemic has changed the way we understand food and our experience with food,” Workneh said, noting that in the absence of international travel, many have taken to experimenting with food in new ways at home. “I keep hearing from people about the craving they have to travel and do the things we took for granted. All of a sudden, we’re conscious of appreciating these opportunities. The confinement caused by the pandemic has not only brought cravings and nostalgia of our favorite tastes but also an increased understanding of food as a cornerstone of our social fabric.”