Thursday, November 4, 2010

Food and Music Synergy: Is there such a thing?

     I've recently been considering the food movement research I have been doing against musical ideals and preferences. Initially in the food research, I had basically compartmentalized my research interests, only joining the food research in a very vague way to other previous research interests in the way heritage is conceived. However, this year's Society for Ethnomusicology meetings spurred me on to explore food and music as possibly not so separate spheres of action and thought. I saw a call for papers by graduate student Andrew Mark asking panelists to consider "Sound Ecology?: Theories, Places and Parallels for Ecomusicology," and I decided to do a last minute proposal for a paper idea. Besides allowing me to explore my recent research interests in a different way, this panel has introduced me to "ecomusicology" as a concept.  Another provocative and entertaining connection between music and food that has come my way of late:  The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra.
      So my recent research has been pretty exploratory, involving my participation as fiddler with my friend Amy (guitar) at the All Local Farmer's Market in Columbia and interviews. Quoting my earlier paper abstract, I seek to understand the social and cultural relationships between these food and musical sensibilities. Are these intersections recognized? If so, how do these practitioners view such relationships—as spurious, as central, as metaphorical? Does their musical praxis reflect, refract or obscure their ideological stances regarding sustainability and ecological matters? Another way I have just started "collecting data" is through a survey instrument. If you are at anyway active in the local and/or slow foods movement in the Columbia region of South Carolina, please take the survey!  It should take you less than 10 minutes.  Here's the link:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sandhill Farmers' Market

Almost every Tuesday, I visit the Sandhill Farmer's Market run through Clemson University's Sandhill site across from shopping at the Village at Sandhill. As you can see in the picture, they offer gardening advice from master gardners as well as information to vendors and shoppers.

I'm trying to get to other farmers' markets and will hopefully be doing more downtown Columbia Saturday visits in the future as a fiddle performer. Nevertheless, because of my Northeast location in Columbia, the Sandhill market has been more readily accessible. I also like what I can get there: artisan bread (Heather's), SC shrimp, goat cheese and other local SC meats, honey and a larger variety of fruits and vegetables (some organic and some chemical free) depending on the season. Also available are organic soaps, boiled peanuts, flowers as well as yummy kettle corn, and toffee. Vendors are required to have a certain amount of locally produced food/crafts to be able to sell there.

My usual purchases are the SC shrimp (soo good) from "the Shrimp Guy, LLC," bread as well as some fruit and vegetables. Sometimes I don't eat a substantial lunch so I might splurge on the yummy kettle corn while shopping.

This past Tuesday, Oct. 5th, I visited the market with a camera in tow. Besides the normal shrimp purchase, I decided to try some garlic brats from Old McCaskill's Farm. I always like walking by this vendor because of the beautiful wool items for sale as well. See A Taste of Carolina for more pictures and recipes of September fare at this market.

I'm back!

Hi all,

I decided to finally start blogging again. I had decided to NOT do any blogging until after I finished my dissertation, which I did, YEAH! I turned in the final copy in July 2009. So, my other excuses are job-related: I work too many part time jobs (mainly as an adjunct instructor) and I'm on the job market for a full time job. I have had many, many ideas for blogs and hopefully will get to some of these ideas: 1. 'dear folks letters'--lost or transformed art via blogosphere? 2. a recount of my shopping trip to Dillards in its final days before going out of business, an interesting exercise in shopping rituals that pushed such ritual boundaries--liminality everywhere 3. food and music synergy, a very recent exploration.

Before I get to these blog ideas, however, I've got more pressing concerns. I decided to get involved in the local and slow food scene in Columbia, SC (in part for research purposes and in part because I'm an advocate) and I'm contributing to the Slow Food Columbia blog periodically. The next blog will appear there as well. ~ Sarah Q.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heirloom grits produced in downtown Cola, SC

Upon reading the article in the Freetimes ( ) about the specialty grits milled downtown, I was struck by the relevancy of Glen Robert’s approach as well as the ironies. For one, I am a Top Chef addict so any connection to chef Tom Colicchio is (embarrassingly) exciting to me.

Also, as an anthropologist who teaches Intro to Cultural Anthropology every semester, my classes at that moment were considering industrialism, globalization and the general push towards monocrop production—and the ultimate consequences of the industrialized agriculture trend (lack of biodiversity, lack of small scale/family farms, lack of local foods, etc). So, it was refreshing to have another source, one local and relevant to people’s sense of southern identity (grits!), to discuss as an existing counter besides my usuals—anti-globalization movements, freegans and websites on sustainability/consumption.

What I find ironic, however, is that if it were’nt for elitist food ideals (heirloom grits taste better even if they’re very, very expensive and time-consuming to make), this attention to the local might not exist. Plus, this elite market probably wouldn’t exist without tourism and other global food markets featuring a ‘taste of the old south.’ I guess for those who consider such issues regularly such ironies are the norm.

To Begin

I've been stewing about creating a blog for awhile now concerning subjects I think about frequently but don't spend the time to write about.

The title of the blog relates to my grandfather; he sent out 'dear folks' letters frequently during the year--probably 5 or so a year, the ubiquitous Xmas letter usually a bit longer than the rest. These were typed on his famous white-out splattered, non-electric typewriter and then xeroxed for friends and family--eventually I'll post a photo of one. I don't think I really appreciated these letters until he was writing them less frequently and then, of course, after he died. The letters always contained family news but also grandpa's thoughts on what he was reading or writing about as a scholar; my grandpa was a philosophy professor. He would also sometimes include some pretty corny things like spoonerisms or word games or quotes from famous writers.

Anthropology is what I've been doing for awhile now in a student mode and more recently in a teaching and writing mode.

As blogs tend to be (as far as I know), this blog will really be about me writing about stuff for my own self-reflection. But, the 'dear folks' and anthropology union brings with them an attempt to make the blogs somewhat more relevant than just meandering thoughts. Hope someone besides myself will eventually enjoy these occasional posts.