Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anthropological Adventures in Belize: Research on Food!

I realize that I have practically abandoned my food blog over the last several years. This is particularly ironic because it was this very blog that resulted in my being recruited for a PhD in Anthropology with a concentration in Food Studies at Indiana University.

Conducting Research with Photo Cards of Food
In August of 2009 I crossed half the country from Washington DC to take on this monumental academic challenge. Now it is March of 2012 and huge changes and challenges have taken place in both my personal and academic life. Its been a tough couple years but I'm still here and I have recently decided that I need to re-commit to the blog that brought me to where I am today.

Where exactly am I? Well, BELIZE! Placencia, Belize to be precise, where I am in the beginning stages of my dissertation research on food, national and cultural identity, marketing and tourism. I finished my very last classes in May of 2011 and spent the summer running a field school on food supply chains and tourism in southern Belize. Then I returned to Indiana to study for the qualifying exams. Imagine reading about tourism, the caribbean, anthropological theory and food 8-10 hours a day for three months. Thats what I did. I learned more in three months than in a year of coursework. It was exhausting and exhilarating all at once.

I returned to Belize on December 4th 2011, immediately after passing my exams, with funding and a mission: to organize my research instruments in order to start work. I spent part of December and January doing this. I also travelled to Mexico on a spur of the moment trip that included a whirl-wind visit to Oaxaca. I have many, many food pictures to share with you from that excellent adventure. Look for futures posts on the wide world of tacos and the famous hot chocolate of Oaxaca among others.

My goal is to post something once a week. It may be short, it may be long. It may include a recipe, or it may be about my food research. I DO intend to continue to bring you recipes for popular local foods in Belize, so check back to learn how to make stew fish, rice and beans (the Belizean way) and conch soup among others.

An Outdoor "Cool Spot" in Placencia, Belize

3 comments:

Victor J Kinzer said...

Oh, I am so very excited about this. I am currently focusing the majority of my world on food and there is very little accessible about the food of Belize. I will definitely be following your posts closely.

Lyra said...

Thanks Victor! I hope you and yours are doing well:)

Anonymous said...

Lyra,
I have conducted ethno**graphic field**work in Orange Walk district since 2007 (when I began my MA) and am now interested in Sittee District't water politics. I'm so excited you'll start writing again. C'maaan, Belize! This is the most wonderful fieldsite and fantastic place to visit and develop friendships.