Appropriation, Tamarindo, Instagram

We started class with some reminders about using Instagram and the hashtag #tacoliteracy for all of our posts, to build our class archive, but also to share some of our research with one another, and with the mundo for that matter.

I suggested some accounts for the taco crew to follow. Here are some folks we started following on Instagram. But there will be more to come!















The students will be building their audiences for their blogs through their Instagram accounts, linking both accounts to use together. This reinforces some of the notions of transmodal literacies inherent in the digital writing they are doing.

We started off reviewing the homework and probing further the question of appropriation as presented in The Salt and also the episode of The Sporkful on this topic.

Going around, we heard from several from the taco crew who were dismayed that when asked, Chef Rick Bayless seemed unable to see how he had any advantages in his career trajectory. However, students also realized that Bayless has a deep appreciation for Mexican food, that he studies it, that he is infatuated with it, and, of course, with Mexican people. The topic started strong enough, but I had to end just a bit short, because I had an activity for the students so we could take photos to post on Instagram.

We transitioned into a foodways activity, some #TamarindoLiteracy with a bag of tamarind and Instagram practice. The activity is also intended to be some food photography practice, in addition to writing about food using the senses.

A couple of fans, some less than fans, and some who said, not bad, not good either. Exploring the food was fun, and some of the students made fascinating connections to the different foods they’ve had with tamarind: tamarind tea, tamarind aguas frescas, tamarind balls.

With tamarind fresh on their minds (and in their panzas) we did a little research using Wikipedia, for “tamarind.”

Start with Wikipedia, but not end there. This gives us some initial entry points, one that I first recommend for students if to head to etymology:

As we follow the movement of the word, we follow the movement of people and the food. The diversity of places mentioned in the second half is also important to think about in terms of diversity of tamarind around the globe, especially the Mexican variety, guamuchili.

The taco crew practiced taking some photos of their tamarind pods, tried the treat, wrote up something brief with the hashtag #tacoliteracy and published them. We also watched this video with some advice about food photography:

Admittedly, the students had a few laughs here, but it was helpful to think about taking multiple shots from different angles and considering light around the subject.

We ended class back to appropriation. We actually started class with a rich discussion about Rick Bayless again, and the episode of The Sporkful where he spoke about his passion for Mexican food, but perhaps overlooked some of the privileges his whiteness has conferred. Some of the students seemed puzzled by that.

I moved the discussion to some Mexican restaurants near SJU, two Chinese-Mexican restaurants. This moved the question of appropriation to something different, and it caused Celina to bring up the question of social class related to appropriation. In the case of small businesses, we wondered if the same kind of rules applied, or if survival meant something altogether in the food world at the small business level.

Much to think about for next time.

I ended the class by giving everyone some tamarind candy, Pulparindo, for some more Instagram practice as homework.


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