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SOC3020 Culture and Food (Moskwa): Food and Celebrations

Supplementary videos and articles for the Food and Culture class taught by Moskwa

Winter: Season of Snow and Bamboo

Japan: A traditional New Year's Eve dinner consists of herring and soba noodles. Turnip cuisine uses steamed turnips as the main ingredient of a several course meal.

Smoke Signals: Arlene's Frybread

Frybread appears to be nothing more than fried dough—like an unsweetened funnel cake, but thicker and softer, full of air bubbles and reservoirs of grease—but it is revered by some as a symbol of Native pride and unity. Indian rocker Keith Secola celebrates the food in his popular song "Frybread." In Sherman Alexie's award-winning film Smoke Signals, one character wears a "Frybread Power" T-shirt. Bothmen call frybread today's most relevant Native American symbol. They say the food's conflicted status—it represents both perseverance and pain—reflects these same elements in Native American history. "Frybread is the story of our survival," says Alexie.


The Day of the Dead is Mexico’s most important fiesta. In the city of Patzcuaro, Mexico, local residents await and discuss the festival with great anticipation. This program highlights their activities leading up to, during, and following Día de los Muertos, offering plenty of Spanish lessons in the process. Because locally made foods, drinks, and souvenirs are often a big part of the holiday, viewers of the program will find ample opportunity to absorb Spanish-language discussions of the shopping, baking, flower-gathering, and decorating that are all part of the preparations. Visitors to a cemetery on the night of the event share their thoughts and feelings about its meaning in their lives.

Seasons of a Navajo

For the Navajos corn symbolizes dependence on the earth, their mother. After thousands of years of cross-breeding corn depends completely on human cultivation.