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Places around the table : a qualitative enactivist exploration of food practices in a familial context Thom, Patricia Louise 2001

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PLACES AROUND THE TABLE: A QUALITATIVE ENACTIVIST EXPLORATION OF FOOD PRACTICES IN A FAMILIAL CONTEXT by PATRICIA LOUISE T H O M A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Educational Studies Adult Education We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard. December^ £.000 Date Approved The University Of British Columbia © Patricia Thorn, 2000 UBC Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form Page 1 of 1 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements fo r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her re p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. Department of £idoCoM.C/)\X( Shldl&'S The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date [ V r ^ m V ^ r i S ^ C ^ Q O http://vvww.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.html 9/3/00 Abstract We live in complex times. To some, this statement might be referring to the modern factors that must be controlled so we can live comfortably. To an enactivist, this statement has a different meaning. Living, as viewed through the lens of this deep ecological philosophy, is a constant bringing forth of a world with our knowing, identity, and actions. Human living occurs in the taken for granted context of other living beings and non-living entities. We exist in the present, shaped by a past that simultaneously determines our future. Places, times, and living are continuously participating in an interdependent, co-evolutionary process. This research study sets out to explore, through the lens of enactivism, how relationships among identity, knowing, and action shape one family's food practices during meals at home. I begin with an account of the context from which this study arose. Included is an overview of the field of nutrition education, a review of my personal history and understandings regarding food and nutrition, and a discussion of how an enactivist perspective is related to education. Then the qualitative case study strategy utilizing snowball sampling and a variety of data collection methods (researcher journal entries, video taped household and extended family meals, individual interviews, and stimulated recall (group) interviews) is described. Information was collected from one Caucasion, middle class extended family of British-German heritage, residing in the lower mainland of BC, Canada. There were eight adults and three children representing four generations living in four separate households. The information gathered from this family was used to create a written description of their everyday familial meals at home. The family's food practices were found to be complexly connected to various physical places (geographical locations and interior spaces) as well as metaphorical places (social roles and places in time) within their context. Examination of these interconnected places presented a view of the family's sensing of places around their dinner table which in turn, revealed facets of their knowing, identity, and actions related to food and eating practices. Finally (but not in conclusion), I discuss how contextualized relationships among places and people could be adopted by future nutrition education research and practice. It is my intention that these new understandings now become the grounds for future enactivist endeavors in the field. ii Table Of Contents Abstract ii List Of Figures v List Of Tables vi Acknowledgements vii Prologue 1 Supporting Notions 3 The Roots Of Nutrition Education Theory And Research 3 Unearthing A Personal Past 9 Composting Past Philosophies: An Ecological Endeavor 13 Grounds For Knowing, Identity, And Action 19 Education Grounded By An Enactivist Philosophy 24 Supporting Notions And The Study 30 Laying The Groundwork: A Qualitative Enactivist Methodology 33 The Research Strategy 35 The Researcher's Role 36 Participant Selection 40 Informed Consent 42 Reciprocity 43 Site Selection 45 Information Collection Strategies 45 Research Journal 46 Pilot Study Interviews 47 Individual Interviews 47 Video Taped Meals 49 Stimulated Recall Family (Group) Interview 51 Follow Up Contacts 54 Information Management Strategies 54 Transforming The Information 55 What To Write - How To Write 60 Trustworthiness And Limitations Of The Research Design 64 An Enactivist Qualitative Methodology 66 iii Present(ing) Family Meals 68 Knowing Meals 69 Doing Dinner 79 Meals Just Happen 89 A Communion Of Spirits? 98 Family Traits I l l Trails Of Knowing, Identity, And Action 119 Eating Places: A Physical And Metaphorical Landscape 121 Geographical Places And Transgenerational Communication 123 Interior Spaces, Identity, And Food Practices ; 129 Familial Places: Roles Within The Family 130 Conceptions Of Time And Place 132 Sensing Places And The Process Of Coemergence 135 Towards Nutritional Knowing: Exploring The Common-Place(s) 137 Enactivist Research: Turning A Corner 137 Enactivist Practice: Steps Along A New Trail 142 Researcher Development: Re-visiting Places Around My Table 146 Epilogue 149 References 152 Appendix A: Glossary 159 Appendix B: Ethics Forms 163 i v List Of Figures 1. Generations of family members participating in this study 41 2. Alice and Don 69 3. Harry and Heather 79 4. Christine, Mitchell, Connor, and Greg 89 5. Dan and Kathy 98 6. An extended family meal I l l v List Of Tables Timeline for data collection v i Acknowledgements Although my personal sensing of places and people has often been taken for granted, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my friends and family members for the r lively dinner conversations that have helped create the stimulating and supportive environment i around me. In particular, I am fortunate to have had Joe's ongoing encouragement and computer expertise, as well as Jennifer's probing enactivist critique throughout my graduate studies. Special thanks are also extended to my research supervisor, Shauna Butterwick, and my committee members, Judith Ottoson, and Gwen Chapman, who patiently guided me along the sometimes difficult path to completing this research project. Their flexible mindset, thoughtful comments, and willingness to share research expertise are greatly appreciated. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I would like to recognize and sincerely thank the extended family members who enthusiastically participated in this research study by graciously welcoming me into their homes and generously donating their time and energy—Alice, Don, Heather, Harry, Christine, Greg, Kathy, and Dan. vii Prologue Here at the beginning of your journey through this text, I wish to take a moment to provide a few explanatory statements that will hopefully assist you. First you should know that the purpose of the research project is to explore how relationships among knowing, identity, and action shape the food practices of one family during meals at home. All aspects of this study are viewed through the lens of enactivism, a "deep" ecological, interpretivist philosophy. Enactivism is a non-anthropocentric philosophy, concerned with interdependence, complexity, and process that presents many challenges and possibilities to researchers, practitioners, and interested readers alike. When applied to education, a central focus is the knowing, identity, and actions resulting from interactions with others and the environment. The first chapter discusses some of the key ideas of the philosophy and the implications for teaching and learning. However, a warning—while the language of an enactivist perspective is essential for conveying unique ideas, it can be exceedingly confusing. Therefore, I have described the key components within the text as they first appear, and also in a glossary (see Appendix A) so readers can refresh their memory at later points in the thesis. To attend to the deep ecological convictions of this perspective, the thesis is also written with circularity in mind. I have attempted to present each chapter and its individual sub-sections as unique systems or bounded areas. Readers are invited to follow the familiar linear pattern of beginning to end, or vice versa (for those of you who always read the last chapter first), or in random fashion, letting curiosity and interest prevail. Ecological metaphors in the titles are utilized to situate the study within earthly times and places. Chapters providing historical contextual and methodological information are likened to the supporting nature of the physical ground. Chapters conveying information about observed family meals are related to physical and metaphorical places of the present, and future implications are found in chapters that draw our 1 attention to the horizon. You will notice that a prologue and epilogue (rather than an introduction and conclusion) are included to emphasize the continuing nature of the research. These stylistic efforts were adopted to be consistent with a deep ecological, enactivist perspective that continually reminds us of the complex, relational, and contextual nature of food and eating practices. This study seeks to expand upon our understandings of the everyday phenomenon of familial meals and prompt nutrition education researchers and practitioners to forge new trails of identity, knowing, and action. 2 Supporting Notions What we commonly term "the past" would seem to be rooted in our carnal sense of that which is hidden under the ground—of that which resists, and thus supports, the living present...And this living terrain is supported not only by that more settled or sedimentedpast under the ground, but by an immanent past resting inside each tree, within each blade of grass, within the very muscles and cells of our own bodies. David Abram, 1996, p. 214, 215 While the overall purpose of this research project is to explore how relationships among identity, knowing, and action shape the food practices of one family's meals at home, the aim of this particular chapter is to convey to readers the major influences that undoubtedly supported all aspects of this endeavor. I begin this task with a broad examination, drawn from academic literature, of the historical characteristics defining the field of adult nutrition education. Next, I adopt a much narrower viewpoint to reflect upon past ideas and previous experiences that have shaped my personal research interests. This section is included because "[f]he scientist does not randomly choose a specific discipline or specialty, but is drawn to a particular field by a complex of subjective experiences...and theories necessarily borrow aspects of their character and texture from his untheorized, spontaneously lived experience" (Abram, 1996, p. 33). Finally a discussion of my research philosophy, enactivism, and its relationship to educational research, practice, and this master's thesis project is offered. Thus, the chapter presents the context from which the present study emerged, and the supporting notions that grounded it throughout. The Roots Of Nutrition Education Theory And Research During the first half of the twentieth century, health issues in Canada revolved around problems of controlling acute, infectious diseases and improving our standard of living. In this context, nutrition educators focused mainly on the dissemination of information aimed at helping 3 individuals achieve nutritional adequacy. The original Canada's Food Rules, for example, assumed nutritional deficiency in the general public and provided information on nutrient requirements aimed at correcting this pervasive condition (Health and Welfare Canada, 1990). Over the last 50 years, nutritional adequacy has remained a concern for some specific groups in society, but the health and nutritional status of Canadians has generally improved. In place of nutritional adequacy, a variety of new issues have emerged in response to changing societal characteristics such as demographics. Population studies indicate that the increasing proportion of Canadians over the age of 65 years is due in part, to the various medical and technological triumphs over common communicable diseases (Adler & Brusegard, 1980). Projections for the coming years predict a continuation of the trend towards increasingly larger percentages of Canadians over 65 years old (Retrieved from Statistics Canada's Internet Site -Population projections for 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, 2021, 2026, July 1, on October 28, 2000, http://www.statcan.ca/english/Pgdb/People/health.htm#res). The influential political power of the baby boomer generation, combined with our generally improved nutritional status and continually increasing longevity, has served to re-focus public health issues on the chronic, degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, dental caries, and gastrointestinal tract diseases. The public interest in chronic diseases has also been supported by scientific research. While causal relationships between specific illnesses and diet have not been conclusively proven (Health and Welfare Canada, 1990), many chronic diseases are correlated to dietary imbalances or excesses (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1988) and research has shown that a healthy diet can reduce their incidence (Health and Welfare Canada, 1990). Not surprisingly, attention to nutritional issues by society has increased tremendously in recent years, and nutrition education is now considered an important component of health education and health promotion. 4 As we begin the twenty first century, malnutrition, under-nutrition, and over-consumption have become matters of national and international importance. In addition to the acceptance of nutrition education as a key component of health promotion, other evolving societal characteristics have increased the need for effective nutrition education and knowing. Our food supply, for instance, has changed dramatically from the familiar, locally grown foodstuffs of the past. The relatively recent phenomena of widespread global immigration, urbanization, and trading have introduced an increasingly multicultural food supply to an increasingly multicultural public. Today many ethnic foods, previously unavailable to the general public, are commonly sold in neighborhood groceries across Canada. Rapid advances in modern technology have also profoundly affected our diet. Unbeknownst to many, genetically altered foods are quietly being introduced into our foodways, while at the same time, mass media and commercial interests attempt to subvert the public's perception of which foods are required, desired, and economically available (Gussow, 2000). Thus, for better or for worst, the food we eat today is not the same as the food of our ancestors, or even of our childhood. While the advent of new technologies has influenced the Canadian public's access to, and ideas about, food and eating, scientific advances have also increased the likelihood of adopting a sedentary lifestyle. It is undeniable that inventions such as cars, televisions, computers, and the like, have made our existence less physically demanding. The downside is that these technological advances, combined with recent societal trends and a lack of individual and collective nutritional knowing, do not always result in healthy behaviors over the long term. It is obvious that the public's eating patterns and environment have been adversely disrupted (Johnson & Johnson, 1985) to the point where, for many, eating is no longer a healthy, naturally regulating process. Likewise, it is clear that the field of nutrition education is complex, continually evolving, and firmly entrenched in current circumstances. 5 How does nutrition education cope with this pervasive, ever changing context? Unlike general nutrition research, which has long been a topic of interest to the scientific community, research exploring the art of nutrition education is a relatively recent endeavor. Unfortunately, in the past, many programs of nutrition education have not been explicitly grounded in educational theory (Johnson & Johnson, 1985; Nestor & Glotzer, 1981; Randell, 1995; Whitehead, 1973), so researchers discovered that the reasons for successful results in educational programming could not be identified (Johnson & Johnson, 1985). There are, however, a limited number of comprehensive overviews that deal specifically with nutrition education, and if considered together they reveal important insights into the field. One literature review found that teacher centered instruction (lectures) and individualistic learning of facts have been the norm throughout most of the twentieth century. Program objectives have tended to focus on the lower levels of cognitive function, such as knowledge and comprehension, and the purpose of most programs have traditionally been merely to disseminate nutrition information in the hopes that increasing knowledge alone would lead to behavioral and attitudinal changes by the learner. Therefore, it appears that the teaching and learning strategies employed by the majority of nutrition education programs were inconsistent with the conclusions of research investigating the effectiveness of instructional techniques (Whitehead, 1973). Despite these findings, most comprehensive reviews of the field have also concluded that some nutrition education programs were successful. One worldwide review of nutrition education programs between 1900 and 1970 concluded that programs were effective if appropriate methodology was utilized to achieve specific behavioral goals (Whitehead, 1973). Another comprehensive review covering 74 years of research, found that nutrition education has consistently produced improvements in nutritional knowledge, positive attitudes, and patterns of food consumption (Johnson & Johnson, 1985). A more recent review reached the same conclusions after examining research published between 1980 and 1995 (Randell, 1995). It would appear that the question is not whether some nutrition education programs are effective, but why (Smith & Lopez, 1991). How did the educational theory and methodologies of the successful programs differ from the less successful efforts? Since many practitioners in past 6 years did not explicitly ground their programs in educational theory, it has been difficult for program evaluators to explain how the successful programs produced changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior (Johnson & Johnson, 1985; Nestor & Glotzer, 1981; Randell, 1995; Whitehead, 1973). A rather scathing comment on the literature of the field in general and of children's nutrition education specifically, was that "the field seems to be driven more by practical and economic concerns...than by sound theory. Goals and techniques have changed little in several decades" (Nestor & Glotzer, 1981, p. xi). The authors go on to lament the lack of consensus in the field with respect to evaluation techniques, principles, definitions, methodologies, and desirable behaviors, attitudes and knowledge. They found that researchers and practitioners also tended to ignore the complexity and interrelationships of knowledge, attitude, behavior, and other related factors such as income, family, and culture that influence eating habits. When combined with constraints of time, money, communication, and researcher skills, the authors questioned the quality and generalizability of the body of information in the field. Although some nutrition education researchers and program planners today are still not guided by current educational theories and models, "great strides have been made in the past decade" (Achterberg & Clark, 1992). Research has found that programs relying on theory based educational methods aimed at behavioral change, are often more effective than programs that use dissemination of information techniques (Randell, 1995). There is still, however, a distinct need to connect and develop theory and practice in this field (Achterberg, 1988). One of my personal criticisms of past research in nutrition education is the over abundance of quantitative studies. From personal experience, I believe there are a few reasons for this. First, acceptance of quantitative methodology is most likely a by-product of the positivistic origins of the field. Most nutrition educators are primarily nutrition science experts, not nutrition education experts. Therefore, they are often most familiar with the positivistic, teacher centered instruction of their undergraduate science training so they accept and value this type of research. Second, nutrition education is often a secondary function of their jobs. Most dietitians or other professionals are constrained by the lack of money, time, and motivation. They are not inclined 7 to learn about educational theory and practice with no encouragement from the system. Finally, the overall lack of theory development and strong evaluation design displayed by most studies in this area has prompted many of the review papers in this field to specifically select quantitative studies by necessity (Johnson & Johnson, 1985; Randell, 1995). Although quantitative methods have proven useful for providing descriptions and correlations, recent developments have provided us with rigorous qualitative methods that have the potential to provide valuable insights into learning and behavior. In fact, a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies has been recommended to determine why different components, strategies or theoretical constructs are successful or relevant to diverse populations (Randell, 1995). Specific areas that could benefit from such research are community research that includes case studies describing the process of securing program resources, research that explores the characteristics of effective program strategies, and studies that investigate the results of testing different strategies in specific target populations. Rigorous formative and summative evaluations using appropriate tools and designs should be included in all nutrition education plans to promote generalization to similar populations and contexts (Randell, 1995). There is also increasing agreement that biomedical outcome or behavioral change information is not enough. Research investigating antecedent variables or proximal effects related to healthy eating practices such as personal health values, perceptions of benefits and barriers, empowerment, self efficacy, behavioral intent, and cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills is required. Better understanding of differing motivations, concerns, environmental/ ecological influences, and meanings of food is also needed (Randell, 1995). To meet this need, some nutrition researchers are now using qualitative methods to broaden our understandings in such areas as cultural behavior and values (Satia, et al., 2000). Thus, there are no ready answers but researchers have attempted to promote healthy attitudes and behavioral changes by exploring the effectiveness of various types of nutrition interventions. We have seen that in the past, the field of nutrition education has overwhelmingly, and perhaps uncritically, embraced the Western medical model of disease, using psychological theories, positivistic philosophy, and quantitative methodology to explain and treat various eating 8 behaviors. Practitioners have been guilty of assuming that desirable, healthy behavioral changes would naturally occur if learners were provided with adequate amounts of relevant information. Responsibility for the successful post-program incorporation of learning into various contexts such that substantial health outcomes were produced, often rested totally on the learners' shoulders. There has been an increasing explicit use of educational theory and greater understanding of the complex interactions among personal beliefs, values, empowerment, environmental supports, knowledge, and cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills that together profoundly affect our chances of realizing sustained behavioral change in various contexts (Green & Kreuter, 1991; Randell, 1995). Research into different food and eating environments (Mathews Richards, Adams, & Hunt, 2000) such as restaurants (Elder, et al., 1999), supermarkets (Lang, Mercer, Tran, & Mosca, 2000), and homes (Widga, Lewis, 2000) is addressing the need for more research that relates social and environmental issues to nutrition (Achterberg & Clark, 1992; Kent, 1988). However, a better understanding of teaching and learning is required that will help people evolve healthy food practices suited to their everyday lives. Knowledge derived from diverse disciplines, topics, methodologies, designs and methods is essential for continued growth of the field. The task for nutrition education research and practice is to adopt a more holistic philosophy of education that promotes healthy eating and healthy living. Unearthing A Personal Past Research interests, methodologies, and interpretations are greatly influenced by the researcher's personal history and philosophical commitments. I believe that meaningful, reflective research and practice is promoted when a researcher examines his or her interpretive paradigm and considers the perspectives inherent in their research inquiries. Therefore, I have included the following autobiographical situating to identify the pertinent contextual, individual, and social forces in my personal past that have directed this study. To start off, I believe that the relationship between my life and my research interest, metaphorically speaking, can be characterized as a fully set table with my research interest as the 9 main course. Sitting around the table are various aspects of my life—social relationships, education, career/volunteer work, and philosophy—each affecting the form of my research interest. It is important to note that these places at my "life table" also inter-relate with each other, the rest of the room (society), and the whole house (the more-than-human world). Each place at the table has a special relationship to food. My social relationships with others, for example, have always involved food in some way. Everyone has to eat, but I grew up in a multi-generational family where food was, and is, approaching the status of an obsession. As far back as I can remember, my mother, a dietitian, always emphasized the importance of eating three square meals a day, while my father, always money conscious, lectured us on eating every morsel of rice on our plate. However, despite our humble circumstances, food was always plentiful, and being a third generation Japanese-Chinese-Canadian family, the meals served were truly multicultural. The whole family learned to experiment with different tastes and types of food. In fact, my Japanese grandmother introduced us to what would today be considered "trendy" dishes containing exotic wild mushrooms, fiddleheads, and edible flowers. This is not to say that some of the foods were not rejected outright by us (such as the tiny dried fish with the huge eyeballs), but it was always over generous helpings of food that my family discussed, gossiped, laughed, and argued. Today, the most vivid of my childhood memories usually involves my family eating around the dining room table. I notice too that most of my lasting friendships have evolved over bagels and coffee, or ham and scalloped potatoes, or my traditional Christmas dinner party. The second place at my life table is education, another constant in my life. Here, my preoccupation with food continued into my first university degree—food science. On the positive side, I found experimenting with new recipes, ingredients, and processing techniques intriguing and this degree led to a career in the food industry, which continues today. However, on the down side, the taste panels, dorm food, and late night pizzas contributed to a substantial weight gain, triggering a series of diets and gym memberships. Finally, after spending four years in university residence and working in two ice cream plants, I decided I needed to learn more about proper nutrition, so I enrolled in a dietetics program. 10 Upon finishing this second Bachelor of Science degree, I soon realized that, while I was knowledgeable about the science of food and nutrition, I was still overweight. Eight years of post secondary science education focusing on food and nutrition had failed me. Somehow my knowledge of food had not translated into a healthy experiencing of food and eating practices. I reasoned that the nutrition education I had received up to then was lacking somehow in its mode of delivery, so, to improve my knowledge and ability to teach nutrition effectively, I applied and was accepted into in the master's adult education program at the UBC. My career and volunteer work are represented metaphorically as another place at my life table and again, food has played a central role. Since finishing my first degree in agriculture (food science), I have been employed in food research and industrial positions. Having worked in several different food production plants over the years, I have found that while ongoing professional education and training are acknowledged necessities in our industry, opportunities for such learning are mostly infrequent and informal. I had to be willing to adopt a positive attitude towards life long learning and create my own learning activities in order to experience growth in understanding and experience within the workplace. The last place at my metaphorical life table is occupied by my philosophy of education. On this topic, I must confess that teaching and researching from a defined personal philosophy is a relatively new concept for me. In all my years of scientific study, the topic of personal philosophies of practice never arose. Philosophy was a grey "artsy" area that scientists never entered. Teachers were content experts and banking education was the norm. Since entering graduate studies, I have reflected on my philosophy of education and realized that it has actually been slowly evolving in my subconscious over several years, and rapidly transforming in recent months. Let me explain. As a child and young adult, my parents continuously impressed the importance of having a respectable occupation upon me. In their eyes, scientific, knowledge based positions were of much higher prestige than manual labor jobs. This was probably influenced by culturally informed priorities. Consequently, I took all the sciences in high school and completed two science based undergraduate programs at UBC. The technical-rational, positivistic philosophy was all I knew. 11 Other philosophies, unconsciously discouraged by my parents and teachers, were never officially introduced to me, but slowly, as I grew older I came to realize that there was more to life than the objectified view of reality professed by the sciences. I came to believe that different people view life from different positions; therefore, reality was subjective and constructed. It was with this seed of realization that I applied for graduate school in adult education with the hopes that it would round out my approach to nutrition education. Throughout my graduate life, I have found that the philosophy of education has been of primary interest to me, particularly the determination of where my personal beliefs lie. This endeavor has proved both frustrating and stimulating. In the beginning, it was extremely confusing, like a foreign language. Then, slowly, I began to comprehend a few of the words and ideas, and today I am able to characterize some of my beliefs, although they seem to be constantly evolving. At the time of this writing, I have discovered that enactivist philosophy resonates strongly within me, probably due to its emphasis on embodied knowing and the unification of science and lived experience. My task in recent years has been to explore the relationships between an enactivist perspective and nutrition education. One of my beliefs is that to be successful promoters of health we must consider ecological, interactive approaches that place participants, their experiences, and everyday contexts at the center of the educational program. Pragmatic considerations, critical reflection, and the honoring of participants' lived experiences are some key considerations required for promoting good health. With respect to research in the field of nutrition education, I feel that it is necessary to utilize a number of different research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, in order to establish an ecological understanding of nutritional knowing and doing. Program planning with sound (enactivist) theories of teaching and learning may enable nutrition education activities to help people adopt healthful behaviors in their own real life contexts. To return to the place settings around my metaphorical life table, I find that I eat, take second helpings and try new foods. The food on my plate changes. Likewise, I see myself as forever evolving, maturing, fine-tuning my philosophy, and moving in new directions of practice 12 and research that may or may not be the norms of the field. In the past, I have often viewed myself as an outsider. No doubt this stems from my mixed ethnic origins, for even as a small child I was well aware that I was somehow different from everyone else—not exactly Chinese, not exactly Japanese, and not your "normal" Caucasian Canadian. Although I realize that I am ethnically rather unique, in saying this, I do not feel disadvantaged or powerless. In contrast, I feel that being on the fringes, frees you to explore fresh ideas, foreign avenues, and innovative approaches in life as well as programs of education. The unconventional has always attracted me, and as I get older and more secure in myself, I feel less inhibited by the cultural restrictions, social norms, and peer pressures that have confined me in the past. I have always felt that the scientific field was ill fitting with respect to my personal experiences in the world, but I never had the vocabulary or knowledge of philosophy to articulate and clarify my position in my own mind. Even now, I feel that my personal philosophy of education is rapidly evolving as I learn about new possibilities and search for ways to express my beliefs in the field of nutrition education. As I sit at my metaphorical life table, I find that the combined experiences of my past social relationships, education, career, and philosophy set within the room of society on this earthly world, have led me to believe that nutrition education should be more than just telling a person how to nourish their physical body. Healthy eating is an activity that occurs in a variety of contexts, involving mind and body, as well as a host of social and environmental relationships. I feel that the primary focus of nutrition education is to promote the healthful understandings and behaviors of ordinary people as they go about living and eating in their everyday lives. These are the personal understandings and history from which I begin this research project. Composting Past Philosophies: An Ecological Endeavor Similar to the cyclical, nourishing process of composting, a key requirement for nourishing the future development of nutrition education theory and practice, will be for us to reflect upon the ramifications of past philosophical traditions, and adopt or create one which best fits the current context. The research paradigm commonly accepted and utilized by North 13 American nutrition educators is positivism (Travers, 1997). This paradigm is characterized by the belief that there is one true reality that can be proved or disproved by logical, deductive processes. The purpose of positivistic research is to communicate technical, scientific knowledge of the world as it really is, using precise, objective methods (Sipe & Constable, 1996; Travers, 1997). Such research, which purports to be value-free, tends to focus on observable behavior, measurement and quantification, and controlling variance and bias (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993). The question is—does positivism still work in today's context? Increasing opposition to positivism in nutrition education research exists partly due to the revolt against the positivist assumption that research is value-free, but also due to the over-valuing of technical knowledge and control (Travers, 1997). Alternative research paradigms such as interpretivism are increasingly found in the literature. In contrast to positivists, interpretivists believe that there are many truths, and that reality is subjective and actively created (Sipe & Constable, 1996). Research in this paradigm observes behavior to interpret meanings, looks for inter subjective understanding, and is usually inductive and qualitative (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993). One position located within the interpretivist paradigm, called enactivism, has emerged. Enactivism is a "deep" ecological, interpretivist philosophy. It is an inclusive, non-anthropocentric orientation that examines the connections among all living and non-living entities. Complexity, fluidity, process, and interdependence are emphasized. Ecological metaphors are often used to help people think through the new (and sometimes difficult) enactivist language1. In education, non-linear knowing, identity, and actions are explored with consideration of the entire context. Adoption of this ecological outlook addresses diversity in teaching, because it advocates ethical practice without the privileging of certain issues over others. This new philosophy is informed by several different fields, including deep ecology (Bateson, 1979), biology (Maturana & Varela, 1998), and philosophy (Varela, Thompson & Rosch, 1991). The advent of enactivism has spawned novel theories related to cognition and evolution (Maturana & Varela, 1998), which in turn have been applied to educational teaching 1 A glossary is provided in Appendix A to assist readers with enactivist language. 14 and learning (Davis & Sumara, 1997; Davis, Sumara & Kieren, 1996). Some of these characteristics of enactivism and its related theories have important implications for adult nutrition education. Looking through the lens of enactivist philosophy presents an opportunity for educators to examine educational values and assumptions that deal with the topic of ecological research and practice. In the field of health promotion, "ecological models of health behavior posit that behaviors are influenced by intrapersonal, social and cultural, and physical environment variables; posit that these variables are likely to interact; and describe multiple levels of social and cultural and physical environment variables as relevant for understanding and changing health behaviors" (Glanz, Lewis & Rimer, 1997, p. 404). Because ecological models focus on the patterned behavior of individual, social, and physical determinants of health, a victim-blaming ideology is avoided, and social and physical influences on health are explicitly recognized (McLeroy, Bibeau, Steckler & Glanz, 1988). On the surface, these statements appear reasonable and ethical. If one looks a bit deeper, however, it can be argued that much ecological research dealing with health is anthropocentric, valuing humans above all else and assigning only instrumental use to nature. This type of ecological research has been termed shallow ecology (Naess, 1985). In health promotion, the purpose of such research is often to bring the environmental causes of health related behavior to the forefront, so that environmental interventions can be used to aid the process of behavioral change (Glanz, Lewis & Rimer, 1997). In doing so, the impact of changing the physical environment on other living systems besides human beings may be unknown or disregarded. Since the overwhelming positivist focus of research and practice has been anthropocentric~how individual humans can improve their health sometimes at the possible expense of other living beings, such values are said to be "based on a deeply rooted set of cultural assumptions that represent the fate of humans as separate from that of the environment" (Bowers, 1997, p. 68). It is not surprising, therefore, that many recent approaches to the promotion of healthy eating practices have stressed environmental interventions that are disconnected from 15 other worldly living systems. This research tends to investigate changes to environmental influences such as food supply changes, nutrition information at points of food choice, worksite policies and incentives, and structural changes to health and medical care that affect nutrition (Glanz & Mullis, 1988). Often, reflection on the ecological ramifications of such solutions is not openly discussed. Such disregard for the complex, interdependent nature of other living and non-living systems has the potential to greatly affect our human food supply and survival. In addition to being anthropocentric or shallow, research sometimes uses the words ecological and environmental interchangeably. This can be a source of misunderstandings because ecological research focuses on interrelationships and the "fundamental intertwining of all things" (Davis, 1996, p. 58), while environmental research refers only to the environs or surroundings. Without an accurate understanding of the distinction between these two types of research, a person could be led to believe that the individual and the rest of the world are two distinctly separate categories. An environmental crisis would imply that the problem or blame lies beyond the individual somewhere in the surroundings, and the solution could be found there also. Alternatively, reference to an ecological crisis immediately brings to mind the interrelatedness and interconnectedness of all systems, so any solutions put forth would necessarily be much more inclusive, considering impacts on human and nonhuman, living and nonliving systems (Davis, 1996). It is now time for ecologically based research that looks broader and deeper. Deep ecology, as opposed to shallow ecology that is human-centered, values all living beings and views the natural world "as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent" (Capra, 1996, p. 7). One of the predominant ideas central to deep ecology is systems thinking. The three interdependent criteria of living systems are—the presence of a pattern of organization or relationships that identify a system as belonging to a certain class, a structure that represents that physical embodiment of this pattern of organization, and a life process which encompasses all activities related to the continuation of the system's pattern of organization and structure (Capra, 1996). 16 Systems thinkers are concerned with the context and underlying processes, which give rise to structure. Living systems are considered to be open systems capable of developing, reproducing and evolving. The simultaneous interactions of several influences generate patterns of organization specific to that system, as well as cyclical feedback loops of communication networks. These feedback loops allow the system to be self-regulating and flexible when reacting to changing environmental situations. Increasing process complexity often leads to a more diverse network of structures and greater resiliency to environmental stresses (Capra, 1996). The emphasis on contextual and process thinking requires us to shift our perception "from the parts to the whole, from objects to relationships, from contents to patterns" (Capra, 1996, p. 298). The properties of a living system are considered to be greater than the sum of its component parts (relationships), and because living systems are also embedded within each other, emergent properties may appear at each increasingly complex systems level. For example, research can investigate one factor thought to affect healthy eating. However, as an evaluation by Kennedy, Hunt & Hodgson (1998) of a nutrition education program for low income families in the United Kingdom noted, "not only is the problem [of adopting healthy eating advice] multifactorial but, more importantly, the sum of these and their inter-relationships are more powerful than any single factor" (p. 94). Therefore, it is necessary to explore phenomena at multiple system levels to get a holistic, ecological perspective. A deep ecological perspective offers nutrition educators a rationale for practice that aims for sustainable communities and values all living beings. Members of ecological communities are understood as being both interconnected by a network of relationships, and interdependent on each other for all their life processes. Viewed from a deep ecological perspective the key features required for sustainability are a consideration of both process and context related to the interdependence of phenomena, the cyclical nature of ecological processes, cooperation and partnership between systems, flexibility of systems, and diversity (Capra, 1996). Literature in the field of nutrition education has begun to link food service practices to the environment (Harman, 1999). It has also been recommended that "[njutrition educators should use sustainable development as a framework for their thinking in order to make nutrition education more 17 relevant in communities and make food and nutrition visible in ways they are not now.. .nutrition is the bridge, the connection, between agriculture and health" (Clancy, 1999, p. 192). Some suggestions are to choose local foods that are minimally processed and packaged (Gussow, 1999, 2000). After all, if educators promote sustainable food supplies and behaviors, they are advocating healthy human food practices that are ecologically and ethically sound for other living and nonliving entities. While deep ecology provides the basis for understanding the principles of a sustainable ecological lifestyle and environment, another branch of ecological philosophy, social ecology, informs us of "cultural characteristics and patterns of social organization that have brought about the current ecological crisis" (Brookchin, 1981 as cited in Capra, 1996, p. 8). Social ecology in health promotion assumes that "efforts to promote human well-being should be based on an understanding of the dynamic interplay and mutual influence among diverse environmental and personal factors, rather than on analyses that focus exclusively on environmental, biological or behavioral factors" (Stokols, 1992, p. 7). Social ecology values the complexity and multidimensionality of human environments by recognizing not only physical environments, but also varying levels of participants in the social environment such as individuals, small groups, organizations, communities, and populations. Social ecology seeks to link broad based public health orientations to individual health strategies and in doing so, it emphasizes multidisciplinary, multilevel, and multimethod analyses of health behavior with regards to health research and health education. Health initiatives resulting from this perspective assume that multilevel, behavioral and environmental modification will be most effective (Stokols, 1992). One researcher has called on nutritionists to re-discover and promote the eating of local seasonal diets as a way to boost local food security, preserve farmland, and conserve energy. This is one example of a deep ecological solution that advocates an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable food practice (Gussow, 2000). Despite the social ecological viewpoint and our own intuitive knowing, an interesting anomaly exists in the nutrition education literature. It has been recognized that "nutrition behaviors and attitudes are rarely individually based" (Achterberg & Clark, 1992, p. 227). They 18 tend to be long term behaviors, greatly affected by varying contexts, family, peers and society. Structural modifications may be required for behavioral changes to be successful. The problem is that most nutrition education theories and models come from the psychological literature and deal with individualistic learning and behavior change (Achterberg & Clark, 1992). Deep ecological research investigating food practices at multiple system levels is limited. The dietetic literature calls on the field to embrace self directed, lifelong learning (Duff, 1999), and notes that sustainable agriculture and environmental concerns are growing among large corporations and investors (Bezold & Kang, 1999). The question is asked whether the American Dietetic Association should advocate closer "connections to farmers or to organic farming/gardening" Rather than adopting such a "shallow" ecological, anthropocentric view, I say that the time has come to seriously reconsider the positivistic philosophy and individualistic learning theories that are predominant in the field of nutrition education. The adoption of a "deep" ecological perspective, such as enactivism, would provide educators with more holistic, sustainable understandings regarding ethical, non-anthropocentric research and practice in varying contexts and systems. Grounds For Knowing, Identity, And Action Education from an enactivist perspective implies the adoption of deep ecological values. Furthermore, this perspective has been greatly influenced by the Santiago Theory put forth by Maturana and Varela (1998), which links cognition, the process of knowing, to evolution, the process of life. To understand how these researchers arrived at this theory, it is first necessary to understand the concept of autopoiesis. Autopoiesis (meaning "self-making") describes the circular organization of all living systems (Capra, 1996; Maturana & Varela, 1998). An autopoietic network creates a boundary that identifies the system as a unit (aka "unity"), and is itself part of the network of relationships (self-bounded). All components of such a system are produced by system production processes (self-generating), and they are continually replaced by system transformation processes (self-perpetuating). A familiar example of an autopoietic network would be a family. One family is 19 easily identified as a unit, different from other families, by their bloodlines (self-bounded). Reproduction provides new family members (self-generating), and over time, the family unit remains even though individual members are different (self-perpetuating). Thus, an autopoietic system is circular and organizationally closed, but open in the sense that matter and energy from outside are continually flowing through it (Fleischaker as cited in Capra, 1996, p. 208). It is also necessary to distinguish between the brain and the mind to fully understand the Santiago Theory. For Maturana and Varela, the mind is the process of cognition, commonly known as the process of knowing, while the brain is only one physical structure that may participate in this process. The entire physical structure of a living system is considered to be involved in cognition, so cognition in the Santiago Theory is often referred to as embodied action. In fact, a brain is not necessary for a living system to exhibit cognition or knowing. For example, a plant (an autopoietic living system) has no brain but through various processes and relationships between its cells (the structure) it is able to sense (or know) where the light is and grows towards it (the embodied action). Thus, all living autopoetic systems participate in the process of cognition (aka the process of knowing, embodied action, the mind) irregardless of the presence of a physical brain. The central phenomenon of cognition is structural coupling, and the process of structural coupling over time is often referred to as coemergence or codetermination. When structural coupling occurs, a living system chooses to react to an environmental trigger by adopting structural changes that perpetuate autopoiesis. It is important to note that not all environmental conditions will result in structural changes (for example, when human beings choose to ignore background noise), and not all structural changes are due to structural coupling (for example, an accidental broken bone). Because the living system directs how and when structural coupling occurs, the structural changes that do occur are seen as embodied cognitive actions. Development and learning are viewed as expressions of structural coupling. An important repercussion, for educators, of adopting this view of cognition being the result of structural coupling is that "[cjognition, then, is not a representation of an independently existing world, but rather a continual bringing forth of a world through the process of living. The 20 interactions of a living system with its environment are cognitive interactions, and the process of living itself is a process of cognition" (Capra, 1996, p. 267). The material world exists but because structural coupling depends upon each system's physical structure, different systems will perceive the world differently. Cognition is not representation, instead "every act of knowing, brings forth a world" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 26). This broad definition of cognition, the process of knowing, encompasses both the generation and perpetuation of autopoiesis, and the "bringing forth of a world" by living systems (Maturana and Varela, 1998, p. 26). It also alters our common understanding that evolution occurs due to processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest, where "the environment is supposedly 'choosing' which of the many possible changes are taking place" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 101). Rather than natural selection, enactivists believe that "[e]volution is a natural drift, a product of the conservation of autopoiesis and adaptation" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 117) resulting from structural coupling between organisms and their environment. Survival is attributed to the best fit at a particular time between an organism and its environment. A living system that increases its flexibility and diversity through structural coupling is viewed as more likely to survive. The process of structural coupling also gives rise to communication among humans. "Communication, according to Maturana, is not a transmission of information, but rather a coordination of behavior among living organisms through mutual structural coupling" (Capra, 1996, p. 287). Recurring social coupling between organisms produces communicative behaviors that are either learned or instinctive. Learned communicative behaviors rely on structures arising from the organism's history of social interactions and development, while instinctive communicative behaviors rely on structures that arise independently from the organism's history of structural change. A learned communicative behavior that can be described by an observer in semantic terms, as if the observer's meaning determined the course of the interactions, is called linguistic, and all of an organism's linguistic behaviors are referred to as its particular linguistic domain. When members of a human social system exhibit a shared history of structural drift due to their 21 linguistic coordination of actions, the domain of language occurs. "Language enables those who operate in it to describe themselves and their circumstances through the linguistic distinction of linguistic distinctions" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 210), and this opens the possibility for such phenomena as reflection, meaning, and self-awareness. Therefore, at high levels of complexity a living system is able to couple structurally to itself and create an inner world of consciousness, perception, and emotions. As complex living systems, experience tells us humans that we have "identities: we have a personality, memories and recollections, and plans and anticipations, which seem to come together in a coherent point of view, a center from which we survey the world, the ground on which we stand" (Varela, Thompson, & Rosch, 1991, p. 59)~our Self2. This conception of a single, unchanging Self has been challenged by those who point out that our experience of living is always changing and context dependent. Varela, Thompson, & Rosch (1991) discuss how cognitive science demonstrates "that the self or cognizing subject is fundamentally fragmented, divided, or nonunified" (p. xvii) and how "[n]o tradition has ever claimed to discover an independent, fixed, or unitary self within the world of experience" (p. 59). So despite our experience of a constantly changing self, how is it that we still instinctively feel that we have a more permanent Self? How could this be? A discussion of being and becoming, as seen through an enactivist lens, considers culturally and biologically historical selves and identities that are continually changing and not creations of a pregiven, transcendent Self. As Davis (1996) explains: The self, then, is defined as a network of relationships, and so, as histories, contexts, and participants vary, identities (or, in Maturana and Varela's terms, structures) change. (This idea is closely aligned with the postmodernist contention that we do not "don different masks"~that is, behave differently—as we move from one setting to another. Rather, different selves are enacted: we change.) Our identities do, however, retain an integrity as we move from one setting to the next, held together by particular 2 Self with a capital "S" denotes the Self as a unitary fixed phenomena, whereas self with a small "s" refers to constantly changing, fragmented selves. 22 habits, language (patterns of acting), stories (narratives), and other knowings (p. 192). "Understandings, meanings, beliefs, feelings, and actions, in other words, are not so much things that we give shape to, but events that shape to our selves" (Davis, 1996, p. 209). For example, the moral norms of a culture set the guidelines within which an individual must learn to fit and find her identity (Bowers, 1997). The process of change or transformation of a person's identity "is not something that happens to the self, it is the self (Davis, 1996, p. 191). By accepting being and becoming as a temporal, coemergent process, an enactivist perspective is open to the possibility for shared understandings or collective knowing, as opposed to subjective individual understandings or individual knowing (Davis, 1996). Shared understandings, ideas, values, identities and the like are expressions of cultural behavior (Bowers, 1997), which is taken to be "the transgenerational stability of behavioral patterns ontogenically acquired in the communicative dynamics of a social environment" (Maturana & Varella, 1998, p. 201). Such cultural behaviors are often nondescript, everyday actions that are learned by people at a tacit, contextual level (Bowers, 1997). Thus, our knowing and selves are seen to coemerge through self-similar underlying processes of embodied action and interaction (Davis, 1996). To summarize, all living systems will choose to react with triggers in their environment (structural coupling) in order to maintain their autopoietic state. The behavior that results is called embodied action, knowing, and/or cognition. Since cognition results from structural coupling, cognition is not viewed as a representation of the world, but a continual bringing forth of the world through the process of living. Therefore, the process of cognition is equated with the process of living. From this core enactivist understanding, several theories have been postulated (Ruiz, 1996). For instance, evolution is considered as the cumulation of processes resulting from long term structural couplings between autopoietic systems (natural drift rather than natural selection). Communication is viewed as the coordination of behaviors resulting from mutual structural coupling, not a transfer of knowledge, and language is therefore, a learned communicative behavior. The process of being and becoming (selves and identities) is again, another coemergent 23 process, so both individual and collective (shared) knowing exists. These theories have prompted ongoing discussions of epistemology (knowing), ontology (being), and enaction (doing), which are critical to helping educators achieve an understanding of how cognition, the process of life, shapes all of our teaching and learning endeavors. Education Grounded By An Enactivist Philosophy Nutrition education is similar to many science-based fields in that it has always valued knowledge as if it were an entity in itself. In fact for many years, disseminating information to learners about food, nutrition, and eating was the preferred teaching method (Whitehead, 1973) and educators believed that knowledge alone would ensure that learners improved their eating habits. Such a view is not at all uncommon. "Interestingly, in modern analytic terms, knowledge tends to be understood as a sort of bridge that links subject to object, knower to world, individual to collective, and mental to physical. Knowledge is popularly regarded as a 'third thing' that links two opposites" (Davis, 1996, p. 77). This conception of knowledge is consistent with the assumptions of many educational philosophies. For example, learning theories derived from a positivist perspective consider curriculum to be the study of pre-specified facts or content, and teaching to be the linear process of transfering knowledge from expert teachers to learners. The learners are expected to receive, bank, and accumulate objective knowledge. Representationist theories such as constructivism also posit learning as an individual's construction of mental representations (structures, strategies, and schemas) of the outer physical world, which over time become more and more accurate. This stance considers learning to occur when an individual uses personal experiences to construct appropriate ideas, with evidence of learning being feasible behavior in a given context. The role of a constructivist teacher is to facilitate individuals' mental knowledge construction by orchestrating activities in such a way that individual learners can actively create subjective meanings of their educational experiences. Constructivism privileges the individual. Therefore, when constructivism is combined with a lack of deep ecologically oriented critical reflection, and the prevailing modern mindset that change naturally leads to human progress, it should not be 24 surprising that constructivism has promoted individual subjective knowing to the point where traditions, cultural knowledge, and social-historical context are increasingly ignored or overturned (Bowers, 1997; Davis, 1996). In light of these criticisms, social constructionism has been a popular alternative to constructivism. This learning theory focuses on the historical, cultural, and political context, and their influence on an individual's experiences and construction of knowledge. Again, the role of the teacher is to facilitate individual knowledge construction by orchestrating educational activities. However, now the teacher acts as a point of connection between the social and the individual. The problem is that while the social context is acknowledged, cognition is still considered to be subjective and individual, and knowledge is still a third entity bridging the collective and individual levels of society (Davis, 1996). The problem with these learning theories and their assumptions regarding the nature of knowledge is that they do not account for the human body being both a biological and a lived-phenomenological structure that at once separates us from, and places us in, relationship with others. Therefore, the idea of knowledge as a separate entity does not allow for the phenomena of joint action and collective (shared) understanding. An enactivist perspective attends to this dilemma by perceiving the human body as both the center of self-identity and the situator of that person in the world. Our fluid, dynamic body of knowledge, formed through the complex, structural coupling of knowers and known world, is simultaneously our collective identity and our patterns of acting that situate us in relationship to the background. As individuals, we participate in the shaping of our collective identity or body of knowledge, while at the same time this collective body of knowledge participates in the shaping our own individual identity. Knowledge and self are established historically and relationally in context dependent situations. This means that from an enactivist perspective, education involves the continuing enaction of learners' relationships, where knowing-^  and understanding are inseparable from identity and 3The terms knowing and knowledge are often used interchangeably in the literature. In this thesis, the term, knowing, will be used from this point forward to refer to the enactivist perspective of knowing as an embodied process of living based on structural coupling, whereas, the term, knowledge, will refer to the common perspective of knowledge as a separate entity bridging opposites. 25 action (Davis, 1996). While acknowledging the insights of various learning theories such as constructivism and social constructionism, an enactivist perspective of learning does not view the individual as the ultimate authority of truth. Instead, knowing and self are created through many instances of structural coupling within any given context. Cognition, the process of knowing, arises from opportunities for shared action and therefore: [m]uch of what we do and know, in other words, is unformulated: we just do it; we just know it. It is thus that, as mentioned earlier, the measure of one's knowledge shifts to effective action in a specific context—and these actions may or may not be (but likely are not) subject to conscious awareness. Knowing is doing, and all doing arises from a rich and ongoing history of structural coupling with a complex and active environment (Davis, 1996, p. 193). In an enactivist educational setting unconscious knowing is just as influential as conscious interpretations, and the self is a network of historical, contextual relationships (Davis, 1996). An enactivist perspective to teaching and learning also draws our attention to other non-human living systems and reminds us to be ecologically mindful and respectful in our educational practice. Bowers (1997), an educational researcher with a deep ecological perspective, has proposed an ideology, which he has termed cultural/bio-conservatism. This phrase is meant to "represent the beliefs, values, and other patterns of cultures that recognize their dependence on the forms of life in their bioregion, and have co-evolved accordingly" (Bowers, 1997, p. 135). The recognition that relationships among human knowing and other living systems exist reflects a deep understanding of context and attends to the uniqueness of our past experiences. Another ecological epistemological model (Bateson, 1970 as cited in Bowers, 1997) presents an individual as situated within an unpredictable, impermanent ecology of continually changing, interactive relationships to which he or she responds to based on past cultural coding and its storage in metaphorical language. Beliefs, values, experiences, and other cultural forms of intelligence act as mainly tacit cultural maps that lead individuals to interpret and respond to 26 certain perturbations in the natural system while ignoring others. Such cultural maps are ingrained, taken for granted, metaphorically based understandings that develop over time. They help present and future generations to make sense of the world, and interact with each other and the environment. Greater understanding of the cultural maps of learners may help nutrition educators offer more effective programs (Devine, Sobal, Bisgni & Connors, 1999). Given these ecological relationships, the role of an enactivist teacher in educational programs is complex, to say the least. Enactivist educators become full participants in the learning process, moving within and between individual and collective knowing, identity, and action. Knowing occurs through a history of multiple planned and unplanned instances of structural coupling and patterns of acting involving the teacher, learners and their environment— the entire context. Learners are considered to be fundamentally part of the immediate system, while at the same time, part of several increasingly complex systems. Cognition is not "located within cognitive agents who are cast as isolated from one another and distinct from the world... instead...all cognition exists in the interstices of a complex ecology of organismic relationality" (Davis & Sumara, 1997, pp. 110). That is, where different systems meet, mutual specification creates unique actions and understandings that probably would not have been created by either system separately. Thus, cognition occurs "in the possibility for shared action" (Davis & Sumara, 1997, pp. 117). Development and learning are expressions of structural coupling between all participants and their environment, and so the context plays an important role in enactivist educational programs. Adult educators have long acknowledged the importance of context and have made efforts to enhance or eliminate contextual features that could aid or inhibit adult learning (Knowles, 1980). However, a context or place is more than just a geographical location consisting of physical characteristics and social activities to be controlled. An enactivist perspective emphasizes how places and beings also coemerge—specific characteristics of a place shape actions and relationships, while these same actions and relationships shape the place. "We are part of the places we occupy, just as these places are part of us....[and] we tend to implicate our own identities in our descriptions of familiar places" (Davis, 1996, p. 132). Thus, an 27 enactivist understanding of context is somewhat different than that of other traditional educational perspectives. Attention to the entire context is paramount in an enactivist educational program because it influences learning as much as the conscious instructional efforts of the teacher (Davis & Sumara, 1997). This is not to say that teaching methods and skills are not important, but they may be different than what some teachers have become accustomed to. It has been proposed that teachers rid themselves of the predictable textbook sequencing of events (introducing the formal concept, providing practice time, and then formulating understanding). Instead, they could start by considering the context. Since knowing, identity, and actions are inseparable and continuously coevolving with various aspects of a context, educational programs are likely to occur in appropriate non-traditional settings as well as classrooms (Davis, 1996). The choices for action within a context are co-determined by the teacher and learners, and may include an assortment of instructional methods including teacher centered instruction, individual activities, and collective exploration. An observed action or behavior is thought of as a type of understanding that can be seen by others (Davis & Sumara, 1997). Innovative, unpredictable teaching methods open a rich space of possibilities where learning actions can be noticed and components capturing the learner's attention can be pursued (Davis, 1996). Evaluation and post-program application of knowledge are another important area of interest. For the most part adult educators have historically focused on increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and improving skill levels only during the time span of the educational program and usually within the classroom context. With the failure of many educational programs to promote post-program application of learning, there is interest in exploring whether the knowledge imparted by educational programs is used later on by learners. Curiosity, pragmatism, and budgetary restraints have signaled to some that the time has come to ask questions about how successfully knowledge is transferred from educational to real life settings. Educators are starting to look for other ideas related to teaching, learning, and post-program application, and researchers are now exploring the process of post-educational application (Ottoson, 1994, 1995, 1997). 28 An enactivist educational perspective presents one conception of post-program application and evaluation. Assessment of such a program would be based on enactivist values. Since observed behavior in a given context would be understood to be an appropriate fit for a given context (Davis & Sumara, 1997), an evaluation would examine the ecological relationships joining various elements resulting in the observed post-program actions or understandings. The formative and summative evaluations might note such things as the educational program's provision of rich opportunities for structural coupling between individuals and groups within appropriate contexts and settings, the learners' ability to act on new ecologically grounded understandings in appropriate post-program contexts, the presence of unintended post-program behaviors and understandings in ordinary situations, and the complexity of unformulated knowing enacted by learners in their everyday environments. If educational endeavors are to be deemed meaningful, they must be intricately related to learners' specific context or cultural network for "all meaningful knowledge is contextual knowledge, and much of it is tacit and experiential" (Capra, 1996, p. 70). Thus, an enactivist educational program seeks to promote learning by providing rich individual and group opportunities for structural coupling within appropriate contexts. Ecological awareness and respect for other non-human and non-living systems is an important facet of such a program. Objectives are open ended, teaching methods arid contexts are varied, and evaluation looks for effective action in appropriate contexts. Educators from this perspective are alert to emerging understandings, cultural maps, and possibilities for action, while at the same time they are ready to seize the sudden, unplanned teachable moments. Knowing is the result of ongoing planned and unplanned instances of structural coupling among all participants and their environment. It is the continuing opportunities for interaction that permit ideas to be created and developed, for learning is unpredictable and "occasioned", not managed or controlled by teaching (Davis & Sumara, 1997). 29 Supporting Notions And The Study An overview of the context from which this master's thesis research project unfolded has been revealed by this chapter to the readers. Ever changing social influences have pushed the field of adult nutrition education to provide theory based programs based on educational philosophies that enable learners to adopt new understandings and appropriate behaviors in ordinary post-program environments. My own history of knowing, identity, and actions involving food and nutrition as well as my search for a personal philosophy of knowing have also undoubtedly influenced this study. I have been particularly interested in an enactivist view of cognition, its underlying process of structural coupling, and the implications for nutrition educators of adults. It was this unique combination of interacting influences that supported and shaped my research interests, prompting me to ask—How do relationships among identity, knowing, and action shape the food practices of one family's meals at home? This study sets out to address the above question while at the same time examining how an enactivist perspective might be reflected in all phases of research—the planning, implementation, interpretation, and implications. Consideration for the deep ecological roots of enactivism meant that I was not concerned only with the identification of influential factors related to food and eating behavior, but with obtaining a more extensive understanding of the relationship network forming the living system (in this case one family), and its capacity for interactions with other systems and environments. Specifically, the study focused on the food and eating practices during meals at home of individual family members, their households, and the extended four generation family as a whole. Attention was also paid to the environmental aspects of the context that contributed to behaviors linked to food and nutrition. The familial context was chosen because "the family or household is a prime focus within which dietary behaviors are organized and other health related processes enacted. Some of the most powerful variables predicting health and diet behavior are features of family or household structure" (Pelto, 1981, p. S4,5). Meals are an important opportunity for family interaction, with 95% of mothers and 83% of fathers reporting that they eat the evening meal with their young children (Gillespie & Achterberg, 1989). Parental health behavior affects the development of 30 children's health practices and vice versa (Baranowski & Nader, 1985), and the food choices of older adults are often based on childhood ideals (Winter Falk, Bisogni & Sobal, 1996). While members of the same family tend to exhibit similar eating habits (Patterson, Rupp, Sallis, Atkins & Nader, 1988), there is some evidence that family role structures and associated role dimensions may explain differences in food use patterns between families (Yetley, Yetley & Aguirre, 1981). Researchers have also discovered that ethnic "ideals, identities, and roles interacted with each other and the food and eating context in reciprocal and dynamic ways to influence food choice" (Devine, Sobal, Bisogni, & Connors, 1999). Therefore, I believed that an enactivist exploration of one family's food practices observed during ordinary meals at home is appropriate. A deep ecological understanding of ordinary experience is often discounted, even though it has relevance to many people. Familial experiences are complexly relational, for: [a]s in spinning a thread, we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres (Wittgenstein, 1968, p. 32).. .if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don't think, but look! (p. 31) We see a complicated network of similarities, overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than 'family resemblances'. (Familienahnlichkeiten) (p. 32). (as cited in David Jardine, 1994, p. 114). In addition, such cultural knowing is being sorted into a privileged class of high-status knowledge, which "is associated with modern assumptions, values, and ways of knowing" (Bowers, 1997, p. 1), and an undermined class of locally based low-status knowledge, which is viewed as irrelevant and unconnected to our culture of technological change and progress. Family meals fall into this class of low-status knowing because they are seemingly ordinary, uninteresting, and unchanging. Thus, this study explores family meals because they present an important phenomenon and context from which we can observe how knowing, identity, and 31 action shape food practices. Details related to the research method of this study are found in the following chapter. 32 Laying The Groundwork: A Qualitative Enactivist Methodology This research project explores our everyday food and eating practices by asking the f o l l o w i n g question—How do relationships among identity, k n o w i n g , and act ion shape the food practices o f one family 's meals at home? A s discussed i n the previous chapter, the entire research process was shaped by many contextual influences, f rom the history o f the f ie ld , to m y o w n personal past experiences, to the need to explore an enactivist perspective i n educational research. A central be l i e f o f enact iv ism concerns "the inextr icabi l i ty o f knowledge , act ion, and identity—and...that these phenomena are complex ly w o v e n into the cultural w o r l d i n w h i c h we f ind ourselves and w h i c h we participate i n shaping" (Dav i s & Sumara, 1997, p. 11). M a n y researchers and practitioners i n the field o f nutr i t ion education do not exp l i c i t ly recognize these complex relationships when they p lan studies and programs meant to improve our health. T h i s methodology chapter attempts to outline the key relationships and understandings that guided the selection o f data gathering and analysis methods adopted by this study. The challenge for this research study was to capture the complex i ty o f the participants' l i v e d experiences, reflect upon these understandings 4 , and suggest new ideas that w o u l d expand educational boundaries. Towards this end, I carefully considered various mul t id i sc ip l inary understandings and used them to examine c o m m o n educational assumptions about h o w research is done. One example o f this was related to the understanding o f context, w h i c h usual ly warrants vary ing levels o f considerat ion f rom educational researchers and practitioners. Enact ivis ts , influenced by the field o f ecology, have adopted a s l ight ly different meaning o f context f rom the c o m m o n interpretation. Boundar ies between objects and events are considered heuristic devices only. Enact iv is t educators bel ieve that learners are an integral part o f the context (as opposed to being placed i n it) so the context inherently changes as learners learn and v ice versa. Lea rn ing and teaching i n naturalistic environments outside the tradit ional c lassroom setting is embraced by 4 The opportunity to participate in ongoing feedback and reflection during the study process was offered to all family members but it was not a mandatory requirement of participation. As it turned out, a lack of time did prove to limit the overall research time contributed by family members. Therefore, while the family members did offer their perspectives, the majority of reflection on the study findings was done by myself. 33 enactivists, and research strives to study human experience in all its complexity in a variety of settings (Davis & Sumara, 1997). This understanding of context is especially relevant for nutrition education where embodied knowing and skills gained through participation in learning activities is meant to be useful to learners in a wide variety of naturalistic environments. For nutrition education programs to be appropriate to the learners' needs, they must be based on context sensitive research that occurs in places where people normally eat. Thus, this study has chosen the family meal in a home setting as a reasonable starting point for enactivist research into everyday food practices. I also considered the adoption of a qualitative research methodology as being particularly valuable from an enactivist perspective because it allows us to "understand complex interactions, tacit processes and often hidden beliefs and values" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995, p. 9). High quality information can be gathered continuously from information rich sources using multiple, interconnected methods, and the flexible, loosely structured design can adapt appropriately as the research unfolds, while at the same time being systematic and rigorous. (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). The collection of such rich raw data enables us to explore and interpret processes from an emic or insider's point of view embedded within a real context (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992). The information, "analyzed with close attention to detail, understood in terms of their internal patterns and forms,...[is also] used to develop theoretical ideas about social processes and cultural forms that have relevance beyond those data themselves" (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996, p. 163). Drawing from its enactivist roots, this study utilized hypothetical reasoning (Pierce, 1974, 1979 as cited in Kelle, 1995) and theoretical sensitivity (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) to develop ideas about the ecological nature of everyday familial food practices. The qualitative methodology adopted for this enactivist research study provided a flexible design and access to multiple methods of information gathering in naturalistic settings, thus promoting the possibility for deep interpretations. Such research allowed me to "offer descriptions of knowledge and communication and models of cognition and learning which are historical, situational, dynamic, inter subjective, and consensual... [acknowledging] the centrality 34 of the phenomenal and experiential rather than fixating narrowly on the formulated" (Davis, 1996, p. 8). Human experience was studied in all of its richness and complexity. T h e R e s e a r c h S t r a t e g y Research strategy has been described as "a road map, an overall plan for undertaking a systematic exploration of the phenomenon of interest; the methods are the specific tools for conducting that exploration" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995, p. 40). A qualitative case study strategy was adopted for this particular research study because it was suitable "for dealing with critical problems of practice and extending the knowledge base of various aspects of education" (Merriam, 1988. p. xiii). Such a strategy allowed me to collect rich, holistic information from my participants' perspectives in a naturalistic context using multiple appropriate methods that maximized informational adequacy, efficiency and ethical considerations (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). A case study strategy was appropriate here because it "offers a means of investigating complex social units consisting of multiple variables of potential importance in understanding the phenomenon" (Merriam, 1988, p. 32). In fact, "case studies are the preferred strategy when 'how' or 'why' questions are being posed, when the investigator has little control over events, and when the focus is on contemporary phenomenon within some real-life context" (Yin, 1984, p. 13). All of these criteria were present in this study. Case studies typically focus "on a single unit within which there may be several examples, events, or situations [that] can be exemplified by numerous case studies" (Merriam, 1988, p. 46). That is, they are "not a methodological choice, but a choice of object to be studied" (Stake, 1994, p. 236). The issue being investigated in this educational, interpretive, qualitative case study was how knowing, identity, and action shaped food practices during family meals at home, and the "case" or unit of analysis being examined was the family. Holistic information was gathered from the family using methods that would allow me to interpret or theorize about the life processes operating in this context. To ensure the do-ability of this study, it was further bounded to prevent the gathering of unmanageable mountains of information. Thus, data gathering was limited to information 35 pertaining to one extended family's food practices during meals at home. The familial context was chosen because it occupies a significant period of time in the lives of most people. It is here that complex learning processes begin during childhood and evolve throughout adult life. This context was also selected because previous nutrition education research has tended to focus on the individual, largely ignoring our complex interconnections and interdependencies with other living systems. The family meal was chosen because it is an everyday event that presents a recurring opportunity to observe conscious and unconscious actions connected to food and eating. Thus, a qualitative case study strategy was particularly suited to this enactivist research study because it allowed me to explore learning in a bounded, naturalistic environment outside the classroom. It advocated a flexible, multi-method approach to information gathering and analysis that promoted understanding of the interconnected, interdependent, formulated, and unformulated nature of knowing, identity, and actions. Narrowing the focus of this qualitative case study to the processes shaping one family's food practices during home meals served to bound this case sufficiently, allowing increased manageability during the collection and analysis of information. The Researcher's Role Qualitative research has been described as being a flexible, adaptive process that employs a multi-method strategy to learn about the world from the perspectives of the participants. Not surprisingly, it is quite demanding in the number of different roles that the qualitative researcher must assume. Overall, the researcher has been described as a "bricoleur [someone who] produces a bricolage, that is, a pieced-together, close-knit set of practices that provide solutions to a problem in a concrete situation" (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994, p. 2). Furthermore, "the bricoleur is always involved in a process, even if that process is not directional" (Lawler, 1985 as cited in Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 51). The job of the bricoleur is to invent or choose the best tools or research practices to use for a unique situation in a specific context at particular moment in time. The chosen combination of emerging methods must provide a deep understanding of the problem 36 (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994) while still paying close attention to issues of rigor and ethics throughout (Yin, 1984). Many times the methods of choice in qualitative research require the researcher to also be the "main 'measurement device' in the study" (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 7). The advantage of utilizing a human instrument is that the researcher is much more sensitive to the context and the study design can be emergent. The researcher can adapt methods after consideration of the overall context, and because information can be processed, clarified and summarized as the study progresses, unexpected results can be explored further (Guba & Lincoln, 1981). I found that one constraint of being a bricoleur was that the qualitative methods were demanding, requiring a certain skill level in order to obtain accurate, rich information. Researchers must be able to "continually make decisions, choose among alternatives, and exercise judgment" (Merriam, 1988, p. 71). This capable person is often required to spend "substantial time, on site, personally in contact with activities and operations of the case, reflecting, revising meanings of what is going on" (Stake, 1994). As the researcher in this study, I also felt that "personal involvement and partiality...and empathic understanding" (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992, p. 7) were essential for all my interactions with the study participants. Since I was aware of the demanding nature of qualitative methodology from the start, I initially conducted a pilot study to gain experience and skill as a researcher, thereby increasing the likelihood of success for this study. Finally, it should also be noted that my personal knowing and identity inevitably impacted on this study. My history as a family member, professional food technologist, and student of nutrition and adult education was a lens through which I viewed all my interactions and perceptions of the participants and the research process. My personal assumptions about research have played a role in selecting a qualitative methodology for this research study. I believe that the epistemological relationship between the researcher and the researched is meant to be an interactive, reciprocal process. That is, participants and researchers should work together to create dialogue and discourse within the chosen field. Consistent with my assumptions, the methodological purpose of qualitative, phenomenological research is to understand the world 37 from the perspectives of the study participants in their natural world, and within an interpretive paradigm, participants are considered as valued co-constructors of knowledge and reality (Marshall & Rossman, 1995; Sipe & Constable, 1996). The flexible design and naturalistic focus of qualitative methodology allowed me to conduct this study in a manner that is compatible with my personal research paradigm. Evident in this discussion is the fact that as the primary researcher in this study, I play multiple roles—bricoleur, research instrument, empathetic friend, and research participant. However, as Reinharz (1992) points out, the critical issue is not which roles I adopted but how well I was able to negotiate the roles that I did adopt. As these reflections from my research journal explain, I found that in my role as the bricoleur, it was necessary to modify the research methods in order to meet changing research conditions and my ethical expectations for the study: February 9, 1999 - This week I received the consent forms from the other three households in the family. Two households are participating and one (the eldest household) is not. I will still have plenty of information to work with, but I am concerned that I was not clear about explaining the purpose of the study to this household. The couple felt they had nothing to contribute because they led an increasingly simple lifestyle. Thinking back to my phone conversation with Don, he might have thought I was only interested in people who were really interested in food and diet (which I know they are not). Therefore, perhaps because of their lack of interest in food they felt embarrassed, judged, ill informed?... If they simply don't want to participate then that's fine, but at the same time, I would like to ensure that they fully understand the intent of the study. Obviously, they could provide valuable information related to their attitudes towards food at this time in their lives and allow an examination of transgenerational communication. I don't think it would be ethical to phone this household as they might feel coerced. Instead, I will talk to their daughter Heather because I am sure they would feel more comfortable saying no to her. I will emphasize with Heather not to pressure them, just explain the study and tell them that if they change their mind after hearing how the other household interviews have gone they are still welcome to participate. 38 March 10, 1999 -1 have learned that Alice and Don (the eldest household) have decided to participate in the study. I hope they did not feel pressured to participate by their enthusiastic family members. However, I did talk to everyone specifically about coersion and when I meet Alice and Don I will try to make them feel at ease. Heather and I discussed this issue and decided that they might feel more comfortable if I interviewed them together with Heather present. They were also reluctant to be video taped so we decided to just audio tape and not do a meal video tape. I hope these changes will allow them to feel relaxed. March 12, 1999 (pre-interview notes) -1 have been thinking about more ways to make Alice and Don more comfortable with the research process. I will be as flexible as possible with the interview time and date. I will also attempt to keep the interview on track and interesting for Alice and Don by picking up on topics they seem most enthusiastic about. This way I can keep the interview short and not impose too much. Of course, I'll have a small thank you gift for them too. March 12, 1999 (fieldnotes) - This interview went much better than I had anticipated. By the end of the interview, Alice and Don were extremely open, talkative, and enthusiastic. I am grateful to be able to include their perspectives about food and eating in this study. As these reflections show, qualitative research is a demanding endeavor for the bricoleur, as there are many unanticipated events and circumstances to be ethically negotiated. As the study progressed, I found the process to be both time consuming and mentally exhausting since I was forever contemplating the best choice for the study that would not harm the participants. I attempted to practice reflexivity by being responsive to the various situations, adopting a fluid, reflective attitude in keeping with an enactivist perspective. I started with the situation and context presented to me, repeatedly sought advise from the literature, participants, peers, and supervisors, and finally chose an ethical course of action. Throughout this study, I have sought to be well informed, reflective, flexible, and ethical. It has been a valuable learning experience. 39 Participant Selection Qualitative research does not use statistical sampling to select participants representing certain populations, as the purpose is not to generalize results to similar cases. Instead, the goal is to increase understanding (McMillan & Schumacher, 1993). Here the research project adopted a qualitative case study design (Merriam, 1988) where the case investigated was how the identity, knowing, and actions of one extended family shaped their food practices during meals at home. Purposeful sampling procedures were used to choose participants based on their potential to be rich sources of information (Patton, 1990). Since a phenomenon was being investigated, the sample selection was not constrained by the site or the population (other than the fact that a family would be selected), and participants could be chosen from a wide range of possibilities (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). This procedure for selecting participants was "based on the assumption that one wants to discover, understand, gain insight; therefore one needs to select a sample from which one can learn the most" (Merriam, 1988, p. 48). Stake (1994) points out that this might mean choosing the case that will provide the most research time. Practical issues such as access, the need to establish respectful, trusting relationships, and concerns for high quality information also came into play, limiting the choice of participants (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Network or snowball sampling, a type of purposeful sampling (McMillan & Schumacher, 1993; Miles & Huberman, 1994), was used to identify potential participants. I talked to friends and acquaintances about the research and they suggested possible participants. I was fortunate that this method quickly enabled me to locate families. I was looking for one extended family that was interested and fluent in English. Family members could reside in one or more households, but for practical reasons I stipulated that they should live in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, Canada. They also had to be comfortable with home video taping and viewing themselves on a screen, so previous experience with home videos was preferred. Once potential families had been identified using these selection criteria, they were examined for other desirable research characteristics. A high level of interest, enthusiasm, and ability by all family members to participate in the research process was considered an asset. Multiple generations of the same family participating in the study was desirable so I could 40 explore possible intergenerational learning processes related to food practices. Practical considerations such as the number of family members and households, the ease of scheduling interviews, travel time, and the ethnic and cultural background of the family also played a role in the selection of the family most likely to provide varied perspectives and rich information. Using these criteria, a suitable extended family was quickly selected. My adult participants were of German and British heritage. Three children were included in the video tapes, but they were not interviewed due to their young ages. In all, four different households, eight adult individuals, and three children, representing four generations of the same extended family, participated. They were Caucasian and resided within the Lower Mainland. Since most of the family members had never met me, there were varying levels of enthusiasm. However, after meeting with me, I was grateful and excited to find everyone interested and on board. First Generation: Alice and Don (ages: mid-eighties) Second Generation: Heather and Harry (ages: mid-fifties) Third Generation: Christine and Greg (ages: late twenties) Fourth Generation: Mitchell (age: 3 14 yr) Kathy and Dan (ages: late twenties) Connor (age: 1 Vi yr Emily (age: newborn) Figure 1. Generations of family members participating in this study. Participants chose to use their first names for the written study documentation. Individuals who married into the family are underlined. Emily was born one month after the study began. 41 Informed Consent From the planning stages of this research project, I realized that "qualitative study is never value-free" (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 292) and that the possibilities for harm were wide ranging and unpredictable. For example, there was a small chance in this study that harm could occur if family members learned about actions or beliefs of other family members that they found to be unacceptable. Alternatively, there was also the possibility that the study would benefit participants, perhaps by exposing previously hidden personal attributes or encouraging them to critically reflect on various aspects of their life. It was important to me that the family members participating in this study were aware of possible consequences resulting from contributing information for this study, and given the option not to participate. Therefore, prior to the first information gathering activity, the family received a written explanation of the study. In this letter I outlined the perceived benefits and risks of participating in the study, identified possible confidentiality issues, and presented the option to withdraw with no explanations required or negative consequences incurred. Contact names and phone numbers for any complaints or questions that arose during the research process were included. Before consent forms were signed the participants had ample time to consider their options, discuss any outstanding questions, and negotiate necessary changes. The consent form was signed by family members and written consent for the children was given by their parents (see Appendix B). Since I was practicing research from the standpoint of relational ethics, I felt that it was also necessary to strive towards creating a respectful, collaborative relationship with study participants that stressed confirmation of the participants' best qualities and the avoidance of imposition (Flinders, 1992). I realized that it would be difficult to truly achieve informed consent when the study design was emergent, but I did my best to create an open, truthful, respectful research relationship with all participants from the outset. To me, another important aspect of conducting ethical research was to protect the participants from harm by minimizing the risks where possible. I felt that sometimes people can be uncomfortable with being video taped (Marland, 1984; Pirie, 1996). In fact, in my research 42 study, I sensed that one household was slightly reluctant to be interviewed using the video camcorder as a recording device. In this instance, I tried to help them feel more comfortable with the whole process by including another family member in their initial interview, conducting the interview as a group, and using only an audio tape recorder. A video taped meal was not part of the data collection process because I felt it would be too intrusive for the couple. After meeting me and experiencing the research process first hand, I found that the members of this household were interested and more than willing to participate in the follow up contacts. Therefore, the follow up contact was recorded using both audio and video recorders, as were all the other interviews. Throughout this study, I attempted to be sensitive to the feelings and wishes of the participants by adjusting the methods to suit the situation. It occurred to me that research participants might be concerned with the final ownership and future use of the research recordings. Therefore, negotiations with the family on these topics were upfront and continuing throughout the project. Participants were also allowed to view and erase sections that made them uncomfortable (Pirie, 1996) and they were given a copy of all the video recordings. No one requested that any video tapes be erased, and I agreed to contact them at the end of the study for permission to use the recordings in future research or presentations. As the study progressed, there were opportunities for follow up discussions of the impact of the emerging results with each participant. I sought to ensure that everyone was comfortable with the research activities and that no harmful repercussions were occurring due the study. Despite these efforts, I realize that informed consent is really an ongoing process where many issues can interfere with the researcher's ability to create a truly "equal" relationship with the person being researched. Nevertheless, I attempted to create a respectful, caring relationship with all my study participants, and to the best of my ability, protect them from harm. Reciprocity Another consideration for planning and conducting ethical research is reciprocity. This concept recognizes that the researcher/participant relationship is one in which "agreements are negotiated, competing interests recognized, and trading partnerships worked out in a social 4 3 arena" (Flinders, 1992, p. 105). I attempted to openly discuss issues of importance to participants, such as the extent to which the research would be collaborative. Because I also approached this study from the standpoint of relational ethics, the establishment of respectful research relationships included an ethic of caring, the avoidance of imposition, and the practice of confirmation (Flinders, 1992). The participants' perspectives and opinions were considered throughout the study and reasonable steps taken to ensure that any impositions or negative occurances were minimized. Reciprocity included the idea of giving something back to the people who participated in my research study. It was a way to acknowledge the unavoidable impositions that we, as researchers, place upon our participants. I believe that it is important to be sensitive to the participants' own needs, interests and responsibilities outside of the research project. Some participants may benefit from the study simply by having someone listen to their perceptions or by having increased insight or support for improved knowledge, skills or actions (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Most participants also appreciate interviews conducted at a convenient time in their daily schedule. Throughout the study, I was aware of these conditions. As it turned out, the participants in my study were very limited in the amount of time that they could contribute to the study. As soon as I became aware of this, I made every effort not to impose upon their time. Researchers need to also thank participants for their contributions of time, effort, and assistance. While reciprocity might be realized using monetary contributions in some studies, this was impossible in my small, un-funded study. Instead, a small thank you gift was given to each household after their interviews were completed. At the end of the research study, a copy of the final thesis was also given to the family as they had expressed interest in reading it. I believe that encouraging an open, honest relationship with research participants is the most ethical way to operate and in this study, I attempted to ensure that the research experience was mutually beneficial to both the participants and myself. 44 Site Selection This study focused on how identity, knowing, and action shaped food practices during family meals in a home setting. All the research activities took place in the participants' homes. Since the extended family selected included multiple generations, four different households were included in this study. The households were all located within fifteen minutes of each other in the Greater Vancouver region of BC, Canada. Although there was a possibility that other potential settings could emerge as the participants were interviewed, none did, and due to issues of practicality and potential contributions to the quality of the study, the sites were limited to the homes of the four households. As with participant selection, considerations such as the ease of access, the likelihood of obtaining rich information from several different sources, the ability to build trusting relationships with participants, and the quality and credibility of the information gathered were also important in site selection (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Considerations of this study's time and resource limitations also played a part in determining the site selections. Information Collection Strategies Consistent with qualitative case study strategy, multiple methods of investigation, also known as triangulation, were used throughout the study. Multiple methods are often used to "express the commitment to thoroughness...to be open-ended, and to take risks...to link past and present, 'data gathering' and action, and individual behavior with social frameworks...to be responsive to the people studied, to illuminate previously unexamined or misunderstood experiences...[and to] increase the likelihood of obtaining scientific credibility and research utility" (Reinharz, 1992, p. 197). Methods used in qualitative case study research often include interviews, observations and/or document analysis (Merriam, 1988). I found that the methods proposed during the beginning stages of the research plan were tentative because as situations presented themselves, other additional methods were pursued in my efforts to gather in-depth information. Thus, the initial research design included my research journal, a pilot study, individual interviews, family (group) stimulated recall interviews, and video taped observations of household meals. After the 45 initial individual interviews, a video taped meal of one extended family meal was added to the data collection process. The timeline for data collection was as follows: Table 1 Time line for data collection DATE DATA COLLECTION METHOD PARTICIPANT(S) Jan 4,5 1999 Pilot meals and interview Pat & Family Jan 21, 1999 Individual interviews, then meal taping Christine & Greg Jan 27, 1999 Individual follow up interviews, then stimulated recall Christine & Greg Feb 6, 1999 Individual interviews, then meal taping Kathy & Dan Feb 18, 1999 Individual follow up interviews, then stimulated recall Kathy & Dan Mr 4, 1999 Individual interviews Heather & Harry Mr 5, 1999 Meal taping Heather & Harry Mr 7, 1999 Meal taping Extended Family Mr 23, 1999 Individual follow up interviews, then stimulated recall Heather & Harry Mr 12, 1999 Group interview Alice, Don, & Heather Al9,1999 Group follow up interview Alice & Don Oct/Nov 2000 Review of thesis draft and video tapes Extended Family Research Journal In qualitative research, it is important to make the research process as transparent as possible so that readers will be provided with sufficient evidence to come to their own conclusions and/or verify the researcher's conclusions. Alternative choices arid decisions as well as my emotional impressions of field experiences were recorded in my journal as they occurred. Careful documentation of encounters with issues such as ethical dilemmas, design considerations, and alternative interpretations of results, enabled me to accurately remember past ideas and occurrences in detail. Thus, my journal enabled me to accurately re-present the research path in the final report. Since a common criticism of case studies often centers on the overall 46 rigor of this type of research (Yin, 1984), I kept a detailed research journal throughout the research process to ensure that all considerations and decisions are accurately recorded for future reference. Pilot Study Interviews The first preliminary step of this research study was to conduct an audio and video taped, semi-structured, ethnographic interview and to video tape a family meal. A pilot individual interview was conducted with another experienced educational researcher asking the tentative interview questions and myself acting as the interviewee. I also video taped two family meals-one with myself preparing the meal and another with one of my family members preparing the meal. These experiences enabled me to experience first hand what it might feel like to be one of the family members being interviewed and video taped in the primary research study, and to adjust the interview questions as necessary. I was also able to test the technical equipment procedures, and discuss alternative lines of questioning with the other researcher and my own family. Although, specific information obtained from the pilot study was not utilized in the final written report, the understandings and skills gained from this activitiy were invaluable. Individual Interviews The semi-structured interview, a conversation with a purpose, is used for this study because of its ability to "offer researchers access to people's ideas, thoughts, and memories in their own words rather than in the words of the researcher" (Reinharz, 1992, p. 19). Interviewing can provide information about unobservable behavior, feelings or interpretations (Merriam, 1988) related to food and eating that are essential to this study. Semi-structured interviews also have the potential to discover and describe phenomena, thus providing an opportunity for theory generation by researchers (Reinharz, 1992). Once the family was selected for this study, one ethnographic, semi-structured individual interview of approximately 1.5 hours or less, was conducted with each consenting adult. These individual interviews for the different family members were held separately to allow each participant to freely discuss their ideas and understandings without interference or pressure from other family members (Rubin, 1976 as cited in Reinharz, 1992). A modification was made with 47 one household, because I felt the participants would be more comfortable being interviewed together and with another family member present. This interview was recorded using only an audio recorder for the same reason. The follow up interview was also conducted as a group with the couple and myself, but it was audio and video taped (with the participant's permission). With this one exception, all of the other interviews were video taped and audio taped for backup sound (Pirie, 1996). In addition to providing data that showed actions and embodied knowledge, video and audio taping interviews provided each participant with an opportunity to become familiar with the recording procedures to be used for the family meal taping. Video taping all research activities, with the exception of one interview, also provided raw data obtained in a consistent manner from which I could confidently draw interpretations. Since videotaping can be invasive, the interviews were conducted with sensitivity to the participants' feelings. Participants were chosen partly for their familiarity and comfort level with respect to video taping. I attempted to establish trust and rapport with each participant by listening respectfully, empathetically, carefully and cautiously for ideas, meanings, attitudes and feelings (Reinharz, 1992). Efforts were made to help the participant feel relaxed and I made it clear to each participant that I was not judging their actions. I was trying to work together with them to understand their food practices. Although, some researchers have found that video taped interviews require the interviewer to "wait longer for responses (several seconds at least), make fewer suggestions, and guide the discussion less than...when...[using] an audio tape recorder or pen and paper" (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 111), I did not find this to be the case with my research. Even so, I tried not to guide or rush the participants' responses to my questions. The individual interviews explored each participant's perceptions of how their personal knowing and being interacted with their familial characteristics and concerns to influence food practices that occurred during family meals in their home. The semi-structured format and questions were selected to uncover information from these areas of interest (see Appendix A). At the end of the individual interviews the participants took me on a tour of their food storage areas (kitchen cupboards, fridges, freezers, dry storage areas). This tour was video taped by myself for all households except Alice and Don's. A verbal summary of the individual interview was 48 presented to participants in a follow up contact so they could comment, clarify and/or expand on the information given during their interview. A draft of the results and analysis were also presented to the whole family for comment. I considered this feedback to be invaluable in promoting accuracy of the information gathered in this study. Video Taped Meals The specific recording procedures for this study were negotiated with the particular family members involved (with one household declining participation), but the preferred method for observing and recording family meals was to use videotape as it captured the continuous action of the context. Videotaping also allowed me to review the event repeatedly at a later date, thus buying time and enabling considered judgments during analysis (Pirie, 1996). In this particular study, food practices have the potential to become unnaturalistic if participant observation is utilized because irregardless of the familiarity level between the participants and the researcher, the researcher would be forced into a role, such as that of a visiting (eating) guest, thus changing the everyday familial roles and behaviors in the process. Video recording of meals by the family members, without myself (the researcher) present, was used instead. An advantage of using videotape to record talk and actions, is that since it does not interrupt the flow of behaviors it can be less intrusive than other methods of observation (Pirie, 1996). "[PJeople do not perform for the camera as much as one might expect. The more they are exposed to being in the view of the camera, the less they are conscious of it" (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 109). Marland (1984) also writes that his participants reported feeling anxiety and discomfort during initial videotaping, but that these feelings soon disappeared, resulting in little differences in their thinking. Additionally, few references were made to this issue in his self-report data. This effect exists because today everyone is much more comfortable with regularly seeing our videotaped images on department store monitors, home videos, and computers. It should be noted, that the presence of the video camcorder does change the context and it has the potential to inhibit or elicit participant performance. What we must recognize is that we all perform daily in response to various social expectations and environments dictate. The key is to 49 include our participants in the research process, thus increasing the likelihood of understanding their meanings and actions (Goldman-Segall, 1998). To ease possible participant apprehension and promote naturalistic behavior during the videotaping of this study, two steps were followed. First, the individual interviews were conducted before the meal taping and stimulated recall interviews. This was done to increase familiarity with the recording procedures, and help to establish rapport between the myself and each family member. The participants were reminded of the study purposes and given several opportunities for input (Marland, 1984). Pirie (1996) notes that allowing participants to view videos of themselves prior to viewing the episodes selected for the stimulated recall improved their willingness to remember their thinking. Therefore, the second step was to provide the family members with the option to participate in a trial run of the recording procedures. Although the pilot meal video was to be used for the family members to practice the technique of videotaping and to increase their familiarity and comfort with seeing themselves on screen, none of the households chose to do this. The meal video recording for this study was analyzed by the researcher and used for a stimulated recall family (group) interview. There were two options for the actual videotaping procedure. The specific recording procedures for this study were negotiated with the particular family members involved. One option for videotaping was to put the video recorder in a stationary position with a wide angle lens to capture as much action surrounding the family meal as possible. This procedure allowed the videotaping to occur unobtrusively, encouraging normal routines and naturalistic behaviors (Marland, 1984). Taping from a stationary position should not be considered "objective" because it still represented someone's point of view. Decisions such as camera position, lens and angle were made and these decisions determined what was captured on tape (Goldman-Segall, 1998). A second option for video taping the meal was for individual family members to take turns video and audio taping meals themselves. This would provide multiple perspectives of mealtime, but it would also require more effort and participation by the family. 50 In this study, participants were considered co-constructors to the extent that they felt comfortable, so all videotaping decisions were made jointly. All households chose to set up the video equipment and tape the meals themselves. They put the camcorder on a stationary tripod for the meal preparation, eating, and clean up sections of their dinner meal. The one exception was that Harry used his own camcorder and tripod. He also did some free hand video taping during the extended family meal preparation and clean up, but the camcorder was placed on a stationary tripod while they ate the meal. I collected the meal tapes within two days after they were recorded. It has been suggested in the literature that an audio recorder should be used as a backup to record the conversations since this feature is often not effective on video recording units (Pirie, 1996). While I did this for the individual interviews, I chose not to include this step for the meal taping. Personally, I found it difficult to keep track of the audio tape recorder, watch the video tape recorder, conduct the interview, and take notes, all at the same time. I felt that it would complicate the recording procedures for the participants unnecessarily. The video tape recorder used in this study was of fairly high quality, so there were no problems with capturing sound. Stimulated Recall Family (Group) Interview The stimulated recall method uses visual and audio cues from previously videotaped situations in an individual's life to help the individual accurately remember and verbalize the thoughts and decision-making processes they experienced during the taped episodes (Bryan, Bay, Shelden, & Simon, 1990; Calderhead, 1981; McConnell, 1985). It is a "retrospective self-reporting technique" (Marland, 1984, p. 157) that provides access to the participants' thinking, revealing "the influences (aims, intentions, plans, perceptions, interpretations, expectations, theories, etc) that direct their behaviour" (Marland, 1984, p. 157). Stimulated recall has been used previously to gather data about students' thought processes in the classroom (Bloom, 1953 as cited in McConnell, 1985; Bryan et al, 1990), in audiovisual learning material evaluations (McConnell, 1985), and in the field of counseling and counselor education where it is called interpersonal process recall or IPR (Kagan, 1984). 51 Advantages of this method are that participants are encouraged to talk about their experiences spontaneously using their own language, the context of the taped situation is accounted for, and participants play an active, reflective role in the research process which may be rewarding for them, in addition to enriching the data (McConnell, 1985). The video also allows the researcher to observe interactions between people (Bryan et al, 1990; Rubin, 1976 & Wajcman, 1983 as cited in Reinharz, 1992), and when combined with the group interview process another level of information gathering missing from the individual interviews alone was obtained. I found that the participants appeared to enjoy this process, readily making comments about what they were doing and thinking at the time of the taping. Limitations of stimulated recall are similar to those of interviewing, namely that participants may not be truthful, their recall may be inaccurate, and the researcher's ideologies and hypotheses may influence their responses (McConnell, 1985). The interviewer's skills are also critical to the group interviewing process. The interviewer must possess the ability to ask questions that facilitate full disclosure, and to be a flexible, objective, empathetic, persuasive listener. He or she must also create a respectful, supportive atmosphere (Marland, 1984), and be an effective moderator and manager of group dynamics in order to ensure that everyone participates and no one dominates in the discussion (Fontana & Frey, 1994). Although I consider the interviews to be successful, I am only a beginning researcher, and even I noticed that the later interviews seemed to run smoother than the first few interview attempts. Another limitation of the stimulated recall method is that although it provides access to participants' thinking, it may not provide a complete account of their thoughts since some areas of knowledge may be verbally uncommunicable due to the participants' lack of awareness (Calderhead, 1981). The study attempted to minimize this limitation by using multiple methods of data gathering, including observation via video, and by explicitly discussing the research purposes with all family members (Marland, 1984). The meal video itself was analyzed with the participants' unconscious understandings in mind. The video quality itself (clarity, resolution, depth, image size, detail) has the potential to affect recall although the existence and characteristics of this effect is not known definitively 52 (Marland, 1984). Videotaping does not ensure that all visual cues will be captured on tape (Calderhead, 1981). What is recorded depends on the videotaper, the participants, the camera location, and even the quality of microphone used (Pirie, 1996). Efforts were made to use equipment that produced high quality tapes, and to ensure videotapers were given the training and practice required to produce good tapes. The tapes produced during this study were all of high quality and no sound or video problems occurred. In this study, the stimulated recall family (group) interview was also video and audio taped. This interview included all those who were individually interviewed. Literature on this method is somewhat inconsistent in that various authors recommend that the stimulated recall interview take place one, two or up to seven days after the event (Bloom, 1954 as cited in Marland, 1984; Marland, 1984; Pirie, 1996). Here, the stimulated recall interview occurred as soon as practically possible after the meal so that the experience was still relatively fresh in the participants' memory. As recommended in the literature, not more than thirty minutes of videotape was used in order to minimize fatigue. The interview was planned to take less than one hour to complete (Marland, 1984). Action sequences from the videotaped meal were selected to represent themes or questions identified by the researcher based on analysis of the meal video and individual interview data. Each household viewed each sequence as a group and then was asked to relive actions and recall the thoughts they had during the original episode. Interviewer prompts were general and open ended to minimize distortions in recall (Marland, 1984). Accuracy and completeness of recall were stressed. Participants were asked to tell the researcher what their thoughts were during the actual event, and if they had other ideas that occurred to them after the event. In some instances, the video sequences were used to clarify questions that I had related to the entire meal tape. The participants were allowed to stop the video whenever they wished in order to promote complete verbalization (Marland, 1984). For example in one video taped household meal, the husband asked his wife if she wanted help preparing dinner, but she laughed at him and told him to go look after the children. When I viewed this sequence of events, I 53 wondered if the husband was uncomfortable being video taped, whether he believed he should really be doing more meal preparation, and whether the video taped meal was representative of the household's every day meals. Therefore, this section of the video taped meal was viewed during the stimulated recall group interview, and the family members were given a chance to respond to my questions and explain their understandings. Thus, stimulated recall interviews were useful for clarifying uncertainties regarding the behaviors observed on the video taped household meals. Follow Up Contacts Participants were given a verbal summary of their initial individual interviews (initial group interview for Alice and Don) and asked to respond to the accuracy of the content. No one indicated that any information was incorrect. Then the household family members (except Alice and Don and the children) participated in the stimulated recall group interview during which they reviewed portions of their video taped household meal. The extended family meal (which was not in the original research design) was conducted part way through the data collection process. Therefore, it was reviewed as a stimulated recall only by Heather and Harry, and verbally reviewed during the follow up interview with Alice and Don. All households were given copies of the video tapes in which they participated (including the extended family meal), a draft of the meal descriptions, and a summary of the study results to comment on. No requests to change the documentation were received. I believe that these opportunities for follow up contact with participants improved the accuracy of the collection of information for this study. I encouraged family members to participate fully in the research process to the extent that they felt comfortable and I made every effort to be available whenever they wished to get together. Information Management Strategies Raw information, such as audio and video tapes, were stored in a safe, locked location away from the general public. Other written information created in the course of this study, including interview transcripts, fieldnotes, memos, journal entries, and thesis drafts, were stored 54 in password protected computer files. First names (participant's choice) were used for all documents and taped interviews to promote participant anonymity as desired by the participants. Related to the management of data in all of its various forms, is the consideration of the extent to which computer software will be used to store, code, search and retrieve information, make displays, and create concepts. Miles & Huberman (1994) suggest that researchers be specific about the kind of database and analysis to be done, work at a technical level that is comfortable, get help and support from friends, slot time in the study design to learn the software program, not expect one program to do everything, and think critically about specific needs. In this study, the video data was not analyzed using computer software. Instead, data was manually analyzed using a T V screen and VCR. MS Word computer software was used to store the research journal entries, transcripts and analyses of raw data, and all other written documents, including the written thesis. I found, however, that it was difficult to retrieve information from my journal entries and would recommend using software that allows coding and retrieval. At the end of this study, the tapes and a copy of the thesis were given to the family according to their expressed wishes. With the participants' consent given after they have reviewed the tapes themselves, the original versions of these recordings were stored in a locked, secure location for possible future use such as for my thesis defense or at academic conferences to provide examples of the research findings. Transforming The Information The information gathered from the field was transformed into this written thesis, which represents one attempt to help us begin to understand how identity, knowing, and action shape food practices during family meals in a home setting. To achieve the transformation from raw information to a written account, Wolcott's (1994) rationale and definitions for description, analysis and interpretation were adopted. He proposed that description uses observations, obtained by the researcher and/or reported by others to the researcher, to show what is happening in the field. Analysis uses essential features of the field and their interrelationships to determine how things work, why they don't work, or how they could be made better. Interpretation looks at 55 the "processual questions of meanings and contexts 'How does it all mean' 'What is to be made of it all?'" (Wolcott, 1994, p. 12). In Wolcott's view, these three elements (description, analysis and interpretation) are not mutually exclusive. Instead, he compares them to the nitrogen—phosphorus—potassium formula used for plant food, where ingredients are present but the relative weightings of each ingredient is determined by the specific purpose of that particular plant food (for example, green growth, blossoming, tomato production...). Likewise, a written thesis has differing amounts of description, analysis and interpretation depending on the purpose of the research. The actual procedures followed for any study are also dependent on the researcher's own goals, talents, and analytical preferences, the type of data collected, and the context (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). In this study, description, analysis, and interpretation were adopted to the extent that they would enable the reader to better understand how identity, knowing and action shaped food practices during family meals. Data transformation "is not about adhering to any one correct approach or set of right techniques; it is imaginative, artful, flexible, and reflexive. It should also be methodical, scholarly, and intellectually rigorous" (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996, p. 10). As the literature predicts, I found it to be a reflexive, "pervasive activity throughout the life of a research project" (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996, p. 11) that started during the planning stages of the study, proceeded throughout the information gathering stages, and continued right through to the final written report (Goldman-Segall, 1998). To choose an appropriate strategy for transforming raw information from the field, well informed, documented choices, and systematic, reflexive, and critical reflection were required throughout the research process. The information collected was creatively explored using new theoretical ideas (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). Intuition and creativity were also essential because they forced me to see beyond my initial assumptions and explore new possibilities (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The first information gathered for this research project actually came from the pilot study which gave me the opportunity to practice information gathering and transformation techniques that were used later in the primary study. The pilot study was an important research activity 56 because "the strengths of qualitative data rest very centrally on the competence with which their analysis is carried out" (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 10). Specific answers to interview questions were not included in the final written thesis, but findings were used to streamline the information collection and transformation strategies. For example, I learned through experience that the particular video recorder to be used for taping did not have a wide angle lens, so it was tricky to set up in small rooms. It did, however, produce tapes with excellent sound quality, so it was not imperative that a second backup tape recorder be used. The information gathered from the field for the primary study was a combination of audio and video taped individual interviews, stimulated recall family (group) interviews, and family meals (see Figure 2). Once data collection and analysis had begun, theoretical sampling (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) was attempted to the extent that was practical given the limitations of the study. This type of sampling aimed to gather as much information as possible about the theoretical concepts and relationships that were emerging from the data. As more information was gathered and analyzed, the concepts and categories were constantly compared to each other and the evolving theoretical framework so that any anomalies could be investigated further and/or adjustments made to the theory. Irrelevant segments of video were identified. As the study proceeded themes became more stable and less tentative. However, all of the video tape was analyzed in detail, and constantly compared to other data, the researcher's experiences, and the literature. An ecological perspective of enactivism was practiced during data transformation. Video data can be deceiving, however, giving a false impression of understanding. For this reason, the inclusion of participants throughout the entire transformation process was critical. One cannot assume common understandings associated with nonverbal actions so I specifically included follow up contacts with all of the participants. I also recognized that the video taping procedure itself might have affected the performance of the participants. While the actions I expected may not have occured, I know that we all perform to some extent in our daily interactions (Goldman-Segall, 1998). Careful consideration was given to each research participant's personality and their relationship with myself and other family members. 57 Video taping was used as a tool for gathering information because the enactivist and exploratory nature of this project necessitated attention to the conscious and unconscious understandings of the research participants. This presented some problems because, despite the fact that there is a solid base of literature dealing with the analysis of text-based data, the qualitative research community has not endorsed any specific method for transforming video data. For this reason, I have explicitly detailed the methods of analysis that were used (Pirie, 1996). The first task was to copy each original 8mm camcorder tape onto V C R tape and review each interview or meal tape on a T V screen from start to finish immediately after each interview was done and before the next interview was scheduled. Relevant segments of videotape were also re-viewed with the sound off. This allowed me to slow down or speed up the images in order to concentrate on the participants' gestures since "turning the focus to gestures links what one says with what one means" (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 126). Visual and auditory segments were repeatedly compared to other taped information and examined for tentative concepts and categories that seemed to emerge from the footage. Alternate perspectives to my own were sought from other people such as my research advisors and the participants (Yin, 1984). In this way, a preliminary analysis consisting of notes indicating actions, conversations, times, and codes was created and used to identify questions, topics, or patterns to be fleshed out in follow up individual contacts. I also used the preliminary analysis of the video data to select segments based on questions or emerging concepts from the family meal video tapes for the stimulated recall family (group) interviews. The analytic strategy for this research project utilized the concepts of theoretical sensitivity and hypothetical reasoning to make sense of the data. Theoretical sensitivity refers to the researcher's creative ability to use their personal and professional experience as well as the literature to identify and give meaning to important parts of the research data (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Hypothetical reasoning is the process of finding or building hypotheses to explain empirical phenomena (Pierce, 1974, 1979 as cited in Kelle, 1995). While being neither inductive nor deductive, this process is based on qualitative induction (the researcher's previous knowledge 58 and/or the actors' interpretations are used to explain an empirical phenomena with an existing concept or scientific law), and abductive inference (newly discovered phenomena are explained using original, innovative ideas creatively derived from the observed facts, as well as the researcher's insight and related, previous knowledge). "Abductive inferences require the revision of pre-conceptions and theoretical prejudices... [and]... previous knowledge that provides him [the researcher] with the necessary categorical framework for the interpretation, description and explanation of the empirical world under study" (Kelle, 1995, p. 41). As an exploratory enactivist study in the field of nutrition education, theoretical sensitivity and hypothetical reasoning were appropriate concepts to use for generating new or different ideas about the topic. Therefore, after all the information was collected for the whole extended family, each video tape was re-viewed several more times from start to finish. To increase my theoretical sensitivity, I re-viewed the tapes in different orders. The first viewing had been done in the order that the interviews were completed, so the second viewing was arranged by households, from the oldest to youngest generations. Additional viewings grouped the tapes by gender, meals, and group interviews. Tapes were also re-viewed randomly. Each tape was re-viewed using my observations of what family members were doing or saying. I looked specifically for previous experiences, inter-relationships, and understandings on individual and collective levels. Some of the questions that I asked myself were: What is going on here? Are there examples of structural coupling leading to new understandings and behavior? How do examples of knowing, identity, and action emerge and re-emerge over time? Do certain enacted categories give rise to other context specific understandings? How does what they are doing relate to what they know and who they are as individuals, members of their household, and members of an extended family? What does it all mean? I searched for the answers to these questions by repeatedly re-viewing the video tapes. Written transcripts of conversations between family members during meals and research interviews were created (approximately three quarters of the video taped data) for the purposes of selecting examples of structural coupling and coemergence to include in the written thesis. Video 59 tapes, not transcripts, were used during data analysis to maintain a holistic perspective consistent with an enactivist understanding of context. I found during this analysis procedure that I was continually going back and forth between my findings and the literature. It was extremely useful to have video taped data because it allowed me to repeatedly re-visit the taped scene and re-view it from different angles, such as with a new purpose, emphasis, or focus (Pirie, 1996). The visual component of the video data presented a greater context for verbal responses and nonverbal actions, such as gestures, signals and intonations. Consistent with enactivism, embodied knowing and actions became apparent. These characteristics of video data gave me more confidence in writing the description, analysis, and interpretation. What To Write - How To Write Analysis is a process that begins in the planning stages of the project, proceeds throughout data collection, and continues into the writing process. "[WJriting is also a way of 'knowing'-a method of discovery and analysis. By writing in different ways, we discover new aspects of our topic and our relationship to it. Form and content are inseparable" (Richardson, 1994, p. 516). Writing is therefore an important analytic research process that helps us to generate and develop new meanings and understandings about our data. The written piece should both inform and resonate with readers. Thus, the quality of our writing is dependent not only on the content, but its representation (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). Throughout the research process, I realized that the writing process was essential and had to start early, even before the fieldwork began (Wolcott, 1990). To this end, I wrote regularly in my research journal, and saved all my written memos, fieldnotes, and preliminary diagrams. These in-process pieces of writing were useful references for composing the final written thesis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990), providing specific real examples of the topic (Wolcott, 1990). As the research proceeded, I also became aware of the limitations of using video taping as a method of observation. As noted above, sometimes video taping can have the effect of inhibiting or eliciting the performance of participants. This effect should be accounted for during 60 analysis and writing (Goldman-Segall, 1998), so I was always aware of this potential effect. During the data collection phase it was readily apparent that some family members were more conscious of the video taping process than others. The topic arose during one of the follow up contacts and I had the opportunity to query the participant in a light hearted manner. From the family's responses, I am confident that the impact of the video camera was minimal. My thoughts at the time on this topic and evidence of such incidents were recorded as they occured so they could be considered for the written thesis. Another video related consideration for the writing process was the fact that what was recorded was not the "truth", but the video tapers' story or perspective. Choosing to examine one thing over another was itself a process of interpretation. While I attempted to write accurately about the experiences and observations recorded during this study, it was still my perceptions in this thesis (Davis, 1996). Realizing this, I have searched to find ways to make the research process transparent, such as providing descriptive details and including my voice and identity within the written text. The meal descriptions combined information from the video taped meals, the stimulated recall interviews, and the follow up contacts. Even so, there is always a gap between the observer and the observed, similar to the gap between an experience and that experience as text (Van Maanen, 1988). Good writing required not only that I understand the meanings and perspectives of the research participants (what to write), I also had to be able to display the topic under discussion in a meaningful way to the readers (how to write). To accomplish this task, I had to make some decisions as to who the audience was likely to be since meanings and understandings are "woven from the symbolic capacity of a piece of writing and the social context of its reception. Most crucial, different categories of readers will display systematic differences in their perceptions and interpretations of the same writing" (Van Maanen, 1988, p. 25). In this case study, the written thesis will be aimed at the research committee and other academic readers in the field of education. Consideration during writing was also given to the possible contributions of both traditional literary conventions as well as various alternative forms such as the ethnographic 61 genres suggested by Van Maanen (1988), different examples of textual variety (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996), and various types of visual representations (Coffey & Atkinson, 1998; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Consistent with enactivist theory, the written analysis included multiple levels of generality (Spradley, 1970 as cited in Coffey & Atkinson, 1996) that corresponded to various social system levels. Finally, the transformation of information adopted an interpretivist perspective that acknowledged that '"interpretations' of meanings [are] made both by the social actors and by the researcher" (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 8). In this study, I made repeated and systematic efforts to evaluate my own role and cultural filters that influenced the description, analysis, and interpretation. I included a presentation of these personal influences in the first chapter. Moreover, information collection and transformation were considered collaborative efforts with the participants to ensure that understandings situated in differing contexts were included. Towards this end, written meal descriptions were distributed and verbal summaries of the analysis/interpretation were provided as points for family input. "When writing about events most writers and readers have given up the notion that one true or even one best interpretation exists. They accept that the most they can do is try to be as fair and as forthright as possible" (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 261). Here, I did not search for the best description, analysis, and interpretation. Instead I regard this written thesis as an enactivist account of how knowing and being influence the food practices of a family. Various ways to convey these ideas in the written thesis were considered while writing in my research journal: July 5, 1999 -1 think that by looking through the lens of enactivism, the research themes of time and place are inseparable. This idea could be woven throughout the thesis using the chapter titles. Similar to Abram's book, the titles could correspond to natural physical locations and places in time ie the past related to the ground (introduction, literature review, and methodology occurring before the data was gathered), the present related to the ubiquitous air around us (results, analysis, and interpretations occurring as the data is gathered), and the future related to the horizon (implications for future educational research and practice). This would reinforce the deep ecological perspective of the thesis 62 as well as reflect the themes arising from the data. I have also attempted to represent the cyclical nature of living by creating a continuing, circular structure to the thesis: July 6, 1999 -1 think it is important to emphasize the circularity of life (as opposed to a linear viewpoint) by imitating this circularity in the writing of this thesis. Therefore, I will eliminate the stand alone introduction and conclusion, and incorporate them into the grounding and horizon sections. This sets up a circular format. Additionally, rather than an introduction and conclusion (a beginning and an end), a prologue and epilogue are utilized to emphasize the circular nature of living. Another example, of reflexive writing and thinking is that I have tried to approach the writing process from an enactivist perspective that calls for multi-verse, the allowance for multiple interpretations and courses of action. Towards this end, I have written not about "the" enactivist perspective, but "an" enactivist perspective. Thus, the links among the research themes of time, places, and food practices are reflected in the organization, text, and titles of this document. I have attempted to use principled decision-making throughout to decide on the final written form of my thesis and sought to ensure that it was accessible and meaningful to my audience, while at the same time presenting my interpretation of the phenomena, being true to the philosophy, and acting ethically towards the participants. An important point to note here is that the act of writing and reflecting on this thesis greatly affected my own embodied knowings regarding enactivism and its place in my own life. The thesis therefore represents the results of changes in my own personal understandings as I interacted (structurally coupled) with the literature, the participants, and others throughout the research process. Since the research process requires the literature review, research strategy, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and implications to basically follow this order, the main chapters of this thesis reveal my own personal understandings of enactivism and qualitative research as they developed in conjunction with the various research activities. The only 63 exceptions are the obvious statements (such as this paragraph) in the methods sections that provide insight on actual study occurrences. Trustworthiness And Limitations Of The Research Design I have attempted to use the research design as the "link" between the research question, the empirically gathered evidence, and the interpretations that were reached. While the design does have an emergent character, I have addressed issues related to the trustworthiness of this study such as credibility, transferability, dependability, ethics, and confirmability throughout the research process. Theoretical candor (Sanjek, 1990) was addressed throughout the thesis, but particularly in the first two chapters where the theoretical reasons for decision making were outlined. Past and present philosophical perspectives of the field of nutrition education for adults were described, an enactivist philosophy and related educational theories for the field were discussed, and the reasons for choosing this research strategy were detailed. Fieldnote evidence (Sanjek, 1990), specifically through the use of multiple sources of evidence such as the research journal, field notes, memos, video and audio recordings hopefully allowed the final thesis to explicitly present the researcher's path (Sanjek, 1990), a systematic account of assumptions and explanations inherent in the decision-making process. Substantial evidence for the final interpretations was included. Follow up contacts with the participants were conducted to increase credibility. Together, these steps promote assurances of dependability, confirmability, and ethical conduct. Triangulation and replication logic provide a gage of transferability. My goal in ensuring the trustworthiness of this study was to provide enough evidence to allow readers to assess the ethnographic validity of the study. I want to assure readers of the rigor that was exercised throughout, and to make explicit the trail of evidence that points towards the interpretations presented to the reader or at the very least allows them to make their own interpretations. Despite my endeavors to increase the trustworthiness, one study can never address every aspect of a research problem. Attention to criticisms of qualitative case study research such as the lack of rigor, un-generalizability, massive documentation, and demands on the researcher's 64 knowledge and skills were attended to continuously (Yin, 1984). Every attempt was made to address these and other limitations as discussed in previous sections. For example, observation using video data was combined with information from individual and group stimulated recall interviews to offset the ambiguity and messiness associated with observation using only video data (Goldman-Segall, 1998). The final write up hopefully contained enough relevant evidence for readers to either agree with the researcher's interpretations or to form their own opinions. There are however, some limitations inherent to the overall design of this study which will be discussed. First, there are trade offs involved in choosing research participants. Previous nutrition education research has been criticized for assuming that the term "parent" was synonymous with "mother", neglecting the fact that often fathers also impact the food practices and intakes of their children (Gemlo, Keenan, Ruffing, & Sweet, 1998). Recent trends have indicated that the 1950's image of the two parent, heterosexual family has been radically altered. New research is needed to determine how food and eating practices are affected by differing familial characteristics. However, as an introductory study into familial food practices from an enactivist perspective, the primary concern here was to select one interested extended family with good potential for providing rich information, and not to restrict participants based on who actually made up the family unit. This study examined one type of family, which happened to be a two parent, heterosexual family, and explored the perspectives of as many family members as possible. The results of this study were not intended to be representative or generalizable to other similarly or dissimilarly composed families. Instead, the study uses replication logic (Yin, 1984) and seeks to relate the findings to a theoretical enactivist framework of nutrition education which presents the possibility for transferability to similar settings. Future studies would be wise to explore a variety of contexts including differing family compositions, ethnic backgrounds, and class situations to expand the theory further. It is also important to remember that in this study it was unrealistic to collect information to the point of theoretical saturation due to limited time and resources. I also believe that it would be unethical and unrealistic to assume that all the participants will be willing or able to continue 65 with information gathering activities until saturation was reached. I did not want to impose on them. Another consideration is that participants' perspectives of the processes shaping familial food practices at mealtime are very complex and all attempts to understand their thinking will undoubtedly be incomplete. Weaknesses in such areas as the ease of manipulation and categorization of information for analysis, the relatively few participants that can be realistically interviewed in one small study, the likelihood of collecting information on unconscious thoughts and behavior, and the enormous amounts of information that were collected (Marshall & Rossman, 1995) should be considered when drawing conclusions from this study. I have tried to bound the case so as to limit the focus and quantity of information, and the participating family was chosen, in part, based on their enthusiasm and interest in the study. Opportunities for follow up contact were offered to all participants. A final limitation of this study is the fact that enactivism, like nutrition education, is still in its infancy. Literature is scarce and dispersed over many disciplines, making it difficult for researchers to locate all possible references. As I progressed through the research study, I felt very constrained by time and in the latter stages it was difficult to read as widely as I would have preferred. Many facets of enactivist theory still need to be forged from experiential and hermeneutical observations. The challenge presented to researchers is to explore, document and discuss their findings with others. Only through continued multidisciplinary investigation and conversation will the implications for enactivist nutrition education theory, research, and practice be revealed. An Enactivist Qualitative Methodology This chapter has provided detailed information regarding the qualitative research methodology and methods (grounded, of course, by an enactivist perspective) that were used to address the question—How do relationships among identity, knowing and action shape the food practices of one family's meals at home? A case study strategy was selected for its flexibility, its suitability to naturalistic contexts, and its focus on gathering holistic information from a single 66 unit. Being the primary researcher, I found that my role as the bricoleur of this constantly changing research process has been a challenge. Snowball sampling selected a four generation, four household extended Caucasian family of British-German decent, composed of 8 adults and three children, all located within the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. Informed consent and reciprocity with the participants were key considerations to ensuring ethical conduct throughout the research process. Multiple methods of data collection gathered from the households included a research journal, individual interviews, video taped household meals, a video taped extended family meal, stimulated recall (household) interviews, and follow up contacts. The data gathered was stored in secure locations and transformed over several months into this written thesis using systematic, reflexive, well documented analytic techniques. I strove to ensure the trustworthiness of the research by detailing ethical conduct and concerns, proceeding in a systematic, considered manner (dependability), seeking participant feedback and data that provided accurate information (credibility), and providing adequate evidence for the basis of interpretations in the written thesis (confirmability). Despite my efforts towards theoretical candor and trustworthiness, certain limitations of this research were unavoidable such as not achieving maximum theoretical saturation, time restrictions, and the difficulties incurred in gathering such complex data. Readers should keep this in mind when the read the next chapter which portrays the family meals. 67 Present(ing) Family Meals fTJhe sensuous world—the world of our direct, unmediated interactions—is always local. The sensuous world is the particular ground on which we walk, the air we breathe. David Abram, 1996, p. 266 How do relationships among identity, knowing, and action shape the food practices of one family's meals at home? At first glance, this simply worded research question fails to hint at the complex, shifting grounds upon which it is based. The path of past personal experiences and educational research leading me to this present point remains obscured. Thus, the previous two chapters I wrote about shared experiences from my personal past, novel ideas from multidisciplinary literature, and methodological choices selected with enactivist philosophy in mind. Together these historical influences have shaped this research project and are offered to inquisitive readers seeking insight into the web of experiential, philosophical, and theoretical understandings grounding the present study. This being said, we can now move from the supporting ideas of the past to our present task of examining and making sense of this research. The following results, analyses, and interpretations of a very ordinary phenomena-family meals—are offered in the hopes of renewing interest in the sensuous world of familiar, local interactions. Like the air we breathe, sometimes it is the obvious, the ubiquitous in our present day life that goes unnoticed. The ensuing exploration of one extended family's meals is an attempt to address this situation. I begin by introducing the research participants who kindly donated their time, experiences, and insights (see figure 1). They are all members of one middle-class, four-generation extended family of British and German heritage. The eight adult individuals live in four households in the Vancouver area but regularly share meals as an extended family. Each of the next five sections begins with a vignette of a typical meal based on my observations of a recorded meal and the family members' reports. Each descriptive meal vignette is followed with an analysis of the food practices revealed by the collected information. 68 K n o w i n g Meals5 Figure 2. Alice and Don Since moving from their family house less than one year ago, a daily routine has evolved for Alice and Don that is nicely suited to their relaxed, retired lifestyle. They now live on the twenty first floor of an impressive new condominium complete with all the modern conveniences, a wonderful southern view of Mount Baker, and an indoor pool. This new home is also conveniently within walking distance of a large urban park, a major retail complex, and a community library. The location is especially handy because several members of the extended 5 Alice and Don are the eldest family members in this study. Their extensive life experiences and circumstances from around the world have undoubtedly contributed towards understandings and food practices unique within their extended family. 69 family live only a few minutes away so everyone is able to keep in close contact. Thus, the couple have been able to settle into a very comfortable existence, that includes some regular habits related to food and eating. Alice and Don are early risers, usually getting up around seven in the morning. This way they have ample time to casually go about their morning errands or activities, since now that they are both in their eighties everything seems to take just a little bit longer. One of the first things Alice does every morning is to make breakfast. On the advice of their doctor, they have chosen to limit eggs to three a week, so on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings, breakfast consists of orange juice, tea, marmalade on toast, and one poached or scrambled egg. On the other mornings, Alice makes a multigrain porridge in the microwave for Don and eats a little cup of yogurt herself. They both also have orange juice, tea, toast with jam, and half a banana for good health. After breakfast Alice often goes for a morning swim in their pool, but once a week they both go grocery shopping. Luckily for them, there are several food stores nearby to choose from, but they usually end up going to the Canadian Super Store. Years of carefully combing the sale flyers twice a week and recording all the details of their food purchases (amount, price, store, and date), have led them to conclude that prices here are usually the cheapest. There is also ample covered parking available at this particular store which enables them to leave the condominium and arrive at the store without ever having to walk outside if they don't want to. More often than not, however, Alice walks either to or from the store while Don brings the groceries home by car. On shopping days, Alice and Don arrive at the store promptly by nine o'clock, with their shopping list, coupons, and calculator in hand. Alice immediately heads for the racks of food that have been reduced for quick sale so that she gets the best choice of items. Meanwhile, Don keeps an eye on her, ensuring that she doesn't buy too many items already in their large chest freezer on the balcony at home. The couple go through the whole store together gathering sale items on their shopping list and buying in-store specials to stock up on non-perishables that they may need in a week or two. 70 Except for a few items, such as Bird's custard, brand names are not particularly important to Alice and Don. Their food choices are based almost entirely on price, a rule that goes for perishable items too. The type of vegetables that they eat usually depends on what is for sale that week, and range from frozen mixed vegetables and peas, to fresh mushrooms, corn, celery, and asparagus. The only vegetables they don't purchase are parsnips and eggplant, because Don doesn't particularly like them unless they are disguised so he can't taste them. The couple also alternate between fluid and powdered milk based on the relative prices. Both forms are close in price, so they bought four litre jugs of two percent or "civilized milk" as their children say. However, should powdered milk become less expensive in the future, they would readily switch back to this form of milk. Careful grocery shopping strategies such as these have allowed Alice and Don to purchase food at discounted prices and stay within the household budget that they have kept for several years. When the weekly shopping is complete, Don drives the groceries home while Alice walks. Upon their arrival, the food is put away into the kitchen fridge, cupboards, or large chest freezer on the kitchen balcony. They also have a cooler on the balcony where onions and potatoes are stored. Once everything is in its proper place, it is time for a cup of coffee. About now they also decide what they would like to eat for dinner so that the necessary foods such as chicken, salmon, rhubarb or apple sauce can be removed from the freezer to thaw. Cooking is not one of Alice's great passions, so she prefers to spend as little time as possible doing it and is not inclined to try new recipes. As a result, their diet has remained relatively constant over the years. When she does cook, Alice likes to make a big batch of stew or soup so that there is enough to eat as leftovers a few days later, and to freeze for another meal sometime in the future. She finds frozen meals very handy, since they are quick and easy to heat up in the microwave. Don also prepares a big salad for dinner every three or four days which helps greatly to decrease the number of days she cooks. Once the dinner menu is decided, Alice and Don have time before lunch to do some of their hobbies such as reading, knitting, studying the bible, and chatting with church or family members over the phone. Before long, however, it is noon and time for lunch. This meal typically 71 consists of tea, a sandwich, and a bowl of Alice's frozen soup. They generally finish off with a fruit, usually apples, and cheese, and then have a few hours to spend going to the nearby library, reviewing the stock market, or pursuing other interests before they must begin preparing dinner. Alice and Don generally start preparing dinner just after four in the afternoon. They always plan to eat early so that they can be cleaned up and done with all the motions in time for the six o'clock news on television. On Don's days to make salad, the first thing he does is to take the cottage cheese, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber out of the fridge. Then he looks for cold cuts or some type of left over meat such as chicken. If there are any leftover boiled potatoes he uses these up too. He assembles the salad right onto their dinner plates and sometimes, for a treat he slices some avocado. By the time Don finishes preparing their dinner, there are two very attractive plates of salad for dinner. Next Don sets the table. Alice enjoys the scenic southern view which is also conveniently located closest to the stove, while he always sits on the far side of the kitchen facing the wall. Once they are seated, they pray and begin eating their meal. A big salad, such as the one described, is the usual fare every three or four days, and in between, Alice prepares meals that require cooking such as spaghetti and meatballs or arroz a la cubana, fried eggs on a bed of rice with fried bananas. For dessert the couple generally prefers fruit over sweets so Alice will often serve fruit over ice cream or Bird's custard. This is just the type of food that they enjoy most. Alice and Don have shared meals for the past fifty-nine years, in more than fifteen homes, and on three different continents. They are truly world travelers, having met and married in Chile, moved to Britain during World War II, returned to Chile after the war, and finally settled in Canada to raise their children. Once in Canada, they remained in Vancouver but continued to move into new homes as their needs and means changed. Today the couple are now in their eighties, healthy, active, and still traveling, albeit on a much smaller scale. They recently spent a month in Hawaii, and they also moved into a nearby condominium that requires much less upkeep than their previous house. Throughout these changing surroundings and circumstances, it is interesting to observe how Alice and Don's food and eating routines have evolved. 72 Don and Alice both come from British backgrounds. Don was born and raised in Scotland. He later joined the merchant marines, sailing to various countries such as India, Berma, Cuba, and finally Chile. Meanwhile, Alice was born into a British family in Chile and brought up in a very British manner, speaking English at home and school. As is customary in Chile, Alice's family employed two local women as their maid and cook so Alice never set foot in a kitchen nor did any household chores her entire childhood. It was only when Don and Alice met and married in Chile, and Don joined the British airforce, that Alice found herself living alone in Britain during wartime and learned how to cook, clean, and attend to a newborn for the first time in her life. These years were especially difficult for Alice because there was little support from friends or family, and to top things off, the food was rationed and unfamiliar to her. Learning how to cook was a great challenge: It was extremely difficult [learning how to cook]6 because everything was on ration and you couldn't just say, Oh well [spreads hands apart]7, I'm going to make this, you know, thinking [hand gestures toward her head] that what you wanted that meal was served, because it just wasn't available. You just had to make do with what was available....8 You got a ration book and they marked it off when they gave you so much, your limit of what you needed, and you had to go and get your little bit of meat and little bit of this and little bit of that [hands indicate small portions]....and9 with that you had to make something for meals, you see....But we had powdered eggs [leans far forward] and we could get as many of them as we wanted. So we learned to make lots of things with powdered eggs....The nutrition people had to experiment too, give us ideas 6 For quotations from the research data, 10 point italic writing within square brackets, indicates explanatory comments made by myself (the researcher). 7 For quotations from the research data, twelve point italic writing inside square brackets indicates nonverbal actions by the speaker. 8 For quotations from the research data, four points followed by a space (....) indicate that the first sentence is finished (the first point is a period), and then the speaker pauses (shown by three elipsis points in a row). The space following the four points shows that the speaker has resumed with a new sentence. 9 For quotations from the research data, four points (....) indicate an omission between two sentences. The first point indicates the period at the end of the first sentence, while the three following ellipsis points indicate that material has been omitted from the original quote. 73 because I remember making a cake always with powdered eggs and liquid paraffin. You couldn't get butter....On the radio you could get all the recipes and in the papers as to what you could do with the little [hands hold small imaginary object] that you had. It was very helpful to me.... We would never have thought of using paraffin, you know, as a replacement for butter....It was flour and sugar and butter, of course, and coffee and tea. All that was rationed....Everything was hard there, but we managed very well. Alice was understandably relieved to return to the familiarity of Chile after the war. Obtaining the necessary cooking supplies was much easier, although as Don told me, "They had meat [in the farmers market]. You had to brush off the flies to see the quality, of course! [laughs] It was OK!" Alice and Don went on to explain further to me about how people shopped in Chile: Alice: Well, everything is all fresh in Chile. If you go down to the market, it's very, very good. The vegetables are extremely fresh and there are so many different kinds of herbs. Don: And every week we had what we call the farmer's market, and the farmers would come in with their horses and carts and bring all the fresh produce. They'd line up the horses on one side of the street and the carts on the other, and you could go up and purchase fresh fruit and vegetables. Alice: One very funny thing is, when I went back to Chile, is buying milk. Now the milkman came around in a cart to sell the milk and he would stop at his customers. We were convinced, of course that half way through, he would stop at one of the fire hydrants [and dilute the milk], and anyway, very, very often he had run out of milk before he reached our house....[so] I used to cycle, because I knew what was his route, and I'd meet him there and get my milk there [before he added water or ran out of milk]. While it was nice to be back with the family on familiar territory, the couple found that Chile had changed dramatically in the few years they had been away in Britain. Prices were soaring, the value of their money was declining, and certain cooking necessities were scarce: Alice: Another thing too in the cooking in Chile in those days, the power went off very, very 7 4 frequently and there would be a whole day without any power. No cooking at all, so we would make a fire in the back yard and we would have a picnic. Don: We used a lot of oil for cooking in Chile. When we arrived back, in 1946, the oil came from the Argentine, the cooking oil, and there was a shortage of that. There was a shortage of sugar. There was a shortage of tea. Alice: Coffee, tea, power, and sugar. Don: Coffee tea, power, and sugar. Alice: So we had to register to get the oil....I remember the oil. It was very scarce. You couldn't buy it in any store, and the Communists got a hold of all this oil and you had to register with the Communists if you wanted to get oil. You had to go to this place and it was intimidating really, and these men were behind there [motions with her hands in front of her], you know. These changes, along with the country's instability and questionable future prospects for their children led Alice and Don to relocate in Canada: Alice: But we didn't know a soul in Vancouver when we came....Oh, we picked Canada because the consulate gave us this yearbook and we looked through all the climates and we thought, oh, Vancouver's the one for us. That's why we chose it! This same adventurous spirit that guided Alice and Don as they traveled around the world, also helped when it came to shopping and preparing meals in Canada for, again Alice had to learn different food and cooking skills in unfamiliar circumstances: They [Canadians] had big supermarkets. I'd never seen anything like it. Now they have them in Chile, but not in those days. They had little stores. Supermarkets really boggled my mind! The early years in Vancouver were trying for Alice and Don since there were now three young children, a limited budget, and a strange food supply to contend with. Alice admits that, "I was never very good at cooking. You understand that? I didn't enjoy it like some people do, but it had to be done". So the couple used their imagination to cook economical meals that fell within their budget. There was no one to give suggestions or offer recipes so the couple improvised: 75 Don: Alice used to get about eight different types of grain and make a porridge. We invented a lot of things [to stay within the household budget]. Alice: We had a wiener and noodle casserole. Don: That was our favorite dish. There were also limitations related to cooking equipment, in these early years. The young family had to cook on unevenly heated stoves first using wood, then coal, sawdust, and finally oil. Food storage was achieved by using a big homemade ice chest with fifty pound blocks of ice. Shopping was done frequently and on foot. Fortunately, by the time appliances such as electric stoves, refrigerators, and microwaves, and cars became widely available, Don and Alice were financially more secure and able to purchase these handy inventions, as well as a car. Today, many of these habits from years gone by are still evident in the food and eating practices of Don and Alice. Don still likes his multigrain porridge, Alice still prefers not to cook and when asked if she ever tries new recipes: Alice: No [slowly, with emphasis, and an unhappy face]. No time [shakes her head]. No time to. I can't be bothered actually [smiles].... Don: You [points to Alice] get some good ideas from this chap [points away towards the TV]...10 Alice: James Barber Don: James Barber on TV at three thirty. Many of their current food routines are also still directly related to their household budget. Alice: Well, I do that Sunday night [go through the supermarket flyers] when they come in, yes, and whatever we need I make a list of where and what [gestures as if writing]. Then we can go out any time then during the week, you see, Tuesdays and Thursdays anyway....You have to shop around [forthe best prices]. \i [an especially good buy on tomatoes] was in the flyer, you see. 1 0 For quotations from the research data, three ellipsis points (...) within a sentence indicate that the speaker has paused. 76 Don: Yes, you have to keep alert too...and then sometimes you can buy something...if it's boxed [hands indicate a square shaped object] or if it's in a bag [hands indicate a different shape], you know, there is quite a difference in price and it's the same thing [placespalms up]. Alice: When it's bulk. Don: When it's bulk, yes. Alice: You know, we always check the prices of anything, flour or salt or sugar or anything. If you go to the store and they're so much and you go to the bulk and you figure out by the kilo and you find that the bulk is usually cheaper. Don: In some cases, the bulk is much more expensive. Alice: Sometimes it is, but then bulk, the advantage there is that you can buy little bits at a time [fingers on the left hand indicate a small amount] and you get it fresher...than if you buy it bigger. Yes, you have to watch these things. Don: That's true. The bulk isn't always what it appears to be and you have to get multiplying and then you find out. Alice: Take your calculator! They take full advantage of the modern appliances and food storage capabilities in their new condominium that allow them to both save money by buying in bulk at sale prices. Much time and effort is saved by preparing frozen meals ahead of time, since as Alice says, "somehow I seem pressed for time". They also plan their daily schedule so that household errands, meals, and various activities can be accomplished without rushing around. Don explains that as you get older, "you have to pace yourself on everything and you have to remind yourself that now you can't go at this like a bull in a china shop. Just take it easy, you know. It takes a little longer". While many people are concerned with eating in a healthy manner, Alice and Don are not particularly consumed with this issue: Alice: You know, I've never been able to do that because I've never been taught anything about healthy foods or health in any way.... Don: No. That's right, we've kept a very plain, simple diet. 77 Alice: and the children have always been so healthy. They've never, never been sick, not any of the three of them. So I must have been doing something right! While it is clear that Alice and Don are not overly concerned with healthy eating or preparing elaborate meals, this does not mean that they do not value the time spent eating together. Here, the couple talk about what is important to them about mealtimes: Alice: Fellowship and not reading the newspaper while we're eating. Don: Yeah, that's right. Alice: Yes, we don't have TV there [within view of the kitchen table]. Don: and, ah...the fact that we're able to enjoy something that we like. You know we've gotten together on what we're going to have tonight for dinner. It's not just sort of a last minute rake the thing together. It's been sort of thought about and then when it comes, it's attractive. It's healthy and one really enjoys eating it as well as sharing it together. In keeping with the importance placed on socializing over meals, Alice and Don still entertain, but are mindful of the realities of aging and have adjusted their activities accordingly: Don: From time to time we'll have friends up here and have a dinner or what have you or at lunch time. We have to change our, sort of ideas, because our friends are like us, getting into the eighties and what have you. So it's more convenient for them to come for lunch. Alice: They don't like driving at night.... Don: and they don't like eating [big meals in the evening]...that's right. Alice: and there's always this question of lunch and it seems more convenient. Don: and often we have it pot luck so everyone likes to bring something. So that's a good idea. Alice: Yeah. That I started just last year because it was getting a bit too much for ten people you know. Thus, Alice and Don do not particularly like to prepare meals or clean up, and while their food cannot be described as elaborate or gourmet they do enjoy their meals, taking pleasure 78 knowing that they have shopped economically, and valuing each others' companionship. They also continue to display a willingness to adapt and/or adopt food and eating practices appropriate to the specific circumstances of the places they find themselves in. As they told me: Alice: We live very frugally. We live simply and because of our circumstances, we have to do it, but we enjoy doing it too, you see. Don: The basic idea is to be very content....Our meals are not boring, anyhow [smiles]. That's for sure! Doing Dinner1 1 Figure 3. Harry and Heather "Heather is the daughter of Alice and Don (the eldest family members in this study). Heather and her husband Harry are what some would call empty nesters. With their two daughters now married, Heather and Harry are enjoying opportunities to travel and experiment with unfamiliar foods from distant lands, as well as welcome friends and family into their home several times a week for meals. 79 Heather follows a shopping routine that has proven, over the years, to be both efficient and effective for her. Since food shopping is definitely not one of her favorite activities, she devotes one day a week, usually Friday, to shopping and errands. This way it all gets done at once. Today is Friday and Heather's first stop is at the neighbourhood Safeway. Heather finds this particular grocery convenient because it is only a few minutes from home and it also has a bakery, a delicatessen, and almost everything she needs for their household. In fact, she is so familiar with the store layout that it doesn't even matter if the grocery list is forgotten at home. She just follows the normal routine of going down each row in exactly the same way and the familiar brands on the shelves trigger her memory of what is needed. Also, by taking her time shopping, she often finds interesting new foods to try, like the raspberry salad dressing that she discovers today. Since Heather likes to keep a well stocked pantry and freezer, yet another advantage of going down each aisle is that it helps her spot staples on sale, for even though price is not a major concern, it never hurts to save a little money. With most of her weekly groceries purchased at Safeway, Heather decides to make an extra trip to a special bakery to buy a type of rye bread that her family greatly enjoys. Since she doesn't go there very often, seven loaves are purchased. Hopefully there will be enough room for them in their large basement chest freezer, which like her kitchen cupboards is completely full of a variety of foods. Finding any empty storage space in their house is so difficult that Harry and the children joke about long forgotten foods at the back of her cupboards. Despite the teasing, Heather still knows how handy it is to keep a good supply of food in the house. Today shopping takes Heather past a small farm market down the hill from their house. Here she finds an assortment of high quality, local vegetables. Remembering a package of frozen sausages at home, Heather decides to use it up with some fresh spinach by making an Eastern European dish, called Leccho, for dinner. Leccho is one of their favorites because they enjoy the spicy tomato sauce. They haven't had it for a couple months, so it seems like a good idea. A few more stops at the bank and their church, and Heather finally turns into their driveway feeling relieved to finish all the weekly errands. It is just after 4:00 pm, so she puts the 80 groceries away and retrieves the frozen bratworst sausages from the basement freezer, managing to find enough room for the seven loaves of bread. Then it's back upstairs to start cooking dinner. The first thing she does is put the sausages into the microwave to defrost. Then she looks in the refrigerator. There are a variety of vegetables just purchased today, but she decides to use up some green peppers, onions, potatoes, and a chunk of iceberg lettuce from last week's shopping. She selects several bags of these vegetables, along with the fresh spinach, and some tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad. Stopping to turn on the radio sitting on the kitchen table, she adjusts the dial to a Christian talk show. Then she reaches into the dishwasher, pulls out a frying pan, washes it in the sink, and uses it to fry the defrosted sausages. She washes the vegetables, chops the peppers, onions, and spinach, and adds them to the sausage. Then she peels the potatoes and puts them onto the stove to boil. The lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers are used to make a large bowl of salad which she places on the kitchen table along with the new raspberry dressing. Finally, she adds a bottle of dressing just in case Harry doesn't like the raspberry one. Dinner is almost ready, so she feeds the cat, and continues to stir the simmering leccho and potatoes. When Harry arrives home from work a few minutes later, Heather serves the hot steaming food onto their plates and brings the milk carton to the table. Seeing the paper that Harry has put on the chair beside him, she makes a point of telling him not to read the paper at the dinner table. Then they both sit down to the table, pray, and Harry changes the radio station to classical music. Heather, being the more talkative of the two, initiates most of the conversation, which ranges from the grandchildren, to upcoming church events, family vacations, the day's activities, and the new raspberry dressing. It is a very calm, leisurely fifty minute meal. As dinner comes to an end, they both rise to clear the table. Heather puts away the leftover potatoes. Harry starts to rinse the dishes by hand and tells Heather that she can go prepare for her six o'clock church meeting. She has to wait for her coffee water to boil, however, so she volunteers to clean up. After several years of married life, Harry knows that this really means that she doesn't want him to help clean up, so he leaves the kitchen. In less than ten minutes, Heather has the dishwasher on and the counters wiped down. Harry returns and they both sit down at the kitchen table to have a cup of coffee and read the paper. 81 As an onlooker, I find that this scene feels familiar, comfortable, and routine for Heather and Harry. Heather, an outgoing, friendly person who says she "enjoys doing very much" handles the food shopping, preparation, and clean up effortlessly: I do everything, yes [smiles and laughs], and that probably has stemmed over the years because Harry worked long hours and I was home all the time. So that was kind of our division of labour, if you want to call it that. However, Heather told me that meals were not always so easy for her. When they were first married, Harry was going to medical school and she was working full time as an xray technician, and in those days she had little previous experience with cooking meals at home: I think when we were married it was just a matter of reading recipes, listening to Harry's mom's ideas to cook, probably just listening to a lot of other people, what they did, and trying out different things, and just basically, sort of, falling into a habit of [askingyourself]--What did you have available and what could you do with it?....How does one learn how to cook? Well when you have to cook three meals a day for, sort of, three hundred days a week, [corrects herself] a year, probably you get so that you learn, just because you have to eat. You're hungry and you learn. Now after years of practice at making meals, Heather cooks without recipes unless she is experimenting with a dish to serve to company. She also feels differently about her abilities: I just feel a lot more confident in what you're [I'm] making. You know that you can do something with whatever you've got and I noticed that especially, in some of our trips to Africa when we were living in Kenya for a few months [while Harry was on a medical sabbatical]....The stuff you got was good but it wasn't a lot of variety, and [smiles] I looked at some of the younger wives. We were living in one hospital. We were kind of in a guest house with two or three other couples and they would just be at a loss to know what to cook. They would be plowing through cookbooks and everything. You sort of say—Well, what have we got today? Well, what came in the order? And you sort of say, well let's do this, that, and the other with it, and I realized 82 then, that I did have a lot of knowledge. I didn't have to look through a cookbook to find out what could you do with canned tuna, which was something that we would have that day. Well, what can you do with it? Well, there are a variety [sweeping hand gestures] of things you can do, but they would have to look it up and I thought, hmm [nods her head] I have come a long way. At home Heather's interest in experimenting with food fits into a busy schedule of family activities, travel, tennis, skiing, household duties, and various church commitments such as women's group meetings, Sunday services, bible studies, and choir practices. She gets meals done by being organized and making use of several proven time saving strategies and routines: I do all the clean up, and to tell you the truth, after all these years, I prefer it if I can do it, because then I do it in a certain way. Very much creatures of habit, I guess it is, and then I know it's done....It's not kind of half done and the counters left unclean, stuff like this. I do, and it's easy. I put it all into the dishwasher basically. It doesn't take a lot of time and then I know that it's done the way that I would do it.... Sometimes you work faster by yourself rather than having people hovering all over you all the time. While Heather prefers to clean up in her own way, Harry has his own opinions on this topic: She does most of the cleaning up, but I try and help, but she doesn't like me at the sink....She doesn't like the way I wash dishes. Mainly because she wants to put everything into the dishwasher. I don't like the dishwasher. I like to do things by hand and so, if I'm home alone, I never use the dishwasher....Well, [counts off his reasons on his fingers] I like to wash everything by hand. I know every dish is going to be clean. Dishwashers aren't perfect. Sometimes dishes will come out and you'll have little bits of things dried on them. That's one thing. And they waste an awful lot of water and it takes me three minutes to wash things up for two people....With the two of us, we don't have a lot. When the family's here, yeah, we end up with a lot of dishes and maybe the dishwasher's OK for that. And dishwashers don't do pots very well.. ..So I like to do my pots by hand. Well if you're going to do pots by hand, you 83 might as well do the two or three plates by hand and bingo, let them sit there and dry, and its fine. The thing I hate is when I go into a cupboard and the cupboard's empty [spreads hands out] and everything is in the dishwasher. I hate going into the dishwasher to pick up a plate [picks up an imaginary object] or whatever. Since Harry is job sharing and home more often, they have resolved their differences by compromising. Harry cleans his lunch dishes and rinses the dinner dishes, while Heather washes and finishes the dinner clean up. Shopping on Friday is another proven strategy for saving time that ensures Heather will have an assortment of fresh foods for entertaining on the weekend. Keeping the house well stocked in non-perishables and frozen foods is a useful strategy. This way she rarely runs out of ingredients and is able to save a little money by purchasing sale items. Another advantage of maintaining a full pantry is that it allows her to decide their everyday dinner menus in the late afternoon, and with such a variety of foods, she can be assured of a choice of recipes to prepare: I just kind of buy a variety of stuff and every night at about a quarter to five I open the fridge and say—What shall we have for tonight for dinner? What is left here and are there any leftovers we need to eat up? And with just the two of us, there often is something left over and then I can build a meal around that or whatever, just to use it up. Other time saving food preparation skills have also emerged with practice: I do a stir fry [if she's in a rush] with just a little bit of meat sliced thin and whatever is in the fridge. That's also a good way to use up little bits of vegetables too, or just if you have two carrots and two of this and two of that, you stick it all together into this stir fry thing and make it that way. I really enjoy those sorts of things and then, you see, that, I would put over some pasta with just a little bit of oil and vinegar sauce or something like that. That would be fine for me. That would be a good meal. Otherwise, my family really enjoys soups as well, like a nice borscht or a hearty soup like that, and if I do those in large quantities and freeze them, then that's of course a very fast meal. With a baguette or some nice bread it makes a good meal as well. 84 One consideration for Heather is who the dinner guests are and the types of food they prefer: [TJhere are things like—Dan won't eat fish. So when the family comes over, there's no point in making fish because he won't eat it. So when it's just Harry and I, then I have much more choice in menus, and usually with other people or with the extended family or even with company, I make chicken. Just because it's a safe meal. Harry's childhood experiences have also influenced the type and preparation of foods they eat for dinner: Harry: In Germany, I remember a lot of poverty. We had very little. The farmer that my dad worked for allowed us to grow a few vegetables and he gave us one little pig [hands hold an imaginary object] at the beginning of the season all the time and we were allowed to feed it and make it as fat [moves hands apart] as possible. And then we'd hire the local butcher in the little village where we lived and he'd come out to the farm and he'd butcher it for us, and we'd make hams out of it and use absolutely everything of the pig, except the bladder. We used everything. Absolutely [with emphasis] everything. The intestines were cooked, and cleaned of course, and cooked and they became the sausage slips. The blood was used for blood sausage. The stomach was used to put something, some kind of sausage into it. Everything. The heart got cooked and boiled. You know, these kinds of things that we wouldn't normally associate with being good meat, and hams were made and so forth. That basically was our protein for an entire year, except for well, eggs. We had a few chickens as well, but in Germany we ate meat once a week and that was Sundays. The rest of the time we had milk-soup and rice, and milk-soup and noodles, milk-soup and dumplings, milk-soup and this. So whatever went into the milk-soup, I basically don't have a great liking for it anymore because we ate that six days a week. We ate it six days a week. So I'll eat rice, but it has to have lots of stuff on it like sauces and pork and tomato stuff [makes mixing gestures with hands] In a later interview, Harry elaborated on his dislike for rice and noodles: It's mostly because of the memories of when we were poor [that he doesn't like rice or 85 noodles].... [W]e had access to a lot of milk which meant, certainly I did and I think my parents too, we all became iron deficient because there wasn't a lot of meat or fresh stuff in the diet, particularly in the winters. Therefore, Heather usually prepares meals of meat, potatoes, salad, and vegetables, with some type of gravy or sauce. They never really have to repeat any dinner dishes more than once every two months, but sometimes the leftovers are handy. Heather says, "The best part of that [having leftovers] is when I have potatoes left over, and it's enough for Harry. Then I will do pasta for me or rice or something like that." In talking to Heather and Harry, I noticed that they eat a large variety of foods which is a healthy habit. When I mentioned this to Heather, she told me about Harry's ideas on eating: [Harry's] thesis has been all his life that if you eat a well balanced diet you're going to do fine. So you don't go overboard on any one manner and then you don't have to worry about health foods or vitamins or anything like that. You just eat a balanced diet and you stay healthy. Heather also talked about how her own ideas of healthy eating have changed over the years: I think in people's minds now they're thinking fewer sauces, less rich gravies, not so much whipping cream desserts, not so much dessert at all. Things a little bit lighter....probably not so much deep fried stuff or heavily fried stuff. This sort of a thing. I have not watched it nearly as much as some of my friends do if they've got a high cholesterol count or something, but we don't have that. So I've had to watch how much butter I use or something like that. I do probably use a bit more olive oil now than butter. It just makes me feel better, but definitely my ideas have changed. You do watch things, as trends go [motions from left to right with her hand]. You tend to follow them....I don't watch a lot of TV but I read the paper, especially the food section on Wednesdays, new recipes that come, just new products that you're bombarded with maybe in the store, what people talk about, what my friends are going through more now, people with health problems that discuss these things with you. Then you realize that well I don't have that problem but maybe I can do it anyway. 86 For her part, healthy eating is more intuitive: I don't think I probably think about it [healthy eating] but we probably do [it]. I do think that fresh vegetables are healthier than canned ones so that's probably unconsciously, that's what I'm thinking when I go into the fridge and get out something like carrots or beans or asparagus or something, rather than opening a can. I don't think of it [//£e]--now let's see what I can get that's healthy today, you know, type of a thing, but I know. And also, we've never had a problem, none of us really, over our lives of gaining weight easily. For Harry, I think it's probably more genetic. He weighs the same now as he did in high school. His family just does not gain weight readily, and I never did either, but I've noticed in my latter [with emphasis] years now that it stays on a little bit more easier than it ever did before! I've never thought of my weight or what I've eaten or how much I've done. I've always just sort of stayed the same, but now that it's staying on a little bit more, I have to watch what I eat. Thus, Heather and Harry believe that an active lifestyle combined with a variety of fresh foods the key to a healthy life. There have been some changes to their diet that have occurred slowly: Heather: We've talked about it [eating less red meat] off and on for probably five years. I don't know why, because Harry has no cholesterol problem at all and I've never had mine tested so I don't think I do either, but it seems to be sort of the genre of the culture right now, to do that. So I guess we've thought about it for that long. I don't make it a conscious effort that makes it difficult [clenches and pounds fist] to do that, but you just sort of always have it in the back of your mind. I guess it has been for about the last five year or so....I've done it so slowly that [it has] probably not [been difficult] and I could do it better. Harry: We barbecue the occasional steak. We've gotten away from steak over the last few years. We do more chicken, some sausages as well....Well, as you know, I think our diets are probably too rich in red meats and um, poultry is supposedly healthier for you and eating fish as well, is supposed to be a bit healthier in general....I think we have too much protein in our diet in North America anyhow. Rather than eating a full 87 protein meal seven days a week, it's really not necessary....I think we have to concentrate a lot more on eating more vegetables. Although these health related habits have evolved over time, Heather and Harry mostly thinks of meals as primarily a time for the family: Heather: Oh, I just really enjoy talking with the kids and with Harry about what's gone on in the day. Try very much so, not to make it argumentative in any way, shape, or form. This is just a good time to talk to each other, find out what's happened with them, what's gonna happen with them, um, what's gone bad in their day. It's a place for them to vent their problems. Talk about things. We used to read with the kids at times, even at the dinner table too, when they were much younger. Discuss what we were going to do, even if it was in the far, far off future. The next holiday we were going to take or the next place we were going to go to, or what we were going to buy, or even shopping where we were going to go, what our plans were next week, then next year for that matter. Harry: It's togetherness. It's being able to communicate what's happened during the day, staying connected....I think family meals, eating them together is important. At least it's one time when the entire family can be together, share their experiences". They concentrate on the family members at the table. Classical music often plays in the background but as Harry says, "We definitely don't like to eat in front of the TV. That's too distracting". Despite this, when it's just the two of them Harry confided to me that he would prefer meals that take up less time: I like to sit less than Heather. Heather likes to sit around the dinner table and take her time and all this sort of stuff. And I think probably, I'm most likely not too unusual as far as men are concerned. They probably like to eat and get up and get on with the next thing [smiles]. Aside from the actual minutes spent at the dinner table, when Heather and Harry stop to think about food and eating, they agree that meals are a valuable time for connection between 88 family members and that healthy eating is important. Usually, however they don't consciously pause to think about the meaning of a meal, they just do it: Heather: I guess one just gets so into the habit of doing it [preparing dinner] every night for so many years that you don't even think about whether you're liking it or not liking it. It needs to be done. This is the main thing of it. Most of the time I enjoy it. It doesn't bother me that much and my family has always been very appreciative so they eat everything, they don't complain, and they say thank you. Meals Just Happen Figure 4. Christine, Mitchell, Connor, and Greg (clockwise) 12Christine is the eldest daughter to Heather and Harry. Christine and her husband Greg (both in their late twenties), while clearly devoted parents, feel that their meals are somewhat hectic, with the demands of rearing two toddlers, Mitchell and Connor, impacting nearly all aspects of their food and eating. Their third child, Emily, was born shortly after the household interviews were completed. 89 It is a dreary, rainy, west coast afternoon in January and Greg is getting up after working his twelve hour graveyard shift as a physical plant engineer in a large urban entertainment venue. Still a bit groggy, he heads upstairs from his night shift cot in the basement to their small white kitchen at the top of the stairs. Usually the boys are napping and he would chat with Christine, but today Mitchell (aged three and a half) and Connor (aged two) immediately come rushing out of the kitchen, eager to play with their dad. Greg gets in a brief hello to Christine before joining the children in their playroom. With everyone occupied elsewhere, Christine takes this opportunity to make dinner. She selects a well used cookbook composed of recipes that take only thirty minutes each to prepare because it is already 4 : 4 5 p.m. As she is almost nine months pregnant, it is a welcome relief to have a moment of quiet time to sit and gather energy. Christine flips through the book and finally settles on a new chicken and stuffing casserole. Although she is a bit leery of doing this, preferring not to take risks with unfamiliar foods, she has wanted to try this recipe for awhile and all the ingredients are in the house. Besides, the kids like chicken and Greg likes most foods. The vegetable for tonight is an easy choice because the kids are on a carrot kick right now. She buys carrots because they are handy and last a long time in the fridge. However, rather than eat cooked carrots herself, she munches on some raw ones while she prepares the meal. Cooked carrots and vegetables in general are not her most favorite foods, so she usually doesn't buy a lot of them. Despite this, she makes a point of serving one fresh vegetable and fruit to the boys at each meal because she wants them to grow up healthy. She is much more concerned with what they eat than what she eats, because at twenty nine, she has finished growing. So with the dinner menu decided, Christine goes down to the basement to gather ingredients. Most dry and canned goods are kept here because her kitchen cupboard and counter space is very limited. She scans the crowded shelves, looks into the plastic grocery bags still sitting on the floor, and selects the required tinned and packaged ingredients. Then she rummages through the chest freezer and pulls out some boneless, skinless chicken breasts from underneath the packages of Green Giant buttered vegetables, loaves of frozen bread, and boxes of appetizers. 90 She likes to keep a wide selection of food for convenience sake, because she doesn't like to grocery shop. When she was first married, discovering how to shop and what to keep in the house had been the biggest learning step for providing meals. Now, with two young children shopping can be quite stressful at times, especially when they run in different directions and start pulling things off the shelves. Generally speaking, her goal is to shop quickly, in bulk for nonperishables, and at the nearby Safeway store for nearly everything else she needs. Sometimes she has to pay higher prices, but time, not money, is the main issue. Once upstairs again, she thaws the chicken quickly in the microwave, slices it, and fries it on the stove. Mitchell and Connor take turns running into the kitchen to show her their toys, and Greg wanders in offering to help. As usual, however, Christine prefers to prepare the meal herself and asks him to look after the children instead. Between these visits, Christine glances repeatedly at the recipe, mixes the ingredients together, cuts up several carrots, and washes some grapes for the kids. She makes a point of cleaning after each step, since the counter area is only about three feet long. Amazingly, the kitchen never appears messy. With the casserole in the oven and the carrots boiling away on the stove, Christine finds herself with a few precious moments alone. Quickly she removes the bread machine from the table top, sets the table, cleans a few dishes, and then reads sections of the newspaper while periodically checking the casserole and stirring the carrots. This recipe was easy. Normally she doesn't have time to relax. In fact, most days she is on the go right up to the kid's bedtime. As dinner approaches everyone seems to migrate into the cosy little kitchen. This is typically the noisiest and most chaotic time of the meal. Mitchell and Connor curiously watch Christine remove the casserole, while Greg holds them well back from the heat of the oven. Christine begins to serve the boys' food into plastic bowls, cutting the meat into small pieces so they won't choke, and Greg helps them get seated. However, being so young, the boys always have various demands that seem to change from meal to meal. Tonight it is of the utmost importance for mommy to put Mitchell's bib on, and for Connor to pull out the high chair from the wall all by himself. Both children also insist on carrying their own bowls to the small rectangular table which is against the far wall of the kitchen. By now they are very hungry, but 91 the food is much too hot to eat. As they start to fuss, Christine shows them how to blow on their food to cool it off. It is a hectic time, indeed, in this crowded kitchen. Almost fifteen minutes go by, but eventually each toddler is seated next to one parent. Christine and Mitchell share one side of the table, and after pouring apple juice for the kids, Greg slides into the end seat just in front of the refrigerator door. Once settled, he pulls Connor's highchair closer into the corner of the table next to him. Christine prays with each child, as they always do, and finally everyone starts to eat. Conversation is minimal, really nothing more than brief messages relayed between the adults dealing with phone calls and the day's events. This is not to say that nothing happens at the table. Christine and Greg eat quickly and then spend the greater part of the meal tending to the children, answering their questions, ensuring that they actually eat, and teaching them table manners. Tonight Mitchell inquires about the casserole and then promptly tries to give his chicken away to Greg. Then Connor sees his mom adding salt and pepper, and immediately wants some himself. Mitchell asks for salad dressing on his carrots, Connor starts to cry, and both parents give repeated instructions for the children to chew and not play with their food. Just a typical meal for this family! Within twenty minutes, the children receive a candy treat, and are happily running about the kitchen. Greg clears the table of dishes, returns the bread machine and papers to the table top, and pushes in the chairs. Now it's time for him to get the kids ready for bed. Meanwhile, Christine continues to wash up and put the left over casserole into a container for Greg to take to work. Having done most of the cleaning before they ate, there aren't many dirty dishes. Once the kitchen is cleaned to her satisfaction, she joins Greg and the children in the other room. In the above description of a typical meal, Christine and Greg, show a remarkable coordination of work, household, and parenting duties that they largely take for granted. An obvious example, drawn from my observations and interviews, is evident in the roles and division of labor played out within the household. Christine worked as a chartered accountant, but with their third child on the way, she has now become a full time homemaker. As she 92 reflected on the shift in meal responsibilities associated with the change in roles, she told me that: He [Greg] works twelve hour shifts when he works...days and nights. I'm a stay at home mom right now. I'm not working outside the house. I mean, the kids take up a lot of my time, so I can't say that I'm sitting around doing nothing, but I guess I kind of feel that that's part of my job. [meals] This viewpoint is supported by her own upbringing, for as Christine explains, she fell into her role naturally, "I find that [making meals by herself] is very much like my mother too, because dad does nothing". One important difference between these households is that her parents don't have young children at home anymore. Since Mitchell and Connor are only toddlers, Christine describes how Greg is able to play a helpful, supporting role in the meal process: That [making meals by herself] can be a little bit trying because I'm doing the dishes. The kids are fighting, you know, or they're playing on my leg, or they're saying mommy come and play with me, or something like this. So I find that one of the biggest helps that Greg can do is to play with them. You know, take them into the playroom and play with them while I'm trying to clean up. So in that way, I do the actual dishes clean up and stuff like that but his part is certainly not, not that bad, and it's a big help just to have the kids out of my hair. I also noticed that Christine appears to enjoy meal preparation and clean up as a time for herself. The kitchen is her personal domain where she has a certain amount of control. She can read the paper while dinner cooks, and do things her own way: The way I clean up is the right way to clean up. I don't know. It's just, I don't know. He [Greg] just bugs me when he's around, you know? And I can feel myself thinking, 'OK you know he's helping. I shouldn't be getting annoyed at this', or whatever, but you know, he won't clean this right, or he'll put this away funny, or he won't wipe this. It's really picky and it's really stupid, but I find I'd just rather do it myself a lot of times just because then I know it's done and I'm happy with it, kind of thing. Although, I mean, he does a fine job. It's not like he leaves dirty food on the plates or 93 something like this, but he doesn't do it the right way. Making the meals also allows Christine to choose the type of food they eat, which has benefits since, as she admits, "I'm not a really risky person when it comes to eating food". More often than not, however, the dinner menu is limited by time: Christine: Sometimes I wish I had more time to cook, that I could be a little bit more creative. Because a lot of times, it's like I said, we have our old standbys [hands move apart as if indicating a number of dishes in front of her], you know, that we have all the time, and sometimes, it's like, it would be really nice to try something new a little bit more often than we do, but like I said, I don't have the time and maybe once the kids get a bit bigger. Other issues such as her concern for the children's health complicate food and menu choices since Christine comments, "I often am more concerned about what they're eating [the children] than what I'm eating because I want them to grow up healthy and they're still little [hands lowered] and I'm old already [hands raised]". She adds, "they [the children] actually really like vegetables, so I probably should make more of them, but I'm [raises her right hand to her chest] not a really big vegetable person, so then I don't buy them. Then I don't make them". When asked what she considers healthy eating to be she had these understandings: Healthy eating...[sigh] it would be...um, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and trying to stay away from foods that are really high in fat. [laughs] Unfortunately, I don't always do all of this, but that's what it would mean to me if actually I was a healthy eater. And trying to stay away from a lot of, like, fried and processed foods and things like that. That would probably be my idea of healthy eating. Oh, and balanced eating over the course of the day. Even if you don't have all food groups at every meal, that over the course of the day somehow you've gotten in all your stuff. Another difficulty with preparing and eating healthy foods is that Christine believes that they don't taste as good as the less healthy foods and they take more time and effort to prepare: Sometimes, you know, Greg will come home from work or whatever [hand gestures] and he'll want a snack and just go to the freezer and get out the hors d'oeuvres and eat 94 them. Well those are not healthy at all. Those are just junk, but they're good. No, they're fast. They fill you up, kind of thing, and um, the time factor, you know. It's like, rather than making my own sauce or making something that might be a little less fatty, it's just easier to open a can and mix all that in. Obviously, Christine is faced with balancing food preferences, time, and effort against preparing more creative dishes, healthy eating, and her responsibilities as a parent. Her mental knowledge of healthy eating does not always reflect her food practices, but compromises are made. For example, she adjusts the dinner menu slightly by giving "the kids a little bit of fruit [gestures with right hand for emphasis] with every meal. At least they're being healthy". Also, since they have to eat some type of vegetables, she buys carrots because they have a long shelf life and the kids like them. She can eat her carrots raw and cook them for everyone else. Meals are really only stressful for Christine when there are time constraints, such as the days when Greg has a night shift at work and dinner is not ready on time. To prevent such anxiety, Christine strives to follow a meal routine structured around Greg's work schedule and the children's needs. She tries to be efficient and organized, and has adopted a number of time and energy saving strategies, such as one-stop shopping, bulk buying, making easy, quick, familiar recipes that use partially prepared foods like canned soups, boxed stuffing, frozen vegetables and appetizers, and using pre-planned leftovers for Greg's work meals. Christine also works within the physical characteristics of their house. For example, meal clean up is done continuously throughout meal's preparation due to a lack of counter space, "I find that if I don't clean as I go while I'm here [in this particular house], then there's no room to cook anymore. You know, I'm putting, piling stuff on the table [makes piling motions with hands] well, then we have to eat on the table". She is contemplating the decreasing physical space that will occur once the baby arrives: We're looking at our table going, [moves head as if to look at the table] 'OK where are we going to put this extra child?' You know, we don't have a very big kitchen and one of the things that we'll probably end up doing eventually is moving. Just because the house is great for us right now, but with the extra person and with the kids getting a 95 little bit bigger, we're a little bit constrained by space. So, um, you know even just the physical thing o f Where are we going to put this kid when we're eating?', [hands move apart] You know, um, because Connor's going to be out of his high chair pretty soon and he's going to need a seat at the table, and then, you know, we'll pull the table out from the wall [moves hands in pulling motion]. Well then, that takes up half the kitchen [hands move apart and forward], so there's all these kinds of considerations as well. It appears that Christine's husband, Greg, is also influenced by the limited physical space of their kitchen, Christine's wishes, and his work schedule: On my days off, you know, I'll try and help as much as I can [gestures with hands and then folds them again] either with keeping the kids occupied and setting the table, and doing, you know.... She [Christine] doesn't usually like me too close too [smiles and then laughs].... It's a small kitchen and she likes her space and I usually just get in the way if I do too much [smiles, looks away, and taps his heel on the floor]. His British/German upbringing, may also play a part in the meal routine, for like his father, Greg barbecues and makes breakfasts but does not normally help with everyday meal preparation. Thus, Greg's time outside of his job is most often spent fixing things around their house or their church, or watching the kids for Christine when she has church meetings. He reports that they are very busy and he has no time for personal hobbies like gardening. Christine's job is inside the home and Greg's job is outside the home, but they both agree that their common role as parents is their number one priority. Greg describes how their meals are centered around their children, rather than eating and conversations: Generally, we don't get a lot of chance to talk unless we're on our own. Because the kids, [shakes his head from side to side] I mean, we just have to. We have to eat fast and be done fast, because with the kids...you just have to [smiles and laughs]. It's just, yeah, it's easier because they are so demanding. 96 Later on, he adds that "you have to watch them because, they put too much in their mouth or they, you know [hand gestures]. So you're always sort of watching them and telling them not to play with things or throw food or whatever [laughs]". As an onlooker, this was readily apparent. The meal from preparation to clean up took over 2.5 hours because both parents took time to attend to the children. Only twenty two minutes were spent eating, and most of this time was devoted to the children. Activities included keeping the children safe, teaching them about foods, and as Christine says, teaching them "good table manners.... Just so they'll grow up and people will like to have them at the table with them". Meals are not as relaxing as they once were (in pre-children times), but Greg told me that family meals were important because it was "nice to be all together" and his wife confirmed this: I think that having a family meal together, at least one meal of the day, and usually dinner, um, is very important, just to catch up with everybody so that we have a chance to say, 'Yes, you are a part of this family and you know we want to, and enjoy, spending time with you'....Even though it can be a little bit stressful and stuff like that. I don't like eating in shifts. You know, I don't like someone eating over the sink here [points with right hand], and someone eating at the T V here [points to another spot with her right hand], and the kids having snacks here [points to another spot with her right hand], and stuff like that. We try to make it, you know, at least one focal point [both hands move as if holding onto one object]....It will become more important as our lives get busier, as the boys get older and they get involved in more activities. Just to focus on something. Thus upon reflection, it would appear that ordinary, everyday dinners at this household's tiny kitchen table are actually complex family events. Meals require advanced organizational and parenting skills by both Christine and Greg, although they probably never realized this before. They just learned how to do things as they needed to. As Greg comments, "You know, I don't think about these things [laughs and raises and lowers his left hand]. They just happen". 97 A Communion Of Spirits?13 Figure 5. Greg and Kathy Kathy is driving home from the private Christian school where she has taught since she graduated from university four years ago. It has been a long day of teaching her grade seven class followed by her after-school recreation class. The traffic light turns red at an intersection so she stops and glances down at the recipe book on the car seat next to her. She is really hungry. What should she cook tonight? It has to be something quick because she won't arrive home until around six o'clock and she doesn't want to eat too late. 1 3Kathy is the youngest daughter of Heather and Harry. Kathy and her husband Dan (both in their late twenties) have been married for two years, and find themselves in a process of establishing and adopting shared expectations and traditions for meals. 98 Quickly flipping through the cookbook while eyeing the traffic light, Kathy thinks about the food in her white kitchen cupboards. There's that over ripe tomato in her crisper to use up. The once-a-month bulk shopping at Safeway was just last week, and she went to the small grocery near school for the once a week perishable shopping trip a couple days ago, so the house is fairly well stocked. Both of these stores are expensive but convenient for her. She's always in a hurry, so she tries to be organized and stick to one stop shopping. Usually, she buys familiar brands of foods that she likes, and vegetables that look good. She doesn't really look at the prices because the expense is not as important as saving time. The faster, the better as far as she's concerned! Kathy decides to cook one of her regular standby recipes, chicken paprikash on rice because it is a flavourful dish that can quickly be made from scratch. It is also a good choice because she only has to pick up some sour cream at the corner store just past the next intersection. Once this errand is done, Kathy continues on home, pulls into her carport and notices the house lights are on. Her husband, Dan, is already home from his medical school classes and probably exercising on the stationary bike. She calls out to him as she enters and sure enough, he's biking away in the basement. After setting down her school paperwork in their freshly painted dark blue kitchen, she starts defrosting frozen chicken in the microwave. Then she turns on a Brahms violin concerto to help soothe her nerves, and feeds their black kitten, Sootie. Dan can be heard singing loudly to himself in the other room. Kathy opens the cookbook to the chicken paprikash recipe and starts to gather ingredients from her tidy, well organized white cupboards. She soon discovers that there is no paprika left and decides to use Chile peppers instead. When it comes to trying new foods or improvising with recipes, she's fairly adventurous. She removes the defrosted chicken from the microwave, slices it, and places it into a hot frying pan. A pot of rice is set onto the stove element to boil, and before continuing on with the recipe, the cutting board and knife are cleaned. Because she likes to have all the ingredients ready before she stir fries them, she chops the tomato, onion, garlic, and green peppers, and puts them into individual bowls. Then one after another the ingredients are added to the frying pan. 99 As dinner finishes cooking, she places a lid on the pan, puts the cookbook away, and wipes the counter, stove, and overhead fan. Then she moves to the adjoining dining room and sets the table with placemats, cutlery, and glasses. The candles are already on the table, so she just adds a pepper mill, a water container, and a four litre jug of 2% milk. She returns to the kitchen to pour the sour cream onto the chicken, and calls out to Dan that dinner will be ready in five minutes. Just enough time to clean a few remaining dirty dishes, since she can't relax during dinner if the kitchen is messy. At precisely 6:29pm, Dan appears for dinner. The candles are lit and the lights dimmed. Brahms is still playing in the background and the TV is off. The dining room with its deep wine walls and pine furniture has been transformed into a cosy table for two. Ambiance is very important to Kathy. Still in the kitchen, she plates generous servings for each of them, and they move to the table to pray and begin eating. As Kathy will readily admit, their dinner conversation is really just drivel, about nothing in particular. Nevertheless it is an important time for them to touch bases. Knowing that this calm, restful time is important to Kathy, Dan lingers at the table a bit longer than he would normally be inclined to if he were by himself. After about twenty minutes, Kathy, always conscious of Dan's need to study, tells him that he can go if he wants. Dan makes himself a glass of chocolate milk and they sit together a few minutes longer. Then they both rise to clear the table. Dan plays a few minutes with their pet rat and Sootie the kitten, eats a candy, and then goes off to study. Kathy puts left over food away for her lunch tomorrow at school and the last of the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. She really prefers to clean alone so things get done properly. With the chores completed, she makes herself an espresso, scoops a bowl of ice cream, turns off the kitchen lights, and returns to the table to read the paper. Kathy and Dan, the couple in this meal vignette, are both in their late twenties and married for only two and a half years. When they first married, they shared several understandings about marriage, but like most newlyweds, they soon discovered that they also had some very different ideas about everyday life to contend with, as Kathy related to me, "I would 100 say when we got married, the first year was a big adjustment period, because we were two very [with emphasis] different people from very different backgrounds". What resulted was an ongoing process of relationship building that can be exemplified in the meanings and food practices associated with their family meals. To begin, I will talk first about the commonalities in their lives. I learned from our interviews that Kathy and Dan share a similar upbringing. Dan describes himself as a third generation Canadian, with relatives who were originally from England, while Kathy has a British/German heritage. They are both also from stable, two parent, evangelical Christian families, and they credit their religion with teaching them to choose peaceful methods of dealing with conflict that discourages family fighting and feuding: Kathy: The underlying principle [of Christianity] is to love one another....and so it does, it does make relationships much more peaceable. I don't think that in Christian families there's often great divisions [holds fists together and quickly pulls them apart]. Dan: We're quick to look for forgiveness. Quick to look to iron out problems. Kathy: To get along. Dan: There are no feuds in our families. Kathy: There are, but they, they get, they get resolved with a sort of, a more selfless approach. Dan: Asking for forgiveness. Kathy: Like to say, 'go ahead, do, you go first' [holds hand out infront of her] or something like that, you know. So I think that it does affect the way we all [the extended family] get along. This approach to resolving differences within social relationships has helped this couple deal with their own very different attitudes and habits associated with food and eating. Another experience that Kathy and Dan have in common, has to do with eating institutional meals: Kathy: [Bible] Camp food is not very good....It was pretty standard camp slash college stuff....Sometimes the food just was greasy [pause] and heavy [pause] and like, I 101 would just like a salad and sometimes there wasn't a lot of fresh stuff and college was basically the same way. Like college, the year of college was very heavy [pause], greasy [pause], deep fried, lots of fries. Yuk....It was a very deep fried year. Dan, in particular, has had extensive experiences with institutional food because as a teenager he ate weekday lunches and dinners in the cafeteria of the private school that he attended: Meals in highschool were also good food [compared to university residence food]. Tend to be greasy of course, um, because that's the kind of thing that, [reaches over to lift the cat off the table and onto the floor] that's the kind of thing that young people like....There was usually two offerings, one less gross than the other, so you would choose it [with emphasis]. He describes university residence food as, "semi-greasy" and: Food was of lower [with emphasis] caliber [than highschool food] but it was still pretty good....Dinner was served and it was usually a, it usually was a very traditional kind of thing. A piece of chicken, some mashed potatoes, some beans [hands indicate separate places for each food] you know, it was all kind of laid out for you. In the summers, Dan worked at a bible camp for upper class children and describes the food as follows: As far as camp food goes, it was excellent. It wasn't as good as my highschool food. It wasn't as good as my university food, but it was, as far as camp [with emphasis] food goes, it was really good. There was always something you could eat. Today, Dan would not be inclined to eat this type of food. Food that is poorly cooked, in the sense that it might, the person might have used too much grease. I don't like eating too greasy food. I'm not big on stuff like fried fish, you know, like in batter and stuff...too much grease basically. Having both experienced institutional style food, Kathy and Dan agree they prefer homemade food: Kathy: I like things to be like, more flavorful....I look for like, really good like, casseroles and just real simple meals that taste good....I like to make things from scratch....I try 102 to have fresh vegetables at every meal....It has to taste good....I don't like bland food, neither does Dan....It has to look good too. Kathy and Dan also both grew up with mothers who looked after the household and fathers who worked outside the house. Dan remarked, "My mom did almost exclusively all the cooking. Well... [shrugs his shoulders] because it's so much better [than his father's cooking]". These gender roles have been reproduced somewhat in Kathy and Dan's household, although duties are more equally shared because they both lead very busy lives outside the house. Kathy works full time and has several extra-curricular school and church activities, while Dan goes to medical school full time, has a tutoring business part time, and also participates in church activities. Time to make meals is limited and duties must be flexibly shared if they are to get done at all. Kathy generally makes most meals, but Dan says: If she [points with a pencil to Kathy who is in the kitchen] has a really tough schedule, I'll take on the dinner making role, usually at least once a week....I don't have any problem [with cooking meals]. I'm not very good at it but...my mother taught me to cook lots of things when I was a kid. He explains further: Bread stands out in my mind, but, you know, pancakes, omelets, like simple stuff, spaghetti sauce, um...taught me how to barbecue things and stuff like that....nothing sophisticated. She [his mother] never taught me how to make soup, but if I wanted to learn, I mean, she taught me how to make cookies. Anything I wanted to learn how to make, she would be really excited about teaching me. Therefore, it appears that sharing the role of preparing meals is not a problem for Kathy and Dan because they are both capable of making meals. They have similar food preferences, and they both like to experiment with different spices and ethnic foods: Kathy: We both are pretty adventurous with foods. Like, I'll try almost anything. I love Japanese food. I love sushi. I love, um, Italian and Greek and Indian and pretty much everything. There isn't a lot of food that I don't like. 103 They also agree that when it comes to buying food, time and energy are their biggest limitations, not money: Kathy: If we were really stuck for money, then I would go shop more economically, but as it is, I have like, if I shop it means it's between four o'clock and seven o'clock on a school night, and like, I'm exhausted. Taste and food preferences are another consideration, since as Dan says, "There are some thing we always buy the best brand for, because we like it [theflavor]" and Kathy clarifies: I only have a certain amount of time for the meals [points to the table and outlines a circle] right....so the way that I shop, and the way we eat has to be kind of organized and has to be fairly quick, concise, ready to go [hand gestures] but I don't like fast food and I don't like processed food so it has to sort of fall within those guidelines. To cope with these priorities, Kathy uses several shopping strategies: I like to shop in bulk because I can't stand [with emphasis] shopping. I hate [with emphasis] grocery shopping. I just hate [with emphasis] it. It takes forever to get things out of the car and into the house and unpack them. Oh I just despise [with emphasis] grocery shopping\...[There is] a tiny little store really close to the school on the way home so I just stop there....It's much more expensive there. I go there purely for convenience sake....I just do not have the time, period. It has to be convenient....I buy what I like [smiles]....Basically, I pick brands that I'm familiar with or that I like so I don't really look at price at all, which I probably should, but I don't. Health is another important issue to both Kathy and Dan: Dan: I think of my health in terms of what I eat and what I do in terms of exercise and what I am doing in terms of stress. In all respects....I'm not a risk taker in terms of my health. The impact of food on health is acknowledged, but it is an overall healthy lifestyle that they believe to be important: Kathy: Healthy eating to me is eating, eating in moderation [right hand fingers are placed on the table], but I don't think it's dieting. I don't think that you need to cut out ice cream 104 and cheese and all the yummy things that I love, but you have to be in moderation.... There has to be a balance [raises and lowers hands as if balancing objects] between exercise and food and I think that a healthy lifestyle [with emphasis] is more important than healthy food, like specifically food. A diet without a healthy lifestyle is not going to give you the health benefits. That's my personal opinion. They both enjoy food and have healthy appetites, so exercise has become a natural part of both their lives. When Dan is asked what he thinks is important about meals, he says: The size [laughs]. It has to be enough to fill me [laughs]....The amount of food is important to me. Um, what I eat is important. Health is important but I probably, I probably say [puts pencil down and raises one hand and lowers the other as if balancing objects], 'OK, I exercise, so I can eat more heavy food'. Like, I don't think in terms of calories in the slightest. I never [crosses hands to emphasize the word never] think of calories. Um, I don't think...unless a food is blatantly fatty food, I don't think, 'Oh, I don't want that'. Kathy agrees with this perspective: Both Dan and I try to exercise regularly like, three or four times a week [lays right hand flat out, palm up on the table] and one of the big reasons I exercise is because I like to eat so much. So it's sort of my license to eat [hand gestures]. If I didn't exercise I think I'd be a lot more conscious about how much I ate but um, as it stands, I eat a lot. I eat a lot. I eat a lot more than my friends. I really like food and um, yeah, so I think about health in terms of the processedness of it and the fat content to a certain extent, but not really. Like, if a recipe is really good and it calls for you know, a cup of which cream [hand gestures], I put that cup of whip cream in there because I just love it. It tastes good. So I don't think too much about health. Exercising regularly, although important, also impacts their meals since: Kathy: We do eat fairly late. We both like to exercise in the late afternoon. So by the time we're eating, it's usually seven o'clock, close to seven o'clock. So by the time we're finished cleaning up it's eight. So it's crazy [shakes her head]. 105 Neither Kathy nor Dan has ever deliberately changed their diet but: Kathy: If either of us developed health problems, like heart problems, or we started gaining a lot of weight, or there was something wrong, then I would change the way I cook. But as it stands, we're both pretty healthy, we both like to eat a lot, so it has to be good quantities of simple, yummy stuff. With so many shared roles, understandings, and behaviors related to food and relationships in general, one would have expected their transition to eating meals as a married couple to be relatively smooth. To the contrary, Kathy and Dan soon discovered that some of the food practices they were accustomed to in their single lives, were incompatible now that they were married. It is obvious that the root of their problem lay in their differing understandings about the meaning of meals. Dan describes his personality as sometimes frantic, "I'm pretty driven but not nearly as much as I used to be. [I'm] more relaxed than that". He explains that in high school his studying schedule was very strict, "I'd be in dinner at six. I'd be out of dinner at six thirty. I gave myself the indulgence of talking [during dinner]". He grew up in a household that encouraged and supported his educational drive, as Kathy explains: Most of his life with his family [motions toward the other room where Dan is] he was studying. His parents very [makes chopping, up and down motion with her hand] much respected his need to study. He's very [makes chopping, up and down motion with her hand] focused when he's studying and he was way more focused apparently in high school and university. So he would come when dinner's on the table, sit down, eat, go [points away from the table]. These childhood habits have influenced the meaning of meals and habits that Dan holds today: To me the point of a meal is to put food in your stomach and get on with what you really want to do. Kathy: We're trying to break him of that opinion. Dan: That's the way, that's the way I always considered a meal. You know, a meal isn't a time to socialize [smiles]. A meal is a time to eat. 106 Compare Dan's viewpoint with Kathy's. Growing up in an extremely close-knit family where meals promoted connection between family members, Kathy places more importance on the social aspect and benefits of meals. To this day, holidays and special occasions are shared with extended family members and with a focal point usually being large amounts of everyone's favorite traditional German foods such as rouladen, red cabbage, sauerkraut, sausages, potato pancakes, and borsht. Kathy has experienced how traditions emphasizing food and meals have helped to bring her childhood family together. Today, as an adult she sees herself as the continuer of these traditions, routines, and values that are still very close to her heart. Like Dan, she also has a very busy schedule but has chosen to approach the time limitations in a different way: I'd say, I'm very high energy. You might say high stressed [makes a tense, stressed face], because I know that I'm always kind of, fairly hyper, um and I'm pretty particular about things. Like, um, my family [points into the air] calls me anal, but I like things to be organized or I'm just, my life is chaos, because I have too many things to juggle [moves hands apart on the table]. So if I'm not organized, life is just too much of a mess. So I'm organized. I'd say I'm pretty quick about, quick with things. Like I'm a fast talker, fast learner, to a certain extent, and um, yeah, organization [hand gestures] is the big key though, I think. Kathy has used her organizational skills to create enough time in her life for family meals: We always eat dinner together. Um. I think that it's really important for families to eat together, so we've started that tradition right from day one....and I think the whole dinner plan is more my anality than his. In fact, I know it's more mine than his.... I don't think Dan really cares... As she suspects, Dan does have a very different viewpoint: She's very [uses a pencil to point to Kathy who is in the kitchen], she's very worried about that kind of thing. Like, ah, that things always be the same as they always are. I don't care. I'd sit there [points with pencil to a chair at the table]. I'd sit there [points to another chair at the table]". 107 From Kathy's perspective, however, the unchanging seating arrangement has other significance. She says, "I'm in and out of the kitchen to get stuff, so I always sit in the most convenient spot....so that's the only reason". Kathy enjoys spending time at the table, conversing with family members: I like to talk about stuff that's happened in our lives....That's really our connection for the day. Like, that's the time when we sit down and connect. Yeah. That's really the only time when we sit down and connect during the week [taps fingers on the table]....so it's really important. I try to keep it sacred [taps a closedfist on the table]. She really needs and appreciates the calmness of meals. I just need that, that half an hour [puts finger tips of one hand onto the table top] of just quiet [in a softer voice]. Like, just still, peacefulness, control, and just you know, just slow down for half an hour because the rest of our lives are just way too busy [rubs her forehead]. Just nuts! Dan confirms this but adds: They [meals] are a calm [with emphasis] period in the day [handgesture throughout]. They're a, they're a respite, more for Kathy than for me. I don't really think of a meal as a, as a big rest time. She really does. She likes to think of it as this sacrosanct time of commune between man and wife. That's what she perceives dinner. I perceive it as a sort of, like, something to fill my stomach. If left on his own, Kathy says, "Dan will have a bagel for dinner, or a bowl of cereal". To Kathy, all dinners must consist of a meat, a starch, and vegetables, even if the person is eating alone. One should always eat "good quality food, and [food that is] warm, and filling", or what she calls proper meals. Therefore, it seems that Dan places less importance on meals and sees them as an opportunity to eat quicker thereby creating more time to do other more interesting activities. Kathy does the opposite by trying to be more organized at other times of the day so that proper meals have a regular place to their busy lives. You are probably wondering how, given these radically different conceptions of meals, this couple ever manages to eat together comfortably. 108 What happens is that Kathy and Dan take time out from their busy schedules to always pray before dinner and eat together. Dan compromises by spending a little more time at the table than he would like. He admits that he is more relaxed now than in his younger years, and says, "I can put aside [studying] much better than I used to be able to because I've realized that if you don't put it aside, you don't enjoy anything". Kathy, for her part, accepts that Dan has limited time to spend at meals: So I'm trying to break him of this habit [eating and leaving the table quickly]. He's doing like, he does really well. He gives me about half an hour every day, and um, I like to have a happy little ambiance [smiles] so I usually have, I like to have the meal totally prepared and partially cleaned up. Like, I don't like to have a big mess on the counters or I can't really relax during dinner. Like, dinner's [hand gestures] like the first time of the day when I can really relax. So um, I turn out the lights in the kitchen [makes turning motions with hands]. Light the candles. He hates candles but that's just too bad, and then we sit down and eat. Eat and talk. Like he's a very fast eater, but he usually lingers for a little while...for me, and we talk and that's that. When asked if the television is ever on during meals, Dan responds: No. Never, never, never [shakes his head for emphasis]. That would be a big, big faux pas. There has to be, meal time here...the lights are low. The candles have [with emphasis] to be lit. This is not my rules OK?... Music might be on [points toward the stereo system in the living room], always classical music, but it's definitely, there's a definite, there's a specific mood associated with meals. Dan knows that meals are important to Kathy so he asks about her day: I always deliberately ask Kathy about her day because I don't really want to talk about mine [moves his hand to his chest], but she wants to talk about hers, about what happened in her day [handgestures]. What she liked. What she didn't like....I don't really like talking about my day because [shrugs his shoulders] there's nothing exciting to talk about, unless something bad happened, or something significant happened [hand gestures] I probably won't talk about it. 109 When they finish eating, Dan clears the table, and Kathy cleans up. She actually prefers to cook and clean alone: Usually I do all the cooking and all the cleaning, which is actually fine with me....His father doesn't help in the kitchen and my father doesn't help in the kitchen. So, [smiles and shakes her head] no. But you know in some ways I prefer to work alone. I prefer to cook alone and I prefer to make sure the kitchen's really cleaned up well. So, yeah, I'd just rather do it on my own. Kathy always finishes off every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an espresso and Dan has a chocolate treat. Thus, Kathy and Dan have acknowledged each others' understandings about meals, and willingly compromised and adopted food practices that meet each other's present needs. Such a good natured approach to differences is promising, for meals will undoubted change as new circumstances arise: Kathy: I think we've both given a bit, but he's probably given in more to what I want, than I've given in to what he wants. Because I don't think he, I don't think he really wants to be a hermit and a recluse and eat his dinner at his desk, but he would do this unless I say, 'let's do this instead' and then he's perfectly happy to do that. Is that right Dan? [calls to other room] Dan: I don't know. What did you say? [calls back] Kathy: OK, forget it. Dan: I want to be a hermit and a recluse! [calls back loudly] Kathy: You do? Dan: Yup! Kathy: [laughs] That's the [points to the other room], that's the, that's what he would devolve [with emphasis] to if he were left alone! He would! 110 Family Traits14 Figure 6. An extended family meal. The welcoming aroma of roasting beef and the familiar sounds of kitchen clatter and chatter greet friends and family arriving at Harry and Heather's home for Sunday lunch. Church services have just finished and on this particular afternoon, everyone will be present except Dan who is studying and Greg who is working. In their places, two friends from the congregation plan to join the family. The dining room table is always full for these occasions. 1 4 The extended family meal was added as a research procedure part way through the investigation after Kathy and Dan initially suggested the idea. It was apparent that weekly extended family meals were the norm so an amendment to the ethical review was approved and the rest of the family consented to the change. I l l Heather, the host of many such gatherings over the years, has confidently prepared this lunch for ten with minimal effort. During the week she thought about the food for a few days. Then she wrote out her menu and bought the necessary ingredients all at once on her regular Friday grocery shopping trip. This Sunday's lunch includes a roast beef with two vegetable dishes, potatoes, salad, buns, and dessert, and in order for it to be ready shortly after church, Heather was busy peeling carrots and potatoes, washing asparagus, and putting together a new eggplant casserole at 7:45 this morning. Actually, getting up a bit early to do this is not a problem for Heather, and she likes to experiment with new recipes for family meals. It adds variety, plus the effort always seems more worthwhile when she can cook for a large group of people. So at 9:30, with the roast in the oven and the timer set, Heather and Harry left for church. Upon their return a few hours later, Heather just picked up where she left off. The roast came out of the oven and was replaced by the eggplant casserole, and in no time the vegetables were boiling, and the cheese buns warming. Everything was under control. While Heather was busy preparing lunch, friends and family arrive at the house, naturally gravitating towards the kitchen and adjoining family room. The men mill about socializing and minding the children, while the women help with the final touches for the meal. The cooking area is physically quite small, so Heather, who is overseeing the whole process, likes to have the female family members help with the meal. This is easier because she doesn't have to spend time explaining where things are and what to do. Today for example, Christine promptly volunteers to make the gravy, Alice slices a fresh pineapple for dessert, and Kathy assembles the salad. With the helpers all busy, Heather is free to slice the roast with her the electric knife temporarily adding to the din of conversations and classical background music. The kitchen is definitely not a quiet place at lunch time. By now the food is almost ready, so Heather directs everyone to their usual places around the large oblong dining room table. Since Alice, Don, and the two guests will not be getting up and down to serve food, they sit on the far side of the table with their backs against the wall. The two toddlers, Mitchell in his booster chair and Connor in his high chair, are alternately placed between Christine, Harry, and Kathy, so that each child will have adult supervision. Emily, only a 112 few weeks old, is fast asleep in her car chair on the floor behind Harry, who sits at the head of the table, and Heather, always the last to be seated, sits right next to the kitchen door so that she can easily serve and refill the dishes. Getting everyone seated takes more than a few minutes, but eventually they all find their way to the table and quietly pray together. Once the praying is finished, the table erupts into a flurry of activity as plates are filled and conversations resumed. Kathy helps her mother serve the hot food while Christine and Harry tend to the children. The guests pass serving bowls around the table and pour glasses of juice and water. As the eggplant casserole arrives, the table conversation turns toward whether it is safe to eat or not. Heather reassures everyone that it is very good, so small, tentative servings are taken. Don, however, doesn't seem too convinced and opts to skip the dish despite Kathy's coaxing. Heather continues move back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen, refilling and serving bowls of food. Fortunately, when she finally does sit down to the table, she finds a plate of food already prepared just for her. The lunch continues on for another hour and a half, during which an unhappy, fussing Connor leaves to have a nap. Second helpings are taken, the table is cleared, and a dessert of pineapple and ice cream is served with two types of tea and coffee. Mitchell, only three years old, tries his best to convince his mother and grandmother to give him five scoops of ice cream for dessert, but finally settles for two. During this meal, multiple conversations take place at once between various people around the table, but every once in a while the whole table turns to one topic. For example, the religious merits of Ally McBeal (a popular television show) are discussed as a group, as are current events at their church, the health benefits of green tea, and the disadvantages of coffee. As the lunch winds down, Mitchell joins Connor for an afternoon nap while Christine feeds Emily. Everyone else clears the table, but when it comes to actually cleaning the dishes, Heather politely discourages them from assisting her. As Harry says, "people volunteer to help and she won't take it". True, but within a few short minutes, Heather has quickly loaded the dishwasher and put most of the other dishes away. With this Sunday's lunch over and cleaned up, 113 everyone says their good-byes and slowly trickle out of the house. Quiet and calmness prevail once again. As I viewed the video tape of this extended family meal and compared it to their individual household meals, it occurred to me that some facets of meals were repeated. One obvious pattern is that, everyone in this close extended family regularly and willingly shares meals. Eating together is convenient because everyone lives within close driving distance from one another. They are also all active participants in the same church and meals are often linked to church activities. For example, every Wednesday both daughters, their spouses, and the children have dinner at Heather and Harry's house before everyone, except Greg and the children, goes to choir practice. Similarly, every Sunday the extended family, including Alice and Don, usually has lunch together after church services. Sometimes if schedules permit, the family will meet for other meals during the week, and in addition to these meals, there are also annual celebrations during the year with Harry's German side of the family, as well as numerous church social gatherings that include food. Thus, there are many opportunities for members of this extended family to meet over meals. The large holiday and birthday celebrations that include Harry's German relatives as well as the immediate extended family are festive events and as Kathy says, "It's always tons of food and it's always a big deal. Like, it's always proper meat and potatoes and stuff...food is definitely a focus". There are in fact several favorite foods some of which are described by Harry, "They're called rouladen in German—meat rolls....and then red cabbage....a very good vegetable type of side dish. Our whole family just loves that stuff. You add meat, potatoes, and salad to that." The second generation of the extended family consisting of Heather, Harry, and Harry's siblings have taken on the role of hosting these occasions, which have grown considerably in size as many of the younger third generation family members married and had their own children. Despite the ever increasing family size, each celebratory meal is prepared entirely by the hosting second generation household who often prepare the extended family's favorite German foods in 114 great quantities. It is interesting to note that it is only the second generation households who host these meals, for as Kathy explains, "That's the older generation's job. One day I'll learn". It is also interesting that the pattern of the younger generations regularly sharing celebratory and everyday meals prepared by the older generations is repeated. As Harry says, "For the first couple years while she [Heather] was working, we were over at my mom and dad's place a couple times a week at least". Today, Harry and Heather have assumed their parent's role, since their children now regularly share meals prepared at their house. In addition to the younger generations, meals at Heather and Harry's home also often include Alice, Don, and both Harry's parents. Multigenerational meals are the norm in this family. Therefore the act of regularly sharing meals is an important activity for all generations in this extended family. They believe that meals provide an opportunity to keep in touch with the other family members: Kathy: Meals [in her childhood] were always very organized, very together times and it would never be sort of a fend for yourself thing. Like, mom always [hand gestures] had dinner as that connection time [brings hands together as if holding an imaginary object], and we just continued that [when she and Dan married], and Dan's family's the same way. He was just more of a quick, like, eat it fast 'cause I've got to go study, kind of a thing, but they were always together [brings hands together as if holding an imaginary object] which was really good. They still eat together with whoever happens to be home. So both of our families are the same in that way. So I think eating together and connecting at dinner time is nothing new to both of us. The family places great importance on the meal time as a connection time. They always begin each meal at the table with a family prayer and anything that might steal attention away from familial interactions during the meal is discouraged. For instance, background music is often on during meals but as Harry says, "We definitely don't like to eat in front of the TV. That's just too distracting". The daily newspaper is also only read either before or after everyone has eaten, often while sipping on a cup of coffee. Limiting such distractions allows the family members to concentrate on learning what is going on in each other's lives. 115 The women have also adopted several time saving strategies for shopping, cooking, and cleaning that help to free up extra time for eating. Heather, Kathy, and Christine, who all hate grocery shopping, tend to shop at a convenient store near their house or workplace so that everything can be purchased quickly at once. All the women in this study also buy in bulk, keeping their cupboards and freezers extremely well stocked so that they can decide the menu right before dinner and still have a choice of what to cook. Many times they prepare extra food on purpose so the leftovers can be frozen for a future meal or taken to work for lunch. Despite what some might guess, the women actually prefer to clean up themselves after dinner because they can do it quickly, according to their own cleaning standards. Time, not price, is the major consideration. These time saving strategies allow the family to spend more time together at the dinner table where conversations inevitably turn to the recollection of memorable events in their lives: Heather: You can tell stories about each other. When my sister [who lives in Germany] comes, for example now, and visits us, it's a matter of what we did as children. What life was like. You know, you go back on that so that the family knows backgrounds and idiosyncrasies and what people are like. It's just feelings that you have. It's just a really relaxed time to talk to each other. In this family, both oral and written stories are told to each other during meals: Kathy: It [sharing meals with Dan in her own household] partially came about from when I was growing up, because we always ate meals together growing up. Always [moves right hand flat across the table twice for emphasis]. The whole family came together and we would talk and connect and discuss our day. We'd often end with devotions. Like, we'd do family devotions right after dinner.... We'd read the bible together and pray just for, you know, five or ten minutes right after the meal. That was when I was growing up and meals were very sacred. Extended family meals are similar to household meals in other ways too. For example each person has a special place at the table depending on their role. The female host generally sits nearest the kitchen so that she can conveniently serve the food. When children are present, the 116 other adults are spread around the table to assist the children as required. Thus adult extended family members have repeated opportunities to establish ongoing relationships with the younger children. Guests and older family members are expected to just relax and enjoy the meal so they usually sit in seats that are a bit harder to get up and down from. Table seating is thus influenced by a person's role in the family. Another obvious pattern that I observed in the meal video tapes, was the division of labor by gender. Women did the majority of meal related duties whether they worked outside the home or not. In fact, the women consider the interior of the home is to be their personal domain where they prefer to cook and clean by themselves. Thus, the men are left to play supporting roles during meal preparation, usually only helping when their wives were especially busy. Except for Don, who is retired, none of the men regularly shopped for groceries but they often cooked breakfast or barbecued during the summer. The women allowed the men to clear the table but usually insisted upon washing dishes themselves. These distinct gender roles are repeated in each generation of this family. Don regularly prepares cold salads, but Alice takes charge of shopping and hot meals. Heather and Harry have similar roles as Christine commented, "He's [Harry] this typical German man that comes home from work and says 'Where's dinner?' and they eat and after dinner's over, he reads the paper and mom cleans up. These meal related roles have continued in the younger generation too, as Kathy explains, "I'm fine with that [preparing meals]. My mother was the same way. My mother was the one who made the dinner". Thus as girls, most of these women grew up observing their mothers cooking dinner, but none had regular direct experience with meal preparation until they were married and living in their own household. When faced with learning how to cook, they often turned to older female family members who willingly passed on their experiences and understandings: Heather: She's [Harry's mother] very good at making things taste good. She had a lot of knowledge that she would just kind of do [with emphasis]. She never used a recipe. Things were different all the time, but she just did things very well and always ready to impart knowledge to us, whatever you asked her. No problem with that...I did learn a 117 lot. Now that Heather has many years of experience at preparing meals, she has tried to help her own children learn to cook: I haven't said very much to them. I gave them recipe books when they were married with my favorite recipes marked. I gave them the church cookbook with, you know, what I did and kind of things like that. They've been pretty good at experimenting and cooking. They do much better than I did at their age, that's for sure....But I probably have passed on to them similar ideas of what I cook. That they need to have a fresh salad all the time and they usually cook with a meat, and a staple, and a vegetable. This sort of a thing. They're not into desserts, never was I either. So I probably have, I think they're greatly influenced by what they see their mother do [smiles]. For good or bad, they can't get away with it. From the younger generation's point of view, they want to learn how to cook their favorite childhood meals: We got a lot of that {German cooking] from my grandparents, my dad's parents and that is still...a like big part of my life, like, was going to omie's, which is what we call grandma in German, and having all these special German foods and things like that. That was just wonderful. They're terrible for you, now when you think about them. Like, they're laden with fat and salt and stuff like that, but that's probably why they taste so good, right.... So we spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. We'd go over there at least once or twice a week....I have not learned as much from omie as I've wanted to. I keep saying, you know, I'm going to make a day where I'm going to come over and learn how to cook all these things. She's getting older and she's having heart problems and stuff so one day she's going to die, right and then it's going to be very disappointing, not only to not have her around, but also these foods and stuff that mom can't cook and I wanted to learn to cook. So eventually, hopefully one day I will go over there and learn how to cook some of these really important things that are important to me anyway. 118 An interesting twist to these roles is that during extended family meals the division of meal related duties by gender remains intact, except they become group roles. The women cook as a group, while the men lend support by tending to the children, conversing with the guests, and performing non-cooking tasks such as moving chairs or setting the table. Therefore, it would appear that as individuals and as a group, this extended family views meals as an important time for connection in which family roles, beliefs, and values are learned, accepted, and reinforced. T r a i l s o f K n o w i n g , I d e n t i t y , a n d A c t i o n The goal of this chapter was to use the collected data to provide a thick description and an initial analysis of meals experienced by this extended family. Readers were first introduced to Alice and Don, an elderly couple who have resided around the world in many different countries. Years of living within foreign cultures and without many of our taken for granted present day foods and technological advances, have combined with their current circumstances resulting in some very practical food and eating routines. Fancy gourmet cuisines are of little interest to Alice and Don. Instead they focus on keeping their food purchases within their household budget and their menu relatively simple. Companionship is the focal point of their meals. Heather and her husband Harry also enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, contrary to the malnutrition Harry experienced as a child. Today, their own children are now adults so they have the time and income to travel widely, experiment with foreign foods, and pursue their interests. They are very active in their church and value meals for the opportunity to eat a variety of foods and stay in touch with friends and family. Christine and Greg are in the midst of raising a young family. Life in general appears hectic so saving time and energy is a major focus of food related practices such as shopping and preparation. This couple doesn't really spend much time eating because they spend most of the dinner meal attending to their children. Despite the lack of time and physical space around their tiny table, meals are valued as essential family time. Kathy and Dan are relatively newly married. They both have full schedules that require time saving techniques for shopping and meal preparation, and they share the opinion that food 119 should be healthful and tasty. It is obvious however, that Kathy has adopted her family's tradition of socializing over meals, while Dan must make a conscious effort not to rush through his dinner to return to his medical studies. This couple has found that ongoing negotiation and compromise has brought their expectations of meals closer together and made the time spent at the dinner table more relaxing and enjoyable. When I examined each household separately and then in relationship to each other, there were clearly similarities among household understandings (it is acceptable to conserve time shopping and preparing food, but not during meals), values (meals are important for strengthening familial relationships), and food practices (Sunday lunches are always shared with extended family and friends). As the extended family meal unfolded, traditional gender roles and expectations surrounding the meal were clear to see (women deal with the food, men perform the non-food duties). This general analysis set the stage for the following chapter, which continues on with an enactivist analysis and interpretation of the knowing, identity, and actions that shape this family's meals at home. 120 Eating Places: A Physical and Metaphorical Landscape Sense ofplace complex? We tend not to think so, Mainly because our attachments to places, like the ease with which we usually sustain them, are unthinkingly taken for granted. As normally experienced, sense of place quite simply is, as natural and straightforward as our fondness for certain colors and culinary tastes, and the thought that it might be complicated, or even very interesting, seldom crosses our minds... Basso, 1996, p. xiii The preceding meal descriptions explore a wide range of social and environmental conditions associated with this family's meals. As I described previously in the methodology section of this thesis, an enactivist mindset as well as an ethnographic data collection approach were adopted. The participants were interviewed individually and in groups. Family meals were video taped and the general state of the neighborhoods and their geographical locations were observed. The detailed attention to context did not stop outside each home for once inside, I carefully noted physical features such as the floor plan, kitchen appliances, and food storage areas. Not surprisingly, by the end of the data collection period, there were vast amounts of information. As I poured over the seemingly endless accumulation of data, patterns among individuals, households, and the extended family began to slowly emerge. I wondered to myself—what was the significance of these patterns? How did the knowing, identity, and actions of participants shape food practices during meals at home? What did it mean for the field of nutrition education? I stewed over these questions for a long time until finally, readings from the fields of ethnography, deep ecology, and enactivism struck a chord. These areas of academic literature were discussing places in ways I had not considered before. Since my own study data contained many references to different places, these readings prompted me to further investigate the role of places in the research study. I began with Basso's (1996) ethnographic study of Apache culture in which he emphasizes that: [p]laceless events are an impossibility; everything that happens must happen 121 somewhere. The location of an event is an integral aspect of the event itself, and identifying the event's location is therefore essential to properly depicting—and effectively picturing—the event's occurrence (p. 86). Places, although often overlooked, are especially important since: [w]hat we call the landscape is generally considered to be something 'out there'. But, while some aspects of the landscape are clearly external to both our bodies and our minds, what each of us actually experiences is selected, shaped, and colored by what we know (Greenbie as cited in Basso, 1996, p. 71). Since places of learning are often only secondary considerations in nutrition education, I found these ideas about their importance quite intriguing. I asked myself how places might relate to enactivism and I found that if the idea of "what we know" (Greenbie as cited in Basso, 1996, p. 71) is considered from an enactivist perspective, then "knowing is doing is being" (Davis, 1995, p. 7, adapted from Maturana & Varela, 1998). Therefore, an ongoing history of interaction with a specific place leads to the enaction of conscious and unconscious behaviors that demonstrate effective actions for a particular context—a reflection of one's knowing and being. In addition, there is a systems aspect to consider, for "human persons, too, are shaped by the places they inhabit, both individually and collectively" (Abram, 1996, p. 267). Thus from an enactivist standpoint, places participate in shaping and selecting the relationships, as well as the behaviors observed there, and the opposite occurs too-behaviors and relationships affect places. As an example of the process of codetermination between people and places, we have only to recall the new high tech businesses that construct employee friendly buildings (with such previously unheard of offerings as gyms and napping rooms) in the hopes of luring the brightest young employees and nurturing a more productive, people friendly work environment and culture. Over time, the unique physical structure of the buildings help to create a certain atmosphere of employee relationships and culture, while the employees' culture results in physical changes to the building (new construction, green spaces, personal items, etc) which contribute again to the physical characteristics and atmosphere of the workplace. A circular relationship is formed. For these reasons it appears that places cannot be considered as only 122 external physical or social factors. Over time, places and people coemerge. Each shapes and influences the other, and in doing so, creates a unique landscape of places and living beings (Davis, 1996). Next I examined how places, knowing, identity, and actions interacted during the family meals observed in this study. The initial data analysis indicated that "place" was a recurring theme, but after another closer examination, it suddenly dawned on me that what was emerging from the data was the participants' sensing of their eating places. The notion of sensing places is described by Basso (1996) as: a form of cultural activity... [that once] removed from the spectral realm of scholastic reifications—needs, attributes, mechanisms, and the like—sense of place can be seen as a commonplace occurrence, as an ordinary way of engaging one's surroundings and finding them significant.. .[S]ense of place issues in a stream of symbolically drawn particulars—the visible particulars of local topographies, the personal particulars of biographical associations and the notional particulars of socially given systems of thought (p. 143, 144). With this in mind, yet another review of the data helped me form an understanding of the family's sensing of their eating places, which in turn revealed how their taken for granted knowing, identity, and actions were related to their food practices. Now, let me guide you to the various places I discovered around the family's dinner table. Geographical Places And Transgenerational Communication The first pattern related to place that I observed had to do with geographical locations. As I visited each of the households in this extended family, I was immediately struck by the geographic proximity of their homes. I found the physical closeness of the houses convenient while I collected data, but I also noticed that it defied a popular assumption regarding the inevitable demise of the close extended family due to "the contemporary tendency to move always elsewhere for a better job or more affluent lifestyle" (Abram, 1996, p. 271). Later, when I 123 reviewed the data I found that the family's contrasting viewpoint to this common opinion was aptly summed up by Harry when he commented that the family had: developed a lot of kinships [due to their second world war experiences], in the sense that we appreciated one another and how we helped each other through tough times. And so, most of our family's really had no desire to move away from each other. We like each other, support each other. Living so close together, only a few minutes drive apart, means that there are many opportunities during the week for family members to share meals, develop social relationships, and remain connected. Thus as expected, their meals are rich in cultural behavior (Maturana & Varela, 1998) and transgenerational communication (Bowers, 1997), two terms that refer to an ongoing process of structural coupling15 during which certain behaviors are passed on and renewed over generations. Such behavioral patterns are often learned at a tacit, contextual level, and considered by the participants to be just normal, everyday conduct (Bowers, 1997). To an observer, however, these behaviors are visible indicators of effective action within a given context, and represent shared understandings and identities. One example of the meal as a place for transgenerational communication can be seen in how food nurtures a sense of this family's history and identity in the younger generations. German food, in particular, has special meaning because it connects the family to past events, both good and bad. Harry's dislike of milk-soup, pasta, and rice is a daily reminder to the family of his post-war malnutrition and dire circumstances. Likewise, his generation's struggle to overcome starvation and poverty through hard work and familial support is celebrated at special extended family occasions by serving overly abundant quantities of everyone's favorite German foods like rouladen, potato pancakes, and red cabbage. Specific foods therefore conjure up particular memories, emotions, and values for the members of this family. From an enactivist ^ Structural coupling (also called mutual specification) is the developmental phenomena underlying the process of cognition. Structural coupling occurs when a living system or autopoietic unity opts to interact with its environment. The environment acts only as a trigger, and does not specify or direct structural changes. The living system chooses which environmental triggers to react to and how to react to them. Sometimes the structural changes that occur alter the future behavior of that system. Therefore, structural coupling involves adaption, learning, and development over time (Capra, 1996). 124 perspective, it appears that because the extended family is located within the same small geographic area they are easily able to share many meals at the same physical table. This context allows for many ongoing opportunities for interaction (structural coupling), which promote shared understandings related to their familial history and the meanings of specific foods. Another example of transgenerational communication involves beliefs about who eats together. Thirty years ago, Harry and Heather were newlyweds. They lived in their own home but it was commonplace to visit Harry's parent's home several times a week for dinner. Today Christine and Kathy are both married with their own homes, and like their parents, they return with their families at least twice a week for meals in their childhood home. Their grandparents also now regularly share meals at Harry and Heather's home. Presently Christine and Kathy rarely host extended family meals, but they understand that they will inherit these duties sometime in the future. For now, their general consensus is that providing meals for other family members is a job for the older generation. In this example, close relationships with all generations of family members are assumed to be normal behavior. Regular opportunities to connect with everyone around the dinner table (ongoing instances of structural coupling) encourages the formation and continuation of tacitly shared ideas regarding acceptable or unacceptable familial behaviors and beliefs—the family identity. Such inter-generational understandings are frequently reinforced through continuous contact, which occurs because the extended family members live in close geographical proximity to each other. These behaviors are adopted because they fit with the current context of the family. Please note that I am not implying by these two examples that all behaviors and ideas are merely transmitted unchanged from generation to generation. Only those actions that fit with the next generation's context will be continued (evolution as survival of the best fit). Kathy, for example, had never gone grocery shopping until she was married. She told me that she initially asked for paper grocery bags simply because she knew that her mother used them. After a few months, however, she realized that plastic bags were much more convenient for her to carry into her new house (which has an external car port as opposed to her mother's garage which is part of the house building), so she switched to plastic. This seemingly insignificant practice shows how 125 years of observing her mother using paper bags (a history of structural coupling within the same context) initially led Kathy to follow the same behavioral pattern. Personal experiences of carrying groceries into her own house revealed that plastic bags were more convenient, or in other words, a more effective behavior to adopt in this new context. Again, the physical context can be seen to affect knowing and actions. The effect of changing contexts and the resulting lack of fit with a different generation's knowing, identity, and actions is also evident in the research data related to shopping strategy. If you start with the oldest generation (Alice and Don), they plan their food intake around grocery store sales irregardless of the planning time required, the number of stores involved, or to a certain extent, their food preferences. The next generation (Heather and Harry) purchase a mix of sale and regularly priced foods that they enjoy at a handful of conveniently located stores. Finally, the youngest adult generation (Christine, Greg, Kathy and Dan) place considerably less emphasis on food cost, generally selecting groceries based taste preferences, storage and cooking convenience, and minimizing shopping time. It appears that while an awareness of thrifty purchasing is evident in each generation, the priorities and circumstances have changed over the generations. As the experiences, understandings, and context of each generation differ, so do their actions. The effects of differing physical environments on knowing, identity, and action are most evident if you consider the women in this family. Alice stands out as the obvious exception because although she values the companionship of family meals, she does not enjoy cooking and experimenting with food to nearly the same extent as the other women. From an enactivist perspective, I observed from the data that her upper class Chilean upbringing with servants and years of living within other cultures and countries have prompted her to follow a different path of knowing, identity, and action than her younger family members who have spent the majority of their lives in Vancouver, Canada. Alice's life has been uniquely flavored by an assortment of environmental triggers, such as varying cultures and political climates, access to cooking equipment, and a varying availability of food. In comparison to the other female family members, Alice has lived in a greater diversity of contexts, which in turn has led to different food 126 understandings, preferences, and practices. Her food practices fit with her own unique history and context. Knowing, identity, and actions from an enactivist perspective do not flow from the older to the younger generations, because knowledge is not considered as a separate entity. While it is true that younger generations learn by interacting with their older family members (for example, children learn accepted dinner manners from their elders), the older family members also learn a great deal from their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. When we consider how Alice and Don have learned many computer skills from their much younger family members, it reminds us that learning occurs at all ages and is a reciprocal activity among all interacting generations resulting from opportunities for structural coupling in a specific context. Thus, a collective understanding is evident because opportunities for structural coupling and familial learning exist. Consider, for example, the striking familial unity regarding spiritual belief as explained to me by Christine: I guess just with everybody going to the same church and doing that, the family has become very close. You know, because we see each other a lot. We do a lot of things together. We have the same sort of background and values. All that sort of stuff. Shared religious beliefs and values have encouraged the family to volunteer their money, time, and expertise to their own community and other places around the world. It is not surprising then, that meals often occur before, during, or after church activities that the whole extended family participates in. They all pray at the start of each meal. Then the dinner table becomes a place for discussing religious issues related to common acquaintances, current events, or even movie and television programs. Religion is intimately woven into the knowing, identity, and actions of everyday life and their activities reflect the collective religious beliefs and values that form one aspect of the family identity. Other common understandings among family members linked to ongoing structural coupling with each other and their geographical context were found in the data. For example, there is the idea that they are a healthy family. The collective opinion is that they do not possess a 127 genetic predisposition to any disease and they are unlikely to get seriously ill because they eat a balanced diet and have an active lifestyle. Alice told me, "You know we are eating healthy food, because we are healthy." It is also interesting to note that several family members related how places have contributed to the healthfulness of their behaviors. Harry talked about how his home was conveniently equi-distant to his work site and the tennis courts—the two main places that he traveled to. Kathy told me how she gained weight going to school in Edmonton, because she was used to outdoor activities all year round in Vancouver. She didn't know how to exercise in Edmonton's cold climate and her residential diet was quite fatty. Alice was happy to report that their home was within walking distance of several grocery shopping areas. Additionally, she regularly swam in the complex's indoor pool and walked in the large park across the street. Thus, physical places have affected eating and activity practices by family members. Again, this is not to say that the extended family is homogeneous in every aspect of their knowing, identity, and actions, but I observed that the longer the history of interactions within a common geographical place, the more alike the behavior and understandings of individuals. Those who married into the family, namely Greg and Dan, have compatible but differing attitudes and behaviors regarding family meals. They have less common history than the other family members whose actions have coevolved over several years. It appears that by residing in the same geographical place, this extended family has enjoyed a long history of regularly shared meals (many opportunities for structural coupling). The time spent together around the dinner table has promoted transgenerational communication and strengthening of the family's collective identity as a close, religious, interdependent, and multi-generational unit. Specific places have affected their understandings and actions related to health and healthy activity. There are indications that certain aspects of their collective identity, such as their religious beliefs and socioeconomic status, have affected both local and far away places around the world. Where understandings are inconsistent between individuals or generations, there is evidence that the changes in the context and/or geographical place have produced differing experiences of structural coupling. Places affect the family's knowing, identity, and actions, and the reverse is also true. 128 Interior Spaces, Identity, And Food Practices More food practice patterns were found within the interior physical spaces of the homes. Music was commonly played during meals, water and milk jugs were brought to the dinner table, and the same cookbooks could be found in various households. A daily paper was usually somewhere near the table and if you looked closely, it was clear that the storage arrangement, type of food, and appliances were similar. Three of the households even had white kitchen cupboards. Was this merely a coincidence? Not likely, since from an enactivist perspective, people and places coemerge over time. "The topography of a place selects and shapes the actions and relationships that occur there; inversely, in taking place, these activities and relationships shape their landscape" (Davis, 1996, p. 132). Because the people in this study share a long history of shared experiences in the same shared places, they have adopted similar effective household food practices. This explains some of the similarities between households. Again, there are differences between household food practices. Such differences exist because the context of each household is slightly different, in part because the homes themselves have different physical characteristics that act as triggers prompting individuals to behave differently. Christine's small kitchen, for instance, has very limited counter space so she continually clears and cleans dirty dishes throughout meal preparation. The lack of cupboard space upstairs requires her to keep dry goods downstairs. In contrast, Kathy's kitchen is much more spacious so dry foods can be kept there. Obviously, the physical layout and contents of an area affect people's choices for action. Differing identities are also reflected in the home. Kathy and Dan are two very energetic, outgoing, young people with no children, and their personalities are reflected in the bold, cheerful, brightly colored rooms throughout their home. Kathy's desire for tranquillity during meals explains the soothing ambiance created by the inclusion of classical background music and candle light during dinner. Christine and Greg's household, on the other hand, is very different. Their home illustrates how current food practices have coemerged with various aspects of their identities as 129 affected by work, family, religion, and available time. They both have very easy going personalities and these days are kept extremely busy parenting three young children. Parenting is the focus right now and with this lifestyle in mind, their small kitchen is done in white and arranged with maximum functionality and practicality in mind. Physical limitations of this eating space definitely act as triggers for the food practices observed here during meals, and in a reciprocal manner, the food practices observed affect the physical layout of the space. Thus, it appears that knowing, identity and food practices are linked to the physical characteristics of eating places. Practices that fit with changing contexts are maintained, and identity can be observed within the physical structure of the household. Familial Places: Roles Within The Family The food preparation and eating habits observed during this research study indicate the role or place of individuals within the family. In all the households, the division of labor during meals is clearly related to gender. The wives have a primary role that involves buying, preparing, and serving the meal, as well as cleaning up afterwards. Meanwhile, the husbands in each home provided a secondary (but still important) role, doing things like setting the table, minding the children, or entertaining the guests. Extended family meals display the same gender division, but in a group format, where the women act as a unit to prepare and serve food while the men help with other miscellaneous duties. Perhaps unexpectedly to an outside observer, the roles appear coordinated, comfortable, and acceptable to all. Evidence for this gendered role attachment, is shown by the wive's reluctance (and sometimes downright refusal) to accept offers of help from their husbands. The women have very definite ideas as to the preferred methods for performing tasks, especially washing up, and they tend to view the kitchen as their own personal space. On occasion a husband will barbecue or make breakfast, but usually the wife prepares the main meal of the day, even if time is scarce. To be able to fit meals into their hectic schedules, the women have devised a number of time saving behaviors such as meal planning on the drive home from work, keeping an extremely well stocked pantry, buying in bulk from conveniently located groceries, and 130 routinely utilizing frozen and leftover foods. Despite the challenges and perhaps reinforced by the successes, the duties surrounding meal provision form a coveted facet of the female identity and role within the family unit. Again, these gendered roles when viewed from an enactivist perspective present another example of transgenerational communication whereby the division of duties learned throughout childhood is played out in a revised form during adulthood because they are successful within the familial context. Generally speaking, the women in this family have had more ongoing experiences doing food preparation. These actions have become a larger part of their identity than perhaps some of the male family members who have had little, or at least less exposure to such responsibilities. The women's attitude is more of a functional, taken for granted assumption that they will prepare the daily dinner, while the men regard meal preparation as more of a novel, experimental, or fun activity. The adopted roles fit comfortably into the contextual knowing and identity of the family and may be why the roles appear to be unquestioned. These differing roles and attitudes are also reflected in the seating arrangements around the table. Women purposefully sit at the table in a place with convenient access to the kitchen. Children are seated where a parent can easily help them. This seating arrangement also occurs during extended family meals, where male and female extended family members play a supervisory roles for the children. If guests join the family, these people are seated in places that are more difficult to get in and out of, since they are not expected to serve food or assist children. These seating arrangements are maintained over many years and remain even after the children have grown up, no longer requiring assistance. Thus, in households and extended family meals, an individual's identity and role within the family is established by many instances of interaction (structural coupling) over many years. This is evidenced by family members' places around the table corresponding to their perceived roles during a meal and the gendered division of duties for meals. Such food practices within the family unit tend to remain as long as they offer a comfortable fit with the surrounding context. 131 Conceptions Of Time And Place The participants' sense of temporality is aspect of their worldview that appears throughout the data. There is a tacit understanding among the family members that certain meal related duties will be assumed by each gender and for the women, during particular stages of their life. During childhood the girls in the family have limited exposure to food preparation, but after marriage they readily assume these duties and learn to shop and cook. Dinner responsibilities, including preparing household meals and after a few years, extended family meals, increase progressively until mid-life and then decrease as the women become older. Other examples of the perceived relationship between meals and time include Kathy and Dan who classify food preferences and types by age, and Alice and Don who describe their meals chronologically in relationship to the places and circumstances of their lives. It appears that family members assume that food practices coincide with one's stage of life and that time is linear. A second link between time and meals concerns the commodification of time. By this I mean that, like money, present time is often manipulated or negotiated to achieve a valued end. In this case, sharing the dinner meal with the other family members is an anticipated daily event because the time spent together provides companionship, strengthens common beliefs, and promotes close social relationships. Because of this perception, the women go to great lengths to develop time "saving" strategies and schedules for shopping, preparing meals, and cleaning during the day, so that they can "spend" time at dinner. Once dinner arrives, the time actually spent around the table is often negotiated based on family members' work, study, TV, church, bedtime, and other scheduled activities. The women consider themselves successful if they can "make" time during the day to allow for regular meals with the family. A third connection between time and meals has to do with the conversations and storytelling that spring up spontaneously around the table. In general, as we repeatedly hear stories of past places and times, we inevitably imagine how things were and how they might have been different. Since an oral story is by definition, not written down, both the storyteller and the listener can discard irrelevant parts, add in current or practical understandings, and possibility achieve a deeper awareness of present circumstances. As Abram (1996) suggests, an oral story is 132 like a "functional myth....that can be easily remembered, modified when new facts are learned, and retold from generation to generation" (p. 119, 120). Hence, the past and the present meet. In addition to telling stories about the past, research in the literature shows that some cultures link historical stories to physical places. This social process, called place-making (Basso, 1996, p.5), helps people remember, revive, and revise historical events. The Aboriginal peoples of Australia provide one example of place-making when they link oral stories to local places in an effort to collect and preserve their practical knowledge, moral patterns, and customs. While sung stories provide an auditory mnemonic for orienting within the land, the land itself provides a visual mnemonic for recalling the Dreamtime16 stories. Thus, for Aboriginal peoples the Dreamtime stories and the encompassing terrain are reciprocally mnemonic, experientially coupled in a process of mutual invocation. The land and the language....are inseparable (Abram, 1996, p. 177). Apache culture uses the auditory and visual mnemonics of place-making to connect specific meaningful storied events from the past with local geographical areas. Additionally, places are often named after the story because the Apaches believe that if a person sees or hears the name of a geographical location, then that person will remember the story and its message. That person should then choose to act in the socially sanctioned manner depicted by the story. Basso (1996), who studied Apache culture, commented: [I]f place-making is a way of constructing the past, a venerable means of doing human history, it is also a way of constructing social traditions and, in the process, personal and social identities. We are, in a sense, the place-worlds we imagine (p.6). These native cultures locate and connect their stories to various local geographical places encountered during normal daily living. Similarly, the extended family in this study connect the act of telling stories of the past to a specific place in the home—the dinner table. A number of 1 6The Aboriginal people of Australia believe Dreamtime to be a magical time of the past "wherein the powers of the surrounding world [the ancestors] first took up their current orientation with regard to one another, and hence acquired the evident shapes and forms [of the physical earth] by which we now know them....they shaped that surface [the earth's surface] by their actions, forming plains where they lay down, creeks or waterholes where they urinated, forests where they kicked up dust, and so on" (Abram, 1996, p. 164, 165). 133 different tales are told, but the storytelling location stays the same, as Heather related to me during our interview: It's [the dinner table] a place for them [the family] to vent their problems. Talk about things. We used to read with the kids at times, even at the dinner table too when they were much younger. Discuss what we were going to do, even if it was in the far, far off future.... You can tell stories about each other. When my sister comes, for example, now and visits with us, it's a matter of what we did as children. What life was like. You know you go back on that, so that the family knows backgrounds and idiosyncrasies and what people are like. The dinner table provides a physical place for telling stories. The place-making process utilizes both auditory and visual mnemonics to emphasize the family's common history and values. An examination of the relationship between time and meals reveals a familial perception of time as an independent, linear dimension that can, in some sense, be manipulated. Family members save and spend time. They learn from the past and look forward to the future. They have a desire to keep to a schedule which suggests the valuation of exact time. This sensing of time is common in Western societies. From an enactivist perspective, however, I saw family time around the table in a somewhat different light. I believe that mealtimes provide an important place for regular familial connection through the placemaking process. Physically, the dinner table acts as a visual mnemonic. It is an enduring place of connection between the people and the story. A location where stories of the past are remembered and revised to pertain to the present-recycled if you will. The oral telling of historical experiences acts as an auditory mnemonic explicitly encouraging acceptable social behavior, familial traditions, and cultural values. Generational understandings, past experiences, and future expectations repeat and merge with the present, in the act of living. What they know, who they are, and how they act, is clarified and reinforced by repeated storytelling around the dinner table. Clear cut boundaries between the past, present, or future do not exist. 134 Sensing Places And The Process Of Coemergence17 Over time, the continuous interplay between people's sensing of a place and the actual place results in a dynamic process of coemergence. Each affects the other, so a careful examination of places and behaviors can reveal a participant's sensing of a place, which in turn points to facets of their knowing, identity, and actions. What results is a study of cognition and the process of living. This particular research allowed me to study food practices and eating places, interpret family members' sensing of these places, and gain insight into their knowing, identity, and actions. By adopting ethnographic methods of investigation, I observed that the everyday routine of sharing meals around a table, coincided with the family members residing in similar homes in middle class neighbourhoods located in the same general geographical area of town. Considering the importance placed on regularly shared family meals, the increased time spent together around the dinner table appears to contribute to a unified knowing, identity, and action among family members characterized by strong intergenerational relationships, complex social roles, family traditions, and similar food practices among households. Thus the exploration of metaphorical and physical places around one family's dinner table and their sensing of these places reveals a certain family identity and culture as well as insight into individual understandings, identities, and food practices. Ways that the family identity continues on, include repeated opportunities for place-making and transgenerational communication. As children grow up listening to family stories told by various generations around the dinner table, they remember not only the tale's content but also the physical and emotional context in which it was told. Years later, in their adult lives they try to recreate, revise, and continue this experience through the practice of sharing meals with family members. The lessons for living as well as the atmosphere and feelings of belonging to a close familial community are repeated. 1 ' The terms coemergence and codetermination both refer to the process of structural coupling and parallel change among participating entities over time. 135 If we consider the dinner table as an essential place in this family for nurturing and preserving familial culture through storytelling, placemaking, and transgenerational communication, this helps us understand certain observed behaviors. For example, it sheds light on why Kathy strives so hard to continue the family meal tradition in her own household, despite Dan's reluctance. The literature notes that once a sense of place is elevated to a general way of living, it: may gather unto itself a potent religious force, especially if one considers the root of the word in religare, which is to "bind or fasten the fast". Fueled by sentiments of inclusion, belonging, and connectedness to the past, sense of place roots individuals in the social and cultural soils from which they have sprung together, holding them there in the grip of a shared identity, a localized version of selfhood (Basso, 1996, p. 144). Kathy places a high value on family meals because her childhood meal experiences not only provided opportunities for learning proper etiquette, but also for living a successful life. In fact, she says her childhood "meals were very sacred". Dan, in contrast, did not experience the same history of familial connection around the dinner table. He does not share the same understandings or attach the same values to family meals as Kathy. Kathy sees herself as the caretaker of tradition and home life, while Dan's time and attention is focused elsewhere on his educational life. Since they have only been married for two years, it is reasonable to predict that as time goes on, food practice behaviors acceptable to both will emerge. Should this occur, it would present another example of the codetermination as a result of ongoing structural coupling among people and their context. Thus, what began as a simple exploration of familial food practices, has revealed much more than visible eating habits. Investigation into metaphorical and physical places around the dinner table has provided insight into the participants' sensing of these places thus giving us clues as to their knowing, identity, and action. It appears that, at least in this instance, that close geographical proximity has promoted a history of interaction and coemergence within specific interior spaces. The learning and doing of food practices is complexly intertwined with the processes of place-making, transgenerational communication, and living. 136 Towards Nutritional Knowing: Exploring The Common-Place(s) The sensorial landscape, in other words, not only opens onto that distant future waiting beyond the horizon but also onto a near future, onto an immanent field ofpossibilities waiting behind each tree, behind each stone, behind each leaf from whence a spider may at any moment come crawling into our awareness. David Abram, 1996, p. 215 The above passage reminds us that the future need not be necessarily a far away, unreachable phenomenon, for even small steps take us places. Effective teaching and learning opportunities may be right under our noses, hidden behind everyday assumptions and taken-for-granted practices. In this research project, the adoption of a deep ecological perspective highlighted the importance of relationships among places, people, and their food practices. Specific aspects of this particular extended family's context, namely their geographical proximity, interior spaces, conceptions of time, and familial roles, were observed to be interdependent and coemergent with their knowing, identity, and actions. When combined with processes of place-making via oral storytelling and transgenerational communication, a familial sense of place (physical and metaphorical) around the dinner table emerges from the data. Drawing on these findings, future nutrition education research following similar examinations of the common-place(s)~the physical locations in our daily travels and the metaphorical places of our psyche-could disclose previously unanticipated possibilities for promoting and adopting healthy eating and living behaviors. An exploration of the implications of such research nudges nutrition researchers and educators along their own personal trail of development. Enactivist Research: Turning A Corner Future research could reveal new understandings about nutrition education within a relatively short time frame by expanding on various facets of this exploratory project. First, the results of this study highlight the importance of appreciating the complex nature of context. Exploration of metaphorical places in the lives of these family members emphasized how 137 observed food and eating practices were embedded within everyday beliefs and understandings. It also struck me how seemlessly physical places were interconnected with the understandings, identity, diet, and exercise of family members. Ordinary places in their environment such as the availability of local produce, the proximity of households and grocery stores, and the local climatic conditions affected food practices and activity levels. Interior spaces as well, reflected the lived experiences, identity, and understandings of the family members. People could not be separated from their environment. What needs to be examined further from an enactivist perspective is not necessarily the characteristics of the places around us, but the relationships and processes inherent within them. In this family, everyone assumed they were eating a healthy diet since it appeared that they had no genetic predispositions to disease and no one in the family was sick. Various food related understandings were repeated in more than one generation indicating that transgenerational communication and oral storytelling during family meals helped to shape the family identity. Embodied knowing, behavior, and identity (for example, that they are a genetically healthy and active family) are reinforced by understandings from society and their education (examples of collective knowing). The overall effect of these ongoing processes was that every generation in this family knew they were doing the right things to remain healthy, so conscious efforts towards eating a specific healthy diet were not deemed a priority. It appears that the participants' sensing of their eating places affected their food practices. Basso (1996) has written that: Ubiquitously accepted as natural, normal, and unexceptional, sense of place is variously trained, variably intense, and having grown to mature proportions, stoutly resistant to change. Its complex affinities are more an expression of community involvement than they are of pure geography, and its social and moral force may reach sacramental proportions, especially when fused with prominent elements of personal and ethnic identity (p. 148). If true, as this study suggests, then an increased understanding of sensing of place in relation to healthy eating and living behaviors is essential. Research from an ecological perspective could 138 explore the environmental triggers or perturbations that prompt different individuals and groups of people to develop new understandings and adjust their behaviors. Furthermore, this study indicates that physical places, an individual, and groups of people are all interconnected, interdependent aspects of any given context. Places are not passive, external objects, so people cannot be considered separately from their places and the other living and non-living entities that make up their world. Research from an enactivist perspective acknowledges the inextricability of living and non-living systems, and considers coemergent processes by not privileging humans at the expense of their environment. Future educational research could also ask questions such as—Which nutrition education settings are most appropriate for certain groups or individuals? How does the context of common eating places affect food practices? How do human food practices affect the ecology of other non-human living systems and physical places? How does the ecological, inclusive nature of enactivism address issues of diversity, culture, and collective knowledge among learners? What types of ecological triggers or perturbations would lead to healthier eating habits? Further investigation into these and other contextualized questions could be invaluable to the field of nutrition education. Related to this call for more contextually sensitive educational research, is the need for studies that investigate the enactivist perspective as it relates to ethical conduct. This current study showed that, like most western families, the participants did not consciously connect the food they ate with biotechnology, agricultural practices, or the well being of the earth. Time, cost, and convenience were the main considerations during their grocery trips, while issues such as herbicides, pesticides and genetically modified foods did not appear to influence purchasing decisions. In a world where life is cyclical and all living and non-living beings are complexly interconnected, even the smallest perturbations have potentially far reaching effects that ripple through ecosystems. Taken-for-granted cultural assumptions can unintentionally lead to behavioral patterns with negative impacts on delicate ecologies of which we are part. Enactivism places a high priority on the responsibility of researchers and practitioners to consider and act on the broad ramifications of our food practices. An enactivist perspective leads 139 researchers to examine the common anthropocentric mindset and question the modern craving for change purely in the name of scientific progress. Enactivism offers educators an ethical, deep ecological outlook fitting for a health oriented field so closely tied to food and nature. Therefore, future nutrition education research and practice could critique the ecological impact of anthropocentric cultural stances deeply rooted in our food practices, and the possibilities for ethical educational conduct to help preserve our ecosystems. In some ways, enactivism applied to adult nutrition education research is like an untouched landscape with many new areas to explore. Context and ethics are only two topics. Another area of interest is how researchers go about adopting a methodology and methods consistent with an enactivist perspective. In the case of this study, I adopted a qualitative methodology, in part to counteract the overwhelming quantitative research in the field of nutrition education. Like Abram (1996), I believe that "for all its technological refinements, quantitative science remains an expression of, and hence must be guided by, the qualitative world of our common experience" (p. 43). Multiple types of qualitative research methods compatible with an enactivist perspective were selected for the project. I found that a combination of ethnographic methods such as participant observation, audio and video taped individual and group interviews, video taped meals, and an assortment of personal researcher records (a research journal and field notes) provided useful detailed data that could be easily revisited even after long periods of time. This combination of methods enabled holistic collection of contextualized information. During the data collection phase, one of my main concerns was not to impose more than necessary on the family members. I made a conscious effort to openly discuss the research process and to work within their comfort levels. The main concern on the part of the participants was with the amount of time that would be required for the project, so I limited my contact with them and tried to adjust the data collection methods to suit the participants. Any uneasiness participants may have felt with being interviewed and video taped soon disappeared once they met me and started talking about their lives. They were extremely open during their interviews 140 and I tried to respect their time concerns. My respect for the participants' limitations established a relational ethical stance, which I believe, is consistent with a systems approach to research. Once the data was gathered using these qualitative research methods, I moved on to the analysis phase which proved to be extremely time consuming and at first, very difficult mostly due to my own inexperience. Unconsciously I had reverted back to the familiar positivist method of coding data into separate areas of knowing, identity, and action. After much frustration doing this impossible task, it occurred to me that the central tenent of enactivism is that relationships of knowing, identity, and action are interrelated and essentially inseparable. Once I resumed an ecological perspective, looking for interconnected patterns and relationships, the process of data analysis was more successful, readily identifying interconnected themes. I might also add, that I consciously tried to look at different systems by searching for information that did not fit patterns. Where data were inconsistent with the predominant family patterns, I looked for lived experiences that were unique. Alice, for instance, was the only family member who disliked cooking. However, the culture and context of her upbringing in Chile was completely different than the other family members. She was raised with maids and cooks, and had little experience with domestic concerns. In enactivist terms, the context of her early life produced a set of perturbations that were different from those of her Canadian relatives. The behavioral choices she made in response to the environmental triggers were well suited to her life in Chile. The accompanying embodied knowing and identity fit into her Chilean surroundings, but were naturally different from knowing, identity, and actions of the Canadian born family members. Other dissimilarities in the data could also be explained from an enactivist consideration of context arid experience. In writing up the final thesis, I discovered that enactivist research is quite demanding due to the requirement for multidisciplinary understandings and writing skill. Given that I am an inexperienced qualitative researcher with limited writing know-how, I felt limited by my lack of experience, the time required to read broadly, my ability to understand the logic of theories from various fields of inquiry, and the sometimes ambiguous meanings and usage of various enactivist words. These limitations were partially erased by obtaining feedback from others and attempting 141 to be clear about the meanings of words used in my writing (hence the inclusion of the glossary). However, I found that my attempts to consider an enactivist approach to writing and presentation were rudimentary. The choices I made to follow an enactivist qualitative methodology represent only one way to pursue such research. Attention to diversity and plurality indicate a need for further examination and discussion of enactivist research pertaining to data collection methods, ethical conduct, techniques of data analysis, and writing/presentation. Future research endeavors would be advised to consider interdisciplinary collaboration. Enactivism embraces many possibilities so an essential area of future research lies in the discovery of the range of possible enactivist research methods. This exploratory study prompts educational researchers to ask how context, enactivism, and the research process are related to the discovery of new understandings related to food and eating practices. Further investigation of these and other related questions are required. However, as I mentioned at the very beginning of this chapter, future discoveries are not always far off in the distant horizon. Research can draw on the findings discussed here. This study also has implications for the practice of nutrition educators that could be adopted immediately. New understandings are just around the corner. Enactivist Practice: Steps Along A New Trail In this enactivist research study, the observations revealed interactions among family members and the common (physical and metaphorical) places around them. These findings emphasized that the family was not separate from the context, but an integral part of it. Familial sensing of their eating places was related to both past and present, metaphorical and physical places in their lives. Family members adopted specific food practices because these behaviors were compatible (i.e. a good fit) with relationships of knowing, identity, and action within their present circumstances. Ongoing opportunities for structural coupling within a given context either supported or discouraged the continuation of these food practices through processes of coemergence, transgenerational communication, and place-making. 142 This research study exemplifies certain aspects of an enactivist perspective, mostly stemming from a grounding in deep ecology, that separate it from other educational philosophies. According to Young (as cited in Davis, 1996, p. 143) the purpose of education is to stimulate an " 'education for life', an education 'for reflective change and adaptation of the self, for co-operative change in relationships with others, and holistic and respectful change of the environment we share'". These goals are compatible with many current mainstream adult nutrition education pursuits that ponder the effects of adult context and life experiences on teaching and learning. Enactivism expands on these ideas by seeking to improve the long term health of people, while considering and not causing harm to other living and non-living entities within the context. Nutrition educators can use the ecologically grounded understandings from this study in their own educational programs by adopting a non-anthropocentric systems approach to teaching that emphasizes ethical food practices, circularity of living, and context. The interconnected, coemerging nature of the relationships between learners, their places of learning, and the world at large are key considerations. In practice this means that the planning, implementation, and evaluation of educational programs would flow from relationships of knowing, identity, and actions among learners (including the educator) and the learning context. Program planning would utilize open ended objectives and strive to develop learning contexts that provide ongoing rich opportunities for individual and collective structural coupling. Recognition of circularity would mean that teachers would plan to provide for repeated opportunities to learn and re-learn concepts over time, including attempts to facilitate connections to other educational opportunities in the learners' current context and conceivable future. The content would be woven into the learners' context, knowing, identity, and actions. The learning space would promote ongoing interactions and relationships among teachers, staff, learners, and their families. It might be a traditional classroom or a non-traditional venue such as a farm, school cafeteria, or grocery store, but a key consideration would be that it provided a multifaceted context for individual and collective learning. Educators should be also mindful of the feel or atmosphere of a place, and strive to create a safe, comfortable relationship between the 143 people and their places of learning. In an ideal situation, learners would develop a sense of place that promoted healthy knowing, identities, and behaviors related to their food and eating practices. All components of an educational setting (learners, teachers, and physical environment) contribute to the creation of a positive and challenging learning context, so planning for an ecological enactivist approach requires creativity, flexibility, and open mindedness. Of course, living in the moment requires that educators be prepared to drop all or part of the lesson plans and follow the trail of unpredicted learning opportunities that may arise. The implementation of an educational program would require the educator to accept the inherent complexity and unpredictability of the learning context. Skilled educators should be willing and able to take advantage of previously unplanned teachable moments as they present themselves, even if this means deviating from the lesson plan. The educator is a co-participant in the learning process while at the same time a scout looking for contextual links between food practices and the learners' knowing, identity, and actions. An implication of recognizing the unpredictable, is that while it is important to anticipate goals or objectives for learning, they must also be flexible and open ended. Davis (1996) suggests that the common understanding of having a "lesson plan" is inappropriate, because a lesson usually refers to a fragment of understanding and a plan does not take into account the unpredictability of teaching. I believe that a realistic enactivist educator would teach content that is integrated into other aspects of the environment. While it is important to anticipate and direct the learning goals, activities, content, and basis for evaluation, a constant adjustment to the ebb and flow of educational sessions is required. An enactivist teacher cannot rigidly adhere to a predetermined plan. Instead, the ongoing nature of the shared educational effort should promote the formation of understandings that can be tracked over time. And what are enactivist teaching methods? My thoughts at present are that there are no set rules, teaching could be a combination of conventional and unconventional methods, but an important principle would be to offer an ongoing, rich array of individual and collective learning activities. Incorporation of multiple ways of learning, consideration of the places where people 144 eat, and understanding of social relationships in their everyday life would be crucial. It has been suggested that enactivist teaching should start with the doing and then move to the content. The teacher cannot assume that learners have certain characteristics and beliefs. Instead, the teacher and learners learn about each other and the content area together. The teaching and learning environment is a shared one where all participants move towards new collective understandings (Davis, 1996). The teaching content and methods are thus flexible but they encompass an enactivist understanding of ethical behavior, circularity, and partnership with learners and the environment. Since this study indicated a need for non-anthropocentric, ecological understanding, nutrition educators might include attempts to increase awareness and responsibility for improving the sustainability of our food systems thereby encouraging ethical, non-anthropocentric behavior. Questioning the ethics and effectiveness of a human centered perspective could be brought about through a discussion of scientific technical "advances" commonly found in households and grocery stores. Enactivist education requires attention to the interacting relationships among natural and human systems. As I have mentioned previously, enactivists embrace the unpredictable and spontaneous, as well as the ordinary and everyday. This study found that it is often the taken for granted things (like the color or familiar sounds in a room) that contribute in subtle but important ways to who we are, what we know, and what we do. A person's sensing of place often cannot be controlled or predetermined. An enactivist educational program would acknowledge the complexity and unpredictability of multiple interactions occurring in any given context, and the teacher would be looking for the teaching and learning opportunities that arise suddenly during educational sessions. These ideas may seem odd or unmanageable, so published case studies demonstrating this concept of teaching and learning would be especially illustrative for educational researchers and practitioners. Evaluation practices are also reflective of the circular nature of the enactivist perspective. By this, I mean that they are formative and connected to the natural flow of the learning context. Evaluations would be ongoing throughout the educational program. Assessments taken at the 145 completion of a particular educational program would be considered in relationship to the ongoing context of future learning opportunities. The evaluation process would be participatory and open ended, recognizing changing stakeholder objectives, unplanned outcomes, and deviations in teaching content and method. In an enactivist nutrition education program observed behaviors would be considered to be effective for the specific context that they occurred in. Ongoing evaluations would seek to observe and reveal the contextualized knowing, identity, and actions of learners so that educators could make adjustments to appropriate areas of the program if necessary. Thus this research study has indicated some new directions for future nutrition education research and practice. A thoughtful understanding of places and peoples' sensing of their places could have important implications to the field, so the potential contributions of applying a deep ecological philosophy to our educational endeavors should be thoroughly investigated, critiqued, and documented. I encourage other educational researchers and practitioners to reflect critically on their personal philosophy and explore the potential of enactivism. It may lead to unforeseen places in the near future. Researcher Development: Re-visiting Places Around My Table This research study has emphasized how people and places coemerge through ongoing instances of structural coupling. As I look back, I can see how exploring an ecological, enactivist perspective with respect to research has also resulted in a shift my teaching practice. Now when I plan food safety training in industrial food plants, I seriously weigh the learning opportunities presented by different settings, the history of employee interactions within the plant, the educational value of various environmental facilities, and the overall atmosphere of the context. I consciously try to provide multiple ongoing interactions between differing systems (individuals, groups, and places) in order to develop a history of both individual and collective knowing related to food safety. For example, in one food processing plant employees began a food safety project by writing and/or providing input towards the production of standard operating manuals for each 146 work area. This project provided many unanticipated opportunities for them to follow up on inconsistent or unclear work procedures and find workable solutions. Today new employees receive one-on-one training on the production floor using these manuals and small work groups are formed to explore specific issues through self directed projects. Training sessions vary not only in the food safety concepts, but also in locations (classroom, production floor, lab etc), job classifications of participants (teachers and learners), and types of activities. I try to encourage learners to explore their understandings of food safety concepts in relation to their own history and roles (as employees, individuals, parents etc) within differing settings (work, restaurants, home etc). Food is often provided during classroom training sessions for eating and discussion purposes. Physical changes to the production plant (notice boards, newsletters, equipment modifications etc) that encourage safe food practices either through improved processing procedures and/or expanded employee understandings are adopted. Where possible I also try to make connections to other ecologies (environmental issues etc). This is how I plan rich, multifaceted, learning opportunities, but almost always there are unpredicted moments of learning. New understandings can temporarily lead participants (including myself) off in new directions, and at times, the program feels haphazard to me (a legacy of my positivist history). However, throughout each training session and on an ongoing basis, I am formally and informally assessing the food safety program using a variety of methods. I routinely do such things as production floor conversations with individuals, email input from managers, and quarterly formal evaluations that allow me to keep tabs on current understandings about the program and make the necessary adjustments. Overall, my conscious goal is to plan for and nurture ongoing, positive relationships of knowing, identity, and action with respect to food safety among employees of all departments and their work places, and in doing so, create a work site culture that emphasizes safe food practices. On a more personal level, the thesis research process has prompted me to reassess the places around my own dinner table. When I began this thesis project, I considered these places to be my social relationships, my career/volunteer activities, my education, and my philosophy—all very individualistic characteristics about me. I now realize that my knowing, identity, and 147 behaviors have always and will always be connected and determined by my relationships to many different places, people, and living entities. The fiddle head stirfries I ate as a child would never have been possible if our family didn't live near a Pacific Northwest forest and if my grandmother had not chosen to gather and cook the delicacies for us. My interest and appreciation for unique, flavourful food (an example of transgenerational communication), my educational and career path, and a large portion of my present identity might never have developed. The context has co-determined who I am today. Now when I consider the metaphor of places around my dinner table, I include my friends and family at the table, and I think of the entire physical room and geographical location as contributing to the meal. My own personal dinner plate still has all of my individual characteristics, but they are mixed together like ingredients in a casserole. Thus what began as a research interest for my thesis study, has provided implications that nutrition educators and practitioners of adults can explore more fully in the near and distant future. Personally, I will continue on with the exploration of an ecological, enactivist worldview as it relates to my personal and professional knowing, identity, and actions. The places around my table have changed throughout the research process, and will continue to do so as I take steps towards realizing new understandings of an enactivist perspective. 148 Epilogue An environment is a living, changing system. More than the physical space, it includes the way time is structured and the roles we are expected to play. It conditions how we feel, think, and behave; and it dramatically affects the quality of our lives. J Greenman, 1988, p. 5 Healthy eating is a behavior complexly interwoven into the context of people's lives, so it should not be surprising that nutrition education cannot be divorced from the minds, lives and existence of learners. Research in this field has been dominated by an individualistic perspective, positivism, quantitative methodology, and a pervasive lack of theoretically grounded educational program planning, implementation and evaluation. The field has sought change, but there are still "gaps [that] exist in the current level of understanding about why differences exist between food beliefs and practices" (Falk, Bisgoni & Sobal, 1996, p. 257), and there is still confusion as to why some programs are effective in achieving behavioral goals, while others are not. Increasing dissatisfaction with positivistic research has created a willingness to explore natural systems and system change using new research paradigms based on alternative views (Barton, 1994). Nutrition education needs an alternative to positivism that explicitly recognizes the inherent complexity and multidimensionality of the relationships among the many influences shaping behavioral changes. After careful (and ongoing) consideration of many different educational philosophies, I chose to explore enactivism in this research study, in part, for its ecological worldview that challenges us to alter our perceptions and values, and directs us in our efforts to create sustainable communities for ourselves and future generations of all living beings. Sustainability of our food systems is of paramount importance to nutrition education. Enactivism holds promise for future research in the field of nutrition education because it encourages the use of multidisciplinary understandings, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and multiple methods to achieve deep ecological, non-anthropocentric understandings. Since this is one of the first research projects in the field of nutrition education to adopt an enactivist perspective, I took an exploratory stance in seeking to discover how relationships among knowing, identity, and action shaped one family's food practices during meals at home. A 149 quantitative case study strategy was appropriate for discovering the understandings and experiences of ordinary people in their familial context. A narrative, circular writing style was adopted, consist with a systems approach. While the study results highlight the need for further research, a few small steps towards broadening our understandings about food and eating practices have been taken. First, this study shows how the adoption of a deep ecological perspective such as enactivism can reveal the complex nature of relationships among people, their food practices, and their places. Places around the table—both physical and metaphorical—are described and interpreted in terms of family members' sensing of times and places based on their knowing, identity, and actions. Enactivism provides a unique window for understanding behavior and providing rich, appropriate, and ethical educational opportunities. This study provides one example of how an enactivist perspective shapes the research process and methodology. From a personal stance, this study has also provided me with the opportunity to actively consider and apply an enactivist perspective to my own life. Throughout the research process, I was pushed to be multi-disciplinary and mindful of the cyclical relationships among all living and non-living entities within all contexts. In everyday life, I now find myself drawn to the non-anthropocentric, ecological worldview because it provides an ethical framework for living. My own embodied knowing, identity, and actions have changed, and I look forward to exploring the implications of enactivism further. Another effect of conducting this study is that the act of participating has given the members of this extended family reason to reflect, if only for a few minutes, on their food practices and their lives. In some households, differing conceptions of living were brought to the forefront, while in others, similar beliefs were solidified. Satisfaction was noted for providing tasty meals within budget, and previously taken for granted accomplishments, such as improved cooking skills and spur of the moment adaptability were suddenly realized and appreciated during the interviews. The impact of past family meals at the present day dinner table was acknowledged. I know that the crossing of our paths has provided me with a new perspective of 150 family meals to contemplate, and I hope that participation in the study has contributed in a small way to this family's awareness and understandings about their own food practices. On a final note, I wish to point out that not all stories are structured in a linear fashion, with a beginning, middle, and end. This story about the ordinary food practices of one extended family is a continuing one. It is a story of cycles within cycles—knowings, identities, and food practices that appear everyday with individuals, in households, and over generations. Acknowledgement of interactions within a complex landscape comprised of physical and metaphorical places is key to understanding how our sensing of these places over time shapes our eating behaviors. An enactivist perspective highlights ethical, deep ecological understandings that can provide the supporting groundwork for responsible future endeavors in nutrition education research and practice. If we examine stories such as this one, many common places around the table stand to be rediscovered for a "sense of place...is not just something that people know and feel, it is something people do" (Camus as cited from Basso, 1996, p. 143). 151 References Abram, D. (1996). The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more—than— human world. New York: Vintage Books. Achterberg, C. (1988). A perspective on nutrition education research and practices. Journal of Nutrition Education. 20(5). 240-243. Achterberg, C , & Clark, K. L. (1992). A retrospective examination of theory use in nutrition education. Journal of Nutrition Education, 24, 227-233. Adler, H. J., & Brusegard, D. A. (Eds.). (1980). Perspectives Canada III. Ottawa, Canada: Statistics Canada. Baranowski, T., & Nader, P. 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Anthropocentric - Anthropocentric refers to human centered behaviors and thinking. Autopoiesis - An autopoietic network creates a boundary that identifies the system as a unit, and is itself part of the network of relationships (self-bounded). All components of such a system are produced by system production processes (self-generating), and they are continually replaced by system transformation processes (self-perpetuating). Therefore, the autopoietic system is circular and organizationally closed, but open in the sense that matter and energy from outside are continually flowing through it (Fleischaker as cited in Capra, 1996, p. 208). Coemergence (aka codetermination) - The terms coemergence and codetermination both refer to the process of structural coupling and parallel change among participating entities over time. Cognition - Cognition is identified with the process of life, which for humans includes language, conceptual thinking, perceptions, emotions, and behavior—all the characteristics associated with consciousness. Cognition is the result of structural coupling. "The interactions of a living system with its environment are cognitive interactions, and the process of living itself is a process of cognition" (Capra, 1996, p. 267). The material world exists but because structural coupling depends upon each system's physical structure, different systems will perceive the world differently. Cognition is not representation, instead "every act of knowing, brings forth a world" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 26). Communication - The process of structural coupling also gives rise to communication among humans. "Communication, according to Maturana, is not a transmission of information, but rather a coordination of behavior among living organisms through mutual structural coupling" (Capra, 1996, p. 287). Recurring social coupling between organisms produces communicative behaviors that are either learned or instinctive. Learned communicative behaviors rely on structures arising from the organism's history of social interactions and development, while instinctive communicative behaviors rely on structures that arise independently from the organism's history of structural change. Cultural Behavior (aka transgenerational communication) - These terms refer to an ongoing process of structural coupling during which certain behavioral patterns are passed on and renewed over generations. Shared understandings, ideas, values, identities and the like are expressions of cultural behavior and are often learned at a tacit, contextual level and considered as just normal, everyday behavior (Bowers, 1997). To an observer, however, these behaviors are visible indicators of effective action within a given context, representing shared understandings and identities. 159 Ecology (Deep, Social, and Shallow Ecologies) - The term deep ecology, used interchangeably with ecology and systems in this thesis, refers to a viewpoint that sees the world "as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Deep ecology recognizes the intrinsic value of all living beings and views humans as just one particular strand in the web of life" (Capra, 1996, p. 7). Ecocentric or earth-centered values are adopted. Social ecology is a form of deep ecology concerned with patterns of social structure and cultural characteristics. In contrast, shallow ecology is anthropocentric, valuing humans above all else and assigning only instrumental use to nature (Capra, 1996: Naess, 1985). Enactivism - Enactivism is a "deep" ecological, interpretivist philosophy. It is an inclusive, non-anthropocentric orientation that examines the connections among all living and non-living entities. Complexity, fluidity, process, and interdependence are emphasized. Ecological metaphors are often used to help people think through the new (and sometimes difficult) enactivist language. In education, non-linear individual and collective knowing, identity, and actions are explored with consideration of the entire context. Adoption of this ecological outlook, addresses diversity in teaching because it implicates ethical practice without the privileging of certain issues over others. Environmental - In this thesis, a statement referring to the environment is talking about the surroundings. For example, environmental research is not the same as ecological research. Epistemology - Epistemology is the study of knowledge and knowing. Evolution - From an enactivist perspective, evolution does not occur due to processes of natural selection and survival of the fittest, where "the environment is supposedly 'choosing' which of the many possible changes are taking place" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 101). Rather than natural selection, evolution viewed through the lens of enactivism "is a natural drift, a product of the conservation of autopoiesis and adaptation" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 117) resulting from structural coupling between organisms and environmental triggers. Survival is attributed to the best fit at a particular time between an organism and its environment. Hypothetical Reasoning - Hypothetical reasoning is the process of finding or building hypotheses to explain empirical phenomena (Pierce, 1974,1979 as cited in Kelle, 1995). Identities (selves) - "The self, then, is defined as a network of relationships, and so, as histories, contexts, and participants vary, identities (or, in Maturana and Varela's terms, structures) change.. .Our identities do, however, retain an integrity as we move from one setting to the next, held together by particular habits, language (patterns of acting), stories (narratives), and other knowings" (Davis, 1996, p. 192). "Understandings, meanings, beliefs, feelings, and actions, in other words, are not so much things that we give shape to, but events that shape to our selves" (Davis, 1996, p. 209). Knowing - Knowing occurs when a person is able to take their context specific understandings and generalize them to more than one context. Collective knowing refers to shared understandings among more than one person, and individual knowing refers to the subjective understandings of one person. Knowledge - Knowledge consists of context free concepts, and is more abstract than knowing or understanding. 160 Language - A learned communicative behavior that can be described by an observer in semantic terms, as if the observer's meaning determined the course of the interactions, is called linguistic, and all of an organism's linguistic behaviors are referred to as its particular linguistic domain. When members of a human social system exhibit a shared history of structural drift due to their linguistic coordination of actions, the domain of language occurs. "Language enables those who operate in it to describe themselves and their circumstances through the linguistic distinction of linguistic distinctions" (Maturana & Varela, 1998, p. 210), and this opens the possibility for such phenomena as reflection, meaning, and self-awareness. Therefore, at high levels of complexity a living system is able to couple structurally to itself and create an inner world of consciousness, perception, and emotions. Learning - Learning is a process of structural coupling whereby humans respond to environmental triggers and incorporate understandings, knowing, and knowledge into their everyday lives. Mind - The process of cognition, commonly known as the process of knowing (Maturana & Varela, 1998). Ontogeny - Ontogeny is "the history of structural change in a unity without the loss of organization of that unity" (Maturana & Varela, 198, p. 74). Ontology - Ontology is the study of reality. Qualitative Induction - Qualitative induction occurs when the researcher's previous knowledge and/or the actors' interpretations are used to explain an empirical phenomenon with an existing concept or scientific law (Kelle, 1995). Place-making - Place-making is a social process, whereby story telling links historical stories to local physical places in order to help people remember, revive, and revise historical events. In some cultures, place-making preserves practical knowledge, moral patterns, and customs (Basso, 1996). Structure - The structure of a living system is "the physical embodiment of the system's pattern of organization" (Capra, 1996, p. 161). Structural Coupling - Structural coupling (also called mutual specification) is the developmental phenomena underlying the process of cognition. Structural coupling occurs when a living system or autopoietic unity opts to interact with its environment. The environment acts only as a trigger, and does not specify or direct structural changes. The living system chooses which environmental triggers to react to and how to react to them. Sometimes the structural changes that occur alter the future behavior of that system. Therefore, structural coupling involves adaption, learning, and development over time (Capra, 1996). Systems (living) - The three interdependent criteria of living systems are: the presence of a pattern of organization or relationships that identify a system as belonging to a certain class, a structure that represents that physical embodiment of this pattern of organization, and a life process which encompasses all activities related to the continuation of the system's pattern of organization and structure (Capra, 1996). 161 Theoretical Sensitivity - Theoretical sensitivity refers to the researcher's creative ability to use their personal and professional experience as well as the literature to identify and give meaning to important parts of the research data (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Understandings - Understandings are context specific concepts. Unity - A unity is an entity or object that is distinguished as separate from its background. A second order unity is formed when two or more first order unities participate in recurring structural coupling resulting in the structural drift and conservation of each unity's adaption and organization. A third order unity is the phenomenological domain that arises during the structural coupling of two or more second order unities. An example of a first order unity is a cell. It is not clear, however, whether metacellular organisms are first or second order unities since, like a cell, their identity is determined by operationally closed processes, the products of which remain within the network. It we consider them to be second order unities, recurring structural coupling between two or more people would create a social system, a third order unity (Maturana & Varela, 1998). 162 "l2. SUMMARY OF METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURES. NOTE: IF YOUR STUDY INVOLVES DECEPTION, YOU MUST ALSO COMPLETE PAGE 7, THE DECEPTION FORM: Qualitative methodology informed by an enactivist framework is used in this study. Prior to the data collection for the primary study, a pilot study will be conducted to practice the data gathering procedures. Information from this pilot study will not be used in the written thesis. Data gathering procedures for the pilot and primary studies will be as follows: An audio and video taped semi-structured individual interview with each consenting family member over 19 years old will investigate the participant's understandings about food practices occurring during family meals at home (see Appendix A for interview questions). Follow up contact will clarify the interview content and preliminary analysis. One ordinary family meal from each household will be audio and video taped by the family themselves. Each household will be given the option to do a pilot video (aped meal to familiarize themselves with the recording procedures. Once a meal has been taped, 1 will view and analyze it, selecting portions of it for a family stimulated recall interview (one group interview per household). This audio and video taped family interview will be held a few days after the meal. Participants (adults and children) will view the meal video tape together and be asked to recall their actions and thought processes (Calderhead, 1981; McConnell, 1985; Marland, 1984; Pirie, 1997). Finally, an optional meeting will provide participants an opportunity to give feedback to the draft analysis of the family meal video and stimulated recall interview, i The recording procedures used in this study will be negotiated with the participants, and consent [obtained. Data will be analyzed and interpreted (Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Pirie, 1997) from an enactivist perspective informed by multidisciplinary fields such as ecology (Bateson, 1979), biology (Maturana & Varela, 1980) and philosophy (Varela, Thompson & Rosch, 1991). Enactivist philosophy has led to new theories of | cognition and evolution (Capra, 1996) that have enabled educators to seek out a deeper understanding of teaching and learning processes that recognizes both individual and collective relationships among identity, knowledge and action (Davis & Sumara, 1997; Davis, Sumara & Kieren. 1996V nPSCHIPTKJN OF POPULATION . — — • m ^TZTT t in HOW MANY IN THE CONTROL GROUP? N/A "ii" neiisFn? •> - 9fl HOW MANY IN THE CONTROL GROUP? HOW MANY SUBJECTS WILL BE USED7 L - iX) extended family residing in one or more households. Consenting family members will participate in individual and/orgroup interviews. AU participants present during the video taped meal will give consent to this recording procedure. " ' ' " ' -T5: WHAT SUBJECTS WILL BE EXCLUDED FROM PARTICIPATION? None 16' HOW ARE THE SUBJECTS BEING RECRUITED? IF THE INITIAL CONTACT IS BY LETTER OR IF A RECRUITMENT NOTICE IS TO BE POSTED, ATTACH A COPY. NOTE THAT UBC POLICY DISCOURAGES INITIAL CONTACT BY TELEPHONE. HOWEVER, SURVEYS WHICH USE RANDOM DIGIT DIALING MAY BE ALLOWED. IF YOUR STUDY INVOLVES SUCH CONTACT, YOU MUST ALSO COMPLETE PAGE 8, THE TELEPHONE CONTACT FORM. ~ Network sampling, a type of purposeful sampling (McMillan & Schumacher, 1993), will be used to choose one extended family for this study. I will use my personal network of contacts to locate potential families, who will then be contacted in writing to inform them of the research project. The final selection of one extended family will be based on their interest level, the number of family members and households available to participate, and their potential to provide varied perspectives. iT. IF A CONTROL GROUP IS INVOLVED, AND IF THEIR SELECTION AND/OR RECRUITMENT DIFFERS FROM THE ABOVE. PROVIDE DETAILS: N/A 165 18'^SSi^teSSamWfteparticipants' home. I S ^ S O WW. ACTUALLY CONDUCT TH* STUDY AND WHAT ARE TKW OUAUPreATWNB? Dr Judith Ottoson, Associate Professor at U B C (Education/EDST) Patricia Thorn, B Sc (Food Science), B Sc (Dietetics), M A student in Education/EDST » W U THE GROUP Of SUBJECTS HAVE ANY PROBLEMS O.V-0 FORMED CONSENT ON THEIR OWN BEHALF? COPPER PHY8ICAL « M ^ A L C 0 N 0 m O N . AOE. LANGUAGE. ANO OTHER BARRIERS. Adult participants wil l not have any problems giving written consent on their own behalf. 5, I F THE SUBJECTS ARE NOT COMPETENT TO (WE FULLY INFORMED CONSENT, WHO WILL CONSEN, »N - W r i t t e n consent for children under 19 years of age will be given by their parent. Verbal assent wi l l be obtained from the child if the parent has consented. 22. WHAT » KNOWN ABOUT THE RISKS ANO BENEFITS Of THE PROPOSED RESEARCH? OO YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL OPINIONS ON THIS ISSUE? Although the family's identity wi l l be protected from the external world, individual family member's perspectives o f food practices wil l be revealed to the rest of their family, and there is a possibility that secrets or differing opinions wil l become apparent. Participants wil l be informed of this risk and given the option to j withdraw from the study at any time. The benefits of participating in this study are the increased understanding by the participants regarding food practices during meals within their home. Selection of the family participating in this study will be partly based on their comfort and familiarity with video taping and viewing themselves on screen. However, it is possible that some family members may be embarrassed or uncomfortable with these procedures. Opportunities to practice video taping and viewing themselves on screen will be available before video data is collected for this study, and participants wil l be given the option to withdraw from the study at any time. J4. IF MONETARY COMPENSATION » TO BE OFFERED TO THE SUBJECTS, PROWE DETAILS OF AMOUNTS AND PAYMENT SCHEDULES: N/A » HOW MUCH THE WILL A SUBJECT HAVE TO DEDICATE TO THE PROJ^.Y 5 hours (not all at one time) ». WmKXrm W»tL A MEMBER OP THE CONTROL GROUP. If ANY. HAVE TO DEDICATE TO THE PROJECT? ' N /A — — 34 166 27. WHO WILL HAVE ACCES8 TO THE DATA? Dr Judith Ottoson Patricia Thorn S. HOW WW. T H E CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE DATA BE MAINTAWED? Fictitious names wil l be used for all written documents analyzing and reporting on this research (as per participants' wishes). Videos wi l l also be coded with these fictitious names. Data wil) be secured in a locked filing cabinet and computer files wil l be password protected. M . WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR T H E FUTURE U8E OF THE RAW DATA BEYOND THAT DESCRIBED IN THIS PROTOCOL? HOW AND WHEN WILL THE DATA BE DESTROYED? Data wi l l only be used to disseminate the research findings with the written consent of participants after they have viewed the tapes themselves. There are no plans to destroy the audio and/or video tapes unless the participants request this action. » . WILL ANY DATA WHICH IDENTIFIES INDIVIDUALS BE AVAILABLE TO PERSONS OR AOENC68 OUTSIDE THE UNIVERSITY? Only with the written consent of participants, as above. ST. ARE THERE AMY PLANS FOR FEEDBACK TO THE 8UBJECT7 AH participants will receive full feedback on all parts of the study that they are interested in. Opportunities for member checking (informal discussion and review of interviews between A e researcher and participants) wil l be available to all participants to promote the accurate collection of data. Each household will either be given the original meal video tape or a copy (at their discretion) to keep. St WnX YOUR PROJECT USE: Q QUESTIONNAIRES (SUBMIT A COPY); (^INTERVIEWS (SUBMIT A SAMPLE OF QUESTIONS); see appendix A (^OBSERVATIONS (sueMrr A BRIEF DESCRIPTION): see page 2, section 12 • TESTS (SUBMIT A BRIEF DESCRIPTION). . 167 n PUMPING INFORMATION AGENCY / SOURCE OF FUNDS: FUNDS ADMINISTERED BY: O UBC O VHHSC O SPH O 6CWH UBC OR HOSPITAL ACCOUNT NUMBER: O BCCH O BCCA O INTERNAL O EXTERNAL STATUS: O AWARDED O PENDING PEER REVIEW: 0 YES 0 NO START DATE: FINISH DATE: •tmnpMEP CONSENT 34. WHO WILL CONSENT? & SUBJECT. A A B C 1 0 T A . C O N S E N T IS ALWAYS REQUIRED FOR RESEARCH IN THE SCHOOLS AND AN [sj^PARENT OR ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ J ^ ^ ^ ™ p ^ ^ g ^ VE^BAUY OR^TwRITING TO THE STUDENTS TO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE OR T H D ™ ™ ™ • AGENCY OFFICIAL(S) • AGENCY OFFIUIAMO). 35. IN THE CASE OF PROJECTS CARRIED OUT AT OTHER INSTITUTIONS. THE BOARO REQUIRES WRITTEN PROOF THAT AGENCY CONSENT HAS BEEN RECEIVED. THE RER MAY BE SUBMITTED BEFORE AGENCY APPORVALS HAVE BEEN OBTAINEO. PLEASE SPECIFY BELOW: N/A • RESEARCH CARRIED OUT IN A HOSPITAL - APPROVAl OF HOSPITAL RESEARCH OR RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD. • RESEARCH CARRIED OUT IN A SCHOOL - APPROVAL OF SCHOOL BOARD ANO/OR PRINCIPAL. EXACT REQUIREMENTS DEPEND ON INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL BOARDS; CHECK WITH FACULTY OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS FOR DETAILS. • RESEARCH CARRIED OUT IN A PROVINCIAL HEALTH AGENCY - APPROVAL OF DEPUTY MINISTER. • OTHER. SPECIFY: QUESTIONNAIRES (COMPLETED BY SUBJECTS) '38, QUESTIONNAIRES SHOULD CONTAIN AN INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH OR COVERING LETTER WHICH INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING i INFORMATION. PLEASE CHECK EACH ITEM IN THE FOLLOWING LIST BEFORE SUBMISSION OF THIS FORM TO INSURE THAT THE COVERING LETTER CONTAINS ALL NECESSARY ITEMS: X I / . • UBC LETTERHEAD. • TITLE OF PROJECT. • IDENTIFICATION OF THE INVESTIGATORS. INCLUDING A TELEPHONE NUMBER. • A BRIEF SUMMARY THAT INDICATES THE PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT. • THE BENEFITS TO BE OERIVEO. • A FULL DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCEDURES TO BE CARRIED OUT IN WHICH THE SUBJECTS ARE INVOLVED. • A STATEMENT OF THE SUBJECTS RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE OR WITHDRAW AT ANY TIME WITHOUT JEOPARDIZING FURTHER TREATMENT. MEDICAL CARE OR CLASS STANDING AS APPLICABLE. NOTE: THIS STATEMENT MUST ALSO APPEAR ON EXPLANATORY LETTERS INVOLVING QUESTIONNAIRES. • A STATEMENT THAT IF THEY HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS OR TREATMENT AS A RESEARCH PARTICIPANT THEY MAY CONTACT DR. RICHARD SPRATLEY. DIRECTOR OF THE UBC OFFICE OF RESEARCH SERVICES AND ADMINISTRATION, AT 822-859B. • THE AMOUNT OF TIME REQUIRED OF THE SUBJECT MUST BE STATED Q THE STATEMENT THAT IF THE QUESTIONNAIRE IS COMPLETED IT WILL BE ASSUMEO THAT CONSENT HAS BEEN GIVEN. THIS IS SUFFICIENT IP THE RESEARCH IS LIMITED TO QUESTIONNAIRES', ANY OTHER PROCEDURES OR INTERVIEWS REQUIRE A CONSENT FORM SIGNED BY THE SUBJECT. • AN EXPLANATION OF HOW TO RETURN THE QUESTIONNAIRE. • ASSURANCE THAT THE IDENTITY OF THE SUBJECT WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL AND A DESCRIPTION OF HOW THIS WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED: E.G. 'DON'T PUT YOUR NAME ON THE QUESTIONNAIRE' • FOR SURVEYS CIRCULATED BY MAIL SUBMIT A COPY OF THE EXPLANATORY LETTER AS WELL AS A COPY OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE. 3/8 168 CONSENT FORMS „, , [ 37. USC POLICY REQUIRES WRITTEN CONSENT IN ALL CASES OTHER THAN THOSE LIMITED TO QUESTIONNAIRES WHICH ARE O^MPLETEO BY THE SUBJECT (SEE ITEM »34 FOR CONSENT REQUIREMENTS.) PLEASE CHECK EACH ITEM IN THE FOLLOWING LIST wjEFORE SUBMISSION OF THIS FORM TO ENSURE THAT THE WRITTEN CONSENT FORM ATTACHED CONTAINS ALL ITEMS. g f ' THE CONSENT FORM MUST BE ON UBC LETTERHEAD. 0"TITLE OF PROJECT [^ IDENTIFICATION OF INVESTIGATORS. INCLUOING A TELEPHONE NUMBER. RESEARCH FOR A GRADUATE THESIS SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED AS SUCH AND THE NAME AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE FACULTY AOVISOR INCLUDED. Ef^ BRIEF BUT COMPLETE DESCRIPTION IN LAY LANGUAGE OF THE PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT AND OF ALL PROCEDURES TO BE CARRIED OUT IN WHICH THE SUBJECTS ARE INVOLVED. INDICATE IF THE PROJECT INVOLVES A NEW OR NON-TRADITIONAL PROCEDURE WHOSE EFFICACY HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN IN CONTROLLED STUDIES, [vf^ ASSURANCE THAT THE IDENTITY OF THE SUBJECT WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL AND DESCRIPTION OF HOW THIS WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED, I.E. DESCRIBE HOW RECORDS IN THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR'S POSSESSION WILL BE CODED, KEPT IN A LOCKED FILING CABINET. OR UNDER PASSWORD IF KEPT ON A COMPUTER HARD DRIVE. ^STATEMENT OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME THAT WILL BE REQUIRED OF A SUBJECT. • OETAK.S OF MONETARY COMPENSATION. IF ANY, TO BE OFFERED TO SUBJECTS. Ig^ AN OFFER TO ANSWER ANY INQUIRIES CONCERNING THE PROCEDURES TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE FULLY UNDERSTOOD BY THE SUBJECT AND TO PROVIDE DEBRIEFING, IF APPROPRIATE. fCfA STATEMENT THAT IF THEY HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS OR TREATMENT AS RESEARCH SUBJECTS, THEY MAY CONTACT OR. RICHARD SPRATLEY. DIRECTOR OF THE UBC OFFICE OF RESEARCH SERVICES AND ADMINISTRATION, AT 822-8598 |_r' A STATEMENT OF THE SUBJECTS RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE OR WITHDRAW AT ANY TIME AND A STATEMENT THAT WITHDRAWAL OR REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE WILL NOT JEOPARDIZE FURTHER TREATMENT, MEDICAL CARE OR INFLUENCE CLASS STANDING AS APPLICABLE. NOTE: THIS STATEMENT MUST ALSO APPEAR ON LETTERS OF INITIAL CONTRACT. FOR RESEARCH DONE IN THE SCHOOLS, INDICATE WHAT HAPPENS TO CHILDREN WHOSE PARENTS DO NOT CONSENT THE PROCEDURE MAY BE PART OF CLASSROOM WORK BUT THE COLLECTION OF DATA MAY BE PURELY FOR RESEARCH gf^*\ STATEMENT ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE SUBJECT HAS RECEIVED A COPY OF THE CONSENT FORM INCLUOING ALL ATTACHMENTS FOR THE SUBJECT'S OWN RECORDS. r_^A PLACE FOR SIGNATURE OF SUBJECT CONSENTING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE RESEARCH PROJECT, INVESTIGATION, OR STUDY ANO A PLACE FOR THE DATE OF THE SIGNATURE. (3 '^ARENTAL CONSENT FORMS MUST CONTAIN A STATEMENT OF CHOICE PROVIDING AN OPTION FOR REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE, E.G. "I CONSENT /1 DO NOT CONSENT TO MY CHILD'S PARTICIPATION IN THIS STUOY " ALSO. VERBAL ASSENT MUST BE OBTAINED ' r . , i o r - H A l Q C M T P n « u - i THE C H I L D IF T H E P A R E N T H A S C O N S E N T E D . P ^ ^ T T O F F M I IS^loRE T H A N O N E P A G E , N U M B E R T H E P A G E S O F T H E C O N S E N T , E . G . P A G E 1 O F 3,2 O F 3, 3 O F 3. i J O . L , n c v r \ i i _ . (J^" LETTER OF INITIAL CONTACT. (ITEM 16) • ADVERTISEMENT FOR VOLUNTEER SUBJECTS. (ITEM 16) \Vf SUBJECT CONSENT FORM. (ITEM 37) • CONTROL GROUP CONSENT FORM. (IF DIFERENT FROUI ABOVE) {vf PARENT/GUAROIAN CONSENT FORM. (IF DIFFERENCT FROM ABOVE) • AGENCY CONSENT. (ITEM 35) • QUESTIONNAIRES, TESTS. INTERVIEWS, ETC. (ITEM 32) • EXPLANATORY LETTER WITH QUESTIONNAIRE. (ITEM 38) • DECEPTION FORM. (INCLUDING A COPY OF TRANSCRIPT OF WRITTEN OR VERBAL DEBRIEFING) • TELEPHONE CONTACT FORM. • OTHER, SPECIFY 169 Consent: I understand that participation in this study is entirely voluntary and that I may refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time. I wi l l not be affected in any way by refusing to participate. If I w i l l be present during the audio and video taping o f the meal I must give consent to participate in this research activity. I C O N S E N T to participating in the audio and video taped individual interview described in this form. I C O N S E N T to participating in the audio and video taped family meal described in this form. I C O N S E N T to participating in the audio and video taped family (group) interview described in this form. I acknowledge that I have received a copy of this consent form for my own records. Name {please print): D a t e : . Signature of participant: Name of witness (please prinfy._ Date:_ Signature o f witness: _ _ Informed Consent Form: page 3 o f 3 174 Consent: I understand that participation in this study is entirely voluntary and that my chi ld may refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time. M y chi ld wi l l not be affected in any way by refusing to participate. If my chi ld wi l l be present during the audio and video taping o f the meal I must give consent for my chi ld to participate in this research activity. I C O N S E N T to my chi ld participating in the audio and video taped family meal described in this form. I D O N O T C O N S E N T to my chi ld participating in the audio and video taped family meal described in this form. I C O N S E N T to my chi ld participating in the audio and video taped family (group) interview described in this form. I D O N O T C O N S E N T to my child participating in the audio and video taped family (group) interview described in this form. I acknowledge that I have received a copy o f this consent form for my own records. Name of chi ld (please print): Signature o f parent: Name of witness (please print): Signature o f witness: Parent Informed Consent Fo rm: page 3 of 3 177 APPENDIX A Individual Semi-Structured Interview Questions: Tell me about a typical family meal in your home. How often do you eat at home? Who eats together? What do you eat and how do you decide on what kinds of food to eat? When and where do you eat? How do other family activities affect your meals at home? How would you describe yourself during everyday meals at home? How would you describe your family during everyday meals at home? How do people interact? Do certain family members usually have the same meal related jobs to do? What do you generally talk about? What don't you talk about during meals? Is eating together at home important to your family? What does a "good" family meal at home mean to you? Why? How often do you have "good" family meals? Can you remember a meal that did not turn out to be "good"? Why was it a "bad" meal? What does a "healthy" family meal at home mean to you? How did you form these ideas? Have you tried to make healthy changes in the past and what were the results? Does your family have certain traditions and/or ethnic considerations that influence your meals at home? How has your economic situation affected your meals today and in the past? How have your ideas about food and eating during family meals changed over your life time? How have they remained the same? Do you have anything to add regarding your ideas or feelings about family meals? Would you like to comment on your experience of being interviewed? 178 The University of British Columbia Office of Research Services and Administration Behavioural Research Ethics Board 27 November, 1998 Notice of Ethical Review TBWc^iUMatiBAfoA" Ottoson, J. M. Educations! Studies Thorn, Patricia, Educational Studies -SWMUHIM4AUMb» ~~ The Committee has reviewed the protocol for your proposed study, and has withheld issuing a Certificate of Approval until the following conditions have been satisfied or information provided: Please highlight or underline changes to consent form(s) or letter(s) and submit only one copy. Provide other requested information in a letter or memo. Do not resubmit the Request for Ethical Review form. Can you assure the committee that no family member will feel coerced Into participating, since consent Is required from each family member at the meal? If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please call: Dr. R. Johnslon, Associate: Chair, 822-54J6 < Dr. Ian Franks, Associate Chair, 822-6891 Ms. Shirley Thompson, Manager Ethical Reviews (ORS), 822-8584 M M M a*nd til eorraapond»nc* to: The Office of Research Services, 323 IRC, UBC Campus Zone 3 179 December 1, 1998 To: The University of British Columbia Office of Research Services and Administration Behavioral Research Ethics Board 323 IRC UBC Campus Zone 3 Re: Ethical Review (B98-145I) Principal Investigator - Otloson, J.M. Department - Educational Studies Co-Investigator - Thorn, Patricia, Educational Studies Title - Being, Knowing, Doing: A Qualitative Enactivist Exploration Of Food Practices Within A Familial Context In response to your question • "Can you assure the committee that no family member will feel coerced into participating since consent is required from each family member at the meal?", the consent forms and letters were re-worded to emphasize that there is a full range of possible levels of participation by family members. Every family member is not required or obligated to participate in any or all of the research activities of this study. No one will be affected in any way if they refuse to take part, and they may withdraw from the study at any time. During initial meetings with the family and throughout the research process, I will also be sensitive to the possibility for coercion occurring between myself and the family members, as well as between the family members themselves. We will openly discuss coercion and I will explicitly detail the many possible options for participation in this study. Individuals will be encouraged to choose to take part in only those research activities that they feel comfortable with. If an individual does not wish to participate in the recorded meal, alternative arrangements will be negotiated with the family so that this person does not have to be included in this research activity. For example, the recorded meal could occur on a day when the non-participating family member does not normally eat with the rest of the family. By changing the consent forms to emphasize the range of participation levels available, openly discussing the possibility for coercion, and negotiating options for research activities that are comfortable lo the individual family members, 1 can assure the committee that no family member will feel coerced into participating in this study. 180 March 3, 1999 To: The University of British Columbia Office of Research Services and Administration Behavioral Research Ethics Board 323 IRC UBC Campus Zone 3 Re: Ethical Review (B98-14SL) Principal Investigator - Ottoson, J.M. Department - Educational Studies Co-Investigator - Thorn, Patricia, Educational Studies Title - Being, Knowing, Doing: A Qualitative Enactivist Exploration Of Food Practices Within A Familial Context I would like to amend the research activities described in the "Request for Ethical Review" forms (approved December 3, 1998) to include an additional option for participants to take part in an audio and video taped meal with other members of their extended family. The following pages will be added to the informed consent form and the parent informed consent form. 182 Amendment T o The. Informed C o n s e n t F o r m S t u d y P r o c e d u r e s : I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e p r e v i o u s l y d e s c r i b e d p r o c e d u r e s , e a c h p a r t i c i p a n t c a n a l s o c h o o s e t o t a k e p a r t i n a n a u d i o a n d v i d e o t a p e d m e a l w i t h m e m b e r s o f t h e i r e x t e n d e d f a m i l y . Consent: I u n d e r s t a n d t h a t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s s t u d y i s e n t i r e l y v o l u n t a r y a n d t h a t I m a y r e f u s e t o p a r t i c i p a t e o r w i t h d r a w f r o m t h e s t u d y a t a n y t i m e . I w i l l n o t be a f f e c t e d i n a n y w a y b y r e f u s i n g t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h e f o l l o w i n g a c t i v i t y . • a u d i o a n d v i d e o t a p e d m e a l w i t h e x t e n d e d f a m i l y m e m b e r s I C O N S E N T I D O N O T C O N S E N T I a c k n o w l e d g e t h a t I h a v e r e c e i v e d a c o p y o f t h i s c o n s e n t f o r m f o r m y o w n r e c o r d s . N a m e (please print)'. _ _ _ _ _ D - * * S i g n a t u r e o f p a r t i c i p a n t : N a m e o f w i t n e s s {please print): D a t e : S i g n a t u r e o f w i t n e s s : 183 A m e n d m e n t T o T h e P a r e n t I n f o r m e d C o n s e n t F o r m S t u d y P r o c e d u r e s : I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e p r e v i o u s l y d e s c r i b e d p r o c e d u r e s , e a c h c h i l d c a n a l s o c h o o s e t o t a k e p a r t i n a n a u d i o a n d v i d e o t a p e d m e a l w i t h o t h e r m e m b e r s o f t h e i r e x t e n d e d f a m i l y . C o n s e n t : I u n d e r s t a n d t h a t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s s t u d y i s e n t i r e l y v o l u n t a r y a n d t h a t m y c h i l d m a y r e f u s e t o p a r t i c i p a t e o r w i t h d r a w f r o m t h e s t u d y a t a n y time. M y c h i l d w i l l n o t b e a f f e c t e d i n a n y w a y b y r e f u s i n g t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h e f o l l o w i n g a c t i v i t y . • a u d i o a n d v i d e o t a p e d m e a l w i t h e x t e n d e d f a m i l y m e m b e r s I C O N S E N T I D O N O T C O N S E N T I a c k n o w l e d g e t h a t I h a v e r e c e i v e d a c o p y o f t h i s c o n s e n t f o r m f o r m y o w n r e c o r d s . N a m e o f c h i l d (please p x i n r ) : _ D a t e : S i g n a t u r e o f p a r e n t : _ _ _ _ _ N a m e o f w i t n e s s (please prinfy. D a t e : S i g n a t u r e o f w i t n e s s : • 184 Dear Here are the videos of the family meals and interviews. Please watch them and decide if I may use these videos for my presentation(s)/future research. If it is okay with you, please sign the bottom form. Thank you detach and return to Pat I give permission for Pat Thorn to use these videos for future research and/or presentations. Name {pleaseprint)'. Signature: Name of witness (please print): Signature: Date: 186 


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