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Talk:Appropriate food preparation, storage, consumption utensils

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Following of food culture[edit]

A deletion tag seems to have been placed at the article. The issue seems to be around "food culture"; however I think that the project itself is being wrongly interpreted. Although, as the article states, the cuisine/local dishes will not be necessairily followed, the locally known methods of preserving food (see ), methods of cooking (see )... will be followed to some degree; ie so that local crops can still be used).

The whole concept is pretty complex however, where I state that "local dishes/cuisine" will not necessairily be followed, I actually mean that the current cuisine (which has very much been "westernised" (ie in that nowadays ingredients/crops of all over the world are used)) will not be necessairily followed. Traditional cuisines (ie of indiginous peoples, ...) will be followed however entirely. The thing is here that one should make a distinction in the general cuisine; ie the one most people (in cities, ...) follow and the one that rural people follow. These aren't the same; the latter uses, as said before, local ingredients, the people from the city do not. Hence, my vision should be seen as a "back to sustainable crops"-vision, that incorporates the old cuisine, where possible. It should not be seen as a vision that wants to impose itself to a local population (far from it).

As for what these local ingredients/crops are, see Agriculture_manual_2_1 (list is still incomplete, but we can work further on it. KVDP 08:08, 15 February 2011 (PST)

I'm a bit confused - what do you see as the application or significance of this article?
I would have interpreted it the same way as expressed in the deletion tag - the explanation above, if incorporated into the article, would reduce this strong concern somewhat,

--> I would actually prefer that the information on this talk page is moved to a seperate article (ie Westernisation of local foods, ...). This article is actually specificly on how to create the utensils themselves, adding the issue about what's exactly the local cuisine, and the distinction of truly local cuisine and westernised local cuisine should be seperated to keep the articles clear and understandable. KVDP 02:21, 17 February 2011 (PST)

but I have a problem with saying e.g. "Chopsticks should not be used" if that's meant as a general guide.

Agreed, I actually had a problem with it myself, but I added it in so as to put a general focus for now on what needs to be made. In a local context, I see the utensils being made DIY at a furnace (see also my Modular kiln article), and putting up a general (simplified) lay-out of utensils for now seems most suitable. In time though, we can reintegrate chopsticks as a alternative for forks.
There's also a more minor concern, in that utensils are very tactile with a strong aesthetic value, and there's no problem with that. Noting practicalities of design is very valuable (e.g. "Having a well-accessible opening eliminates problems regarding cleaning." - for convenience as well as health), but I'd want to avoid being prescriptive, and ensure that any suggestions are applicable and useful to designers, without sounding like "this is how you must do it".
From a AT-context, I think that the less frills and esthetics/artistics there are on the design, the better. This as the more of these there are on a utensil, the more work and material is needed, making the utensil more and more costly, more difficult to repair, ... This means that hence less finished utensils can be made, and this may result in ie having less food (ie not enough storage options), ... As for being descriptive, indeed with just text, it's difficult to explain the entire design. I'm adding images as I go for this.
Incidental point - current cuisine (which has very much been "westernised" (ie in that nowadays ingredients/crops of all over the world are used)) - I haven't seen a lot of Westernization. Sure, people go to American fast food restaurants in Indonesia or Central America, but most of the time they eat dishes from the traditions of their grandparents. The changes are more to do with convenience (you can get very good Indonesian spice mixes in sachets, e.g. Bamboe brand, though obviously not as good as a good cook doing it from scratch); and prosperity (in particular, more meat); and similar to what you mentioned widespread availability of certain ingredients (esp wheat flour, sugar and MSG). But there are also many ingredients and mixes that are very specific to the locality. I doubt many Westerners use much picung nut, candlenut or"Vietnamese mint" (a.k.a. Laksa leaf), but these are common ingredients in different parts of SE Asia. :-) --Chriswaterguy 05:22, 16 February 2011 (PST)
By "westernisation of the cuisine", I don't mean that the locals start to adopt western cuisine, I mean that the way the local food is made is becoming more industrialised (this btw is much more difficult to spot, but happening nonetheless). For example, if you look at the ingredients of a pot of sweet-sour sauce, you'll see that many of the ingredients (although still organic) aren't necessairily made of local produce. Allot of ingredients are made of produce that is produced thousands of miles away, and/or it's made at a industrialised fashion (ie the E-numbers you'll see on a label are often made at a very industrialised way; this isn't "bad" as in that it's "inorganic", but it's difficult to make such ingredients at a simple, sustainable way nonetheless).

In essence, I think you could draw a parallell to Off-grid electricity production and Grid-derived electricity. Ie people in cities that use a "westernised" cuisine can be compared to people simply using the mains electricity grid, and those using truly local cuisine use off-grid electricity production.

Extrapolating this to a real life situation: ie the people at the Anuta Islands (see ) who produce their own food can be compared to the people using the general (=westernised) cuisine at the Solomon Islands. The food they consume is not the same, and only the first people (that actually produce their food themselves) are actually using a truly sustainable food system.

KVDP 02:07, 17 February 2011 (PST)

Ok - let's call it processed food or industrialized food, rather than Western food. --Chriswaterguy 17:28, 20 February 2011 (PST)

Re "From a AT-context, I think that the less frills and esthetics/artistics there are on the design, the better. This as the more of these there are on a utensil, the more work and material is needed, making the utensil more and more costly, more difficult to repair, " - if you want to make some utensils according to this approach, and describe them on Appropedia with the designs, rationale and advantages, that's great. To tell people what they should be doing and choosing in terms of aesthetics is insensitive and inappropriate - but you are welcome to your opinions, of course, and to demonstrate your own vision for design, in project pages rather than topic pages. --Chriswaterguy 22:10, 22 July 2012 (PDT)

How to present info[edit]

(Making a new section to make it easier to follow.)

KVDP, re your comment above: "From a AT-context, I think that the less frills and esthetics/artistics there are on the design, the better."

  • The poor still care about aesthetics - I think this is indisputable, in all cases except for those on the brink of starvation. For an emergency relief distribution, then aesthetics can be disregarded.
  • In presenting instructions, let's not make value judgements, but leave that judgement to the reader, or the person implementing the design. E.g. we can say "the less frills and esthetics/artistics there are on the design, the more straightforward is the work and the material is needed. This may make the utensil more costly, and changes to the basic design for aesthetic reasons may compromise the strength and break-resistance." Likewise, as stated above, rather than implying "it must be done this way" we can write "Having awell-accessible opening eliminates problems regarding cleaning."
  • We cannot generalize absolutely about cost, for example. A tiny variation in the mold for a utensil might create a very subtle and interesting pattern on the surface, with no significant cost or other drawback.

I think that if we're told we must abandon aesthetics (or indeed, told we must follow any particular ideology) then some of us will react the way I reacted to B. F. Skinner's didactic novel Walden Two.W It was meant to present a better future, but I found the ideas presented to be mostly horrible, and felt that it didn't acknowledge our freedom or individuality. (Not surprising, coming from Skinner, the pioneer of behaviorism.) From the Wikipedia article: "Noam Chomsky also compares Walden Two to a concentration camp and suggests that it would be a dystopia." - I agree with Chomksy on this.

Bottom line - info and methods can be good, but value judgements and presenting a predetermined "best" way to do things are problematic. We need to be very careful to avoid this. It's partly about our mindset, but also just about our choice of words. --Chriswaterguy 17:28, 20 February 2011 (PST)


KVDP, I see that you've been working on improving the article, and removed the tag; however note that the delete tag says "Do not remove this notice unless you are an admin, or you are the one who placed it here." In this case, significant issues raised have not been resolved yet, so it does need to be tagged. I've used {{disagreement}} for now. Thanks --Chriswaterguy 03:17, 28 February 2011 (PST)