My first Food Studies paper has been published in the 2010-2011 issue of Portal, the yearly academic publication from the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. It is a simple account of my recent study abroad experience in Brazil. It is so interesting how eating pizza with my host family made me aware of so many social issues in their society and lives. This, is how I study food.
Eating Pizza in Brazil: poverty and other social issues
The entire world eats Pizza, or something that resembles it, such as seafood pizza in Japan or the pizza with fruit Brazilians eat here in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. At LLI- LAS, my concentration is officially Portuguese, but my true focus lies in food studies. Normally, a student like myself, who is interested in learning about pizza, would probably focus on the food itself: the toppings, the sauces, or the crust. However, in my studies, I learn about larger social issues through my personal experiences and interest in food. I am currently studying abroad in Brazil and have had the honor of living with an amazing host family of four: father, mother, and two sons, ages 22 and 16. The other night on the way home from an event, we decided to get a pizza for dinner. I did not realize how different the whole process was going to be from the “American” way of getting a pizza. The experience revealed many social and economic issues related to poverty. The following story about eating pizza with my new Brazilian family reveals a deeper social context, beyond gastronomy, in the way pizza is obtained, received, and consumed. Enjoy.