Questions and Answers for Food Culture and Religion Papers

How was this information collected?

Students in NUTR478 Community Nutrition at Framingham State University are assigned a specific immigrant group, religion, or other cultural group to investigate. You can view the assignment here. They utilize various resources to research and write their papers; they are encouraged to seek out an individual from their assigned cultural group to discuss their paper. The papers have been reviewed by members of the cultural group to ensure accuracy of content. The final papers appear on this website. In cases where the student him/herself is from the cultural group, a review was not conducted. The Afro-American paper was written by the nutrition professionals in BOND of Color (Boston Organization of Nutritionists and Dieticians).

How are the groups selected?

Groups were chosen based upon their presence in Massachusetts as well as interests from the students in particular cultures.

Can I download and distribute these papers?

These documents are available to anyone or any group to use as long as the materials are used for educational purposes. Credit must be given to Framingham State University's Food and Nutrition Program. They may not be used by any individual, group, or business for profit. Links to this site are encouraged.

What if I see that something is missing from the paper or if the paper needs to be edited?

If you would like to add to or edit the paper, please do so by sending your comments to Janet Schwartz. Your expertise is welcome.

Can I use the assignment in my class?

Absolutely yes. This will help to collect immigrant or cultural foodways from more groups. Please share any new papers that you or your students create, including contact information. We will make sure the author receives credit. The assignment is available here.

In teaching about cultural foods, what is the best way to introduce the topic?

Start with geography. Most immigrants are extremely proud of their country and enjoy knowing that people in the United States know about their country. In a group setting, distribute blank copies of a geographic area: South America, Caribbean Island, Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Maps are available at Education Place. Ask participants to work with a partner to identify the countries. After 5-10 minutes, distribute the maps with the countries' names and review.

Are there other resources to check?

Yes. A list of resources is available here. These are some of the resources used by the students as well as other cultural food resources we have identified.

Who are the contributors to the website?

These papers are the collective work of the students in NUTR478 Community Nutrition at Framingham State University. Click here for list of these students. Students with a * next to their names contributed extensively to the paper and are credited on the individual papers. Click here for a list of the individuals who reviewed the students' papers and contributed their personal expertise to the papers. They are also credited on the individual papers.

The nutrition professionals at BOND who wrote the Afro-American paper can be contacted directly. Click here. BOND of Color (Boston Organization of Nutritionists and Dietitians).

Thanks to Eric Esterling, a graduate of the FSU Nutrition Program for his help in organizing and creating these pages.

Who is responsible for the final papers and editing of the papers?

Janet Schwartz is the professor in this course. She is the Chair of the Department of Consumer Sciences and a Professor of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University where she has taught courses in Community Nutrition, Nutrition Science and Applications, Food, Culture and Society, and Public Health Nutrition since 1983.

Janet received the American Dietetic Association Outstanding Dietetics Educator for Region I in 2002. She is the Co-Director of the Certificate in Excellence in Child Nutrition, a distance learning program for school food service directors. She teaches two courses in this program: Nutrition and, Education Theory and Practice. To date, 47 Massachusetts school food service directors and directors-to-be have earned this Certificate. In 2005, she was elected as the Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids. As Director of the John Stalker Institute for Food and Nutrition from 1996-2005, she worked with others to develop programs for school food service staff and teachers. Over the past four years, she has worked with Compass Group and Chartwells K-12 Dining to offer online nutrition courses for over 5000 food service managers in all types of food service operations. From 2006-2009, she directed a grant from the MetroWest Health Care Foundation to provide technical assistance in nutrition to area programs working to improve the nutritional health of children in the 26 towns west of Boston. She has given numerous presentations in Massachusetts and nationally, including presentations on cultural and religious foodways.

Janet received her Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University and her Masters Degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has two children who are now adults. They are curious and healthy eaters - her most proud accomplishment! You can contact Janet at jschwartz@framingham.edu .

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