Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
In Phase 1, I had reflected on my knowledge at the beginning of the whole project, did some background research, and posed questions that I wanted to learn the answers to. I also used my own limited knowledge on the topic to answer the questions on the basis of what I think. In Phase 2, I will be reflecting on my resources that I used to find background research, finding an expert that can edit my work, and then find resources within the Xizhou community.
While finding background research, I used a couple of words to find results on the internet. I used the words Yunnan Cuisine, Yunnan Minority foods, and also Linden center. I used Yunnan cuisine because the village we are going to is in the Yunnan province of China, and cuisine relates to food. I thought that Xizhou cuisine would be similar to that of the rest of Yunnan because the villages in the vicinity of Xizhou would probably influence Xizhou's cuisine. I used Yunnan Minority foods because Xizhou houses some minorities native to that region and all minorities have different foods. Finally, I searched up Linden Center because that a hotel in Xizhou and I thought that their website would have a Xizhou culture, and furthermore, cuisine tab.
I knew that the information I gathered was valid because I cross checked it with the other sources I had used information from, and with a few of the Microcampus alumni who had eaten that food for a month of their life.
Some websites stated who they were by, but some did not. Nonetheless, I still found the authors. On those that did state the name of the group or individual who owned/published the website, I just looked around on the page until I found it. On those that did not, I would go to the About tab on their website. On all my sources, these strategies worked.
An expert on the Yunnan cuisine topic I found was the Yunnan Adventure Travel Group. I chose them because they organize many tours around Yunnan, and have an informative, and after cross checking with other sources, correct page on Yunnan cuisine. The page is here: http://www.yunnanadventure.com/article-g445-yunnan-food
The note I sent to them is below:
Subject: Information about Yunnan cuisine.
I am a student at the Shanghai American School. As a school project, I am doing research about Yunnan food and in a few weeks I will be heading out to a village in Dali to do field research. During research, I chanced across your page on Yunnan cuisine (http://www.yunnanadventure.com/article-g445-yunnan-food) and found it informative and helpful. I hope that you can give me feedback for my work in my school project so far. If you can, can you also give me websites on which I can do further reading?
Below, I will place some information about the location of my school project on the web, and also some questions that I want you to look over, and keep in mind these questions as you read.
On each page there are hyperlinks so you do not need to open all the links at once.
Here are the questions I want you to keep in mind while reading, you do not have to answer any of them.
1) Do Yunnan specialties differ if made in Xizhou or if made in Kunming? How big are the differences between them?
2) Does Xizhou cooking use specific utensils that are different from those used in Shanghai? (pots, pans, plates, etc.)
3) Would my inquiry project have yielded different results and discoveries if I visited in the winter, as opposed to the spring?
4) Is the food at a Restaurant different than what people eat at home?
5) What is, on average, the most highly rated dish in Xizhou?
6) How do the chefs learn the recipes that they use to cook with?
7) Do the foods have significance or memories behind them for the chefs who make them?
8) At a classic Xizhou Restaurant/food vendor, who buys the food? where do the ingredients come from exactly? (locations in the village)
9) How do people in Xizhou prepare the foods before cooking?
10) How do you make all the Yunnan specialties? recipes?
A SAS student
At this point, I still have received no reply from my expert.
After arriving in Xizhou we were tasked to complete 3 to 5s. 3 to 5s are 3-5 minute conversations with 3-5 different adults. We do these conversations in the form of interviews to gather information about our inquiry project and where we can find first person resources. I interviewed Mr. Linden, the owner of the hotel we are staying at, Cecily, an employee at our hotel, Ms. Mai, one of our teachers, and Mr. Tafel, another one of these teachers. I chose to interview Mr. Linden because he has lived in this village for a long time and knows lots about the different foods and other aspects of culture. I chose to interview Cecily because she has been around the village a lot and lived here a long time as well. I chose Ms. Mai because she has been coming here for over a span of 3 years 4 times a year and has learned from student projects and research herself. Mr. Tafel has the same qualifications and also was a mandatory interviewee. (He made us interview him).
I will put a bulleted list of places they told me to go, things to eat, people to see, and some tips that were given to me from my 3-5s and interviewees.
- -Mr. Yang's Golden Flower Restaurant
- The Linden Center staff kitchen
- Ms. Ma
- Other Staff within the Linden Center
- Any Restaurant
- Yun Ge Xiao Chi
- Restaurant in Ran Yi Alleyway
- Xizhou Ba Ba Vendors
- Snacks sold at the local market
- The Popsicle vendors
- The Restaurant next to the Dumpling Restaurant
- Dumpling Restaurant in Si Fang Jie (Village Square)
- Xizhou Ba Ba Vendors
- Yellow Pea Noodles sold by Ms. Ma
- The Kitchen Staff
- Mr. Gao, Mr. Yang, Chefs at the Linden Center
- Mr. Yang, Golden Flower Restaurant
- Market Vendors
- Shao Guo Mi Xian Restaurant
- Any local dish vending restaurant
- Any Restaurant in Si Fang Jie
- Jeanie Linden
- Linden Center Chefs
- Previous students Microcampus projects
Mr. Tafel also told me to just choose 1-3 local authentic dishes and learn how to make those.
I know that I have done enough interviews because I have many sources and some names have started recurring. I feel that learning to make food will take a while and building trust with locals in order for them to share their culinary secrets will also take a while. I may only have time to learn to make 3 of the local dishes and I do not need this many sources and this many people to learn from. With this list, I think that I have more than enough sources.
I was also tasked to find books and book topics from the Linden Center that might help me. I was given one title, Yunnan Travel, and the topics that I would use would be Yunnan foods, cuisine, and culture.
I have now finished this phase of my inquiry project and have gathered many sources from in and out of Xizhou village. I will now move on to Phase 3 where I will be researching and interviewing in Xizhou.