June 3, 2023

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The View On Cooking

“Love Language of Food”: Student Film Project Spotlights Cuisine as Common Denominator Across Cultures, Continents

05/24/2022 – 09:35am | By: David Tisdale

USM Media and Entertainment Arts (MEA) students in the School of Communication spent the last year in a collaboration with students at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, for their production of the short film “The Food That Binds: Building Cultural Relationships Across the Table” focusing on how the preparation and enjoyment of food can be the common denominators that bridges multiple differences between people around the world.

USM Media and Leisure Arts (MEA) pupils in the University of Interaction used
the very last yr in a collaboration with pupils at Thammasat University in Bangkok,
Thailand, for their generation of the shorter movie “The Foodstuff That Binds: Developing Cultural
Relationships Throughout the Table” focusing on how the preparing and pleasure of foods
can be the popular denominators that bridge discrepancies concerning persons all around the planet.

Differences in language, society, political and religious beliefs could present limitations
to creating interactions amongst, say, a Hattiesburg resident and a citizen of
Bangkok, Thailand.

But a shorter documentary created by college students in The College of Southern Mississippi
(USM) Faculty of Communications’ Media and Leisure Arts (MEA) plan, in collaboration
with counterparts at a university in Thailand, intends to exhibit its audiences that
regardless of the variations between individuals about the environment, coming jointly around a delightful
meal can bridge these chasms.

The “Breaking Bread Film Challenge,” a collaboration between Breakthrough Now Media
and The Innovation Station at the U.S. Office of State, delivers film and media
creators from global and U.S. Gulf Coast places to function on new shorter-sort
material influenced by their shared experiences and concepts. As a result of this collaborative,
creators from five U.S. states and 5 nations around the world are paired and tasked with conceptualizing
and building a brief film or other project addressing the intersection involving foods
insecurity, traditions, and innovation. The software culminates in a showcase of the
collaborative initiatives.

Mississippi/USM is partnered with Thammasat College in Bangkok, Thailand, for their
manufacturing “The Foodstuff That Binds: Creating Cultural Associations Throughout the Table”
to be screened in July at the Capital Screening Sequence in Washington, D.C., at the
United Nations, and at consulates and husband or wife stakeholders in the U.S. and in the
spouse Asian country’s university and consulates. It will also be screened at the
Catalyst Festival in Duluth, Minnesota in September.

Representatives of Breaking Bread connected with Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer, professor in
the USM University of Conversation and senior college member in its MEA plan, about
participation from her learners for the undertaking. They involve Zack Eddy of Petal,
Mississippi Mia Slone of Alexandria, Virginia Eli Goff of Gautier, Mississippi
and Alisia Powell of Picayune, Mississippi.

With advisement from Dr. Sheffer and her MEA faculty colleague Jared Hollingsworth,
these learners concentrated their exploration on the communal part of meals, analyzing the
dynamics of preparation and conversation at mealtime through the enter of restauranters,
cooks and other culinary gurus, as effectively as ‘foodies’ from throughout the Magnolia Condition
who like sharing foods with household, mates, and even strangers.

Eddy noted how the two cultures use many of the very same staple food items – rice, fish, and a
wide variety of greens, as examples – in making time-honored recipes, making use of distinct
forms of seasoning and preparing variations, in the farm-to-kitchen-to-desk approach
one of a kind to the communities profiled in the documentary.

“What we want to present with this film is the commonality between people today, revealed via
the enjoyment of getting ready and eating delightful meals, no make any difference the place they are geared up
or with whom they are shared with,” he mentioned.

Goff said he did not be expecting the task to be as expansive as he at first assumed.
“I’m extra of an ‘eat-to-live’ form of individual as opposed to the ‘live-to-eat’ people today
who are passionate about foods in means I could not understand,” he ongoing. “It was not
right until we started out genuinely listening to other people’s perspectives on foods society –
in Mississippi as properly as other locations in the planet – that I recognized foodstuff plays a
sizeable function in not only people’s personal lives, but in making group as
properly. In simple fact, it is made me recognize my individual family far more, as I consider back to all
the periods my spouse and children would come jointly and bond above cooking.”

He stated this concept was cemented in his thoughts as the staff reached out to community cooks
and cafe owners and saw how fired up they have been to notify them about what they prepare dinner
and why it matters to them.

“Cooking is not only an action to bond about, but it is the foundation for building interactions
in Mississippi as properly as Thailand,” Goff ongoing. “We all have to take in. Why not
do it alongside one another?”

Slone concurred. “When you sit down at the desk for a meal, you arrive to see that
you are not as distinct from individuals from other cultures, other locations, as you feel,”
she explained. “It reveals we’re a lot more alike than not.

“You set some superior food items in entrance of me at the desk with other people, and I can be
buddies with any person.”

For Powell, the task underscored for her what she now comprehended about how
correct this dynamic is in her indigenous South. “Being ‘Southern’ suggests shut bonds, and
when we get jointly for a meal, it does not make a difference about race, ethnicity, gender,
or politics, since we’re all family members in the close.” 

Teamwork and persistence have been beneficial characteristics exercised by the staff in operating with
yet another group of pupils at one more college midway all around the globe, only a couple
of whom can discuss English. “It’s been a learning knowledge for all of us,” Dr. Sheffer
further observed.

Dr. Edgar Simpson, director of the USM College of Communication, praised Dr. Sheffer
for facilitating a undertaking for her college students with such prominence in profile and access.

“Our faculty are constantly trying to get prospects to deliver our students with new and
distinctive opportunities,” Dr. Simpson continued. “This venture is an instance of how technology,
these kinds of as sound and video, transcends standard boundaries.”

Goff hopes when audiences see the team’s documentary, they occur to realize foods
is “a enjoy language spanning tradition.”

“Even although Mississippi and Thailand are worlds away from every single other, and no make any difference
how diverse people seem to be around the globe, everybody arrives collectively when they’re taking in,”
he reported.

For data about the USM School of Interaction, go to https://www.usm.edu/interaction/index.php.