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Getting Serious

Annotated Bibliography

1. Luis Guerrero, Maria Dolors Guardia, Joan Xicola, Wim Verbeke, Filiep Vanhonacker,
Sylwia Zakowska-Biemans, Marta Sajdakowska, Claire Sulmont-Rosse´, Sylvie Issanchou,
Michele Contel, M. Luisa Scalvedi, Britt Signe Granli, Margrethe Hersleth. “Consumer-driven definition of traditional food products and innovation in traditional foods. A qualitative cross-cultural study” Appetite Journal 52 (2009): 345-354. Science Direct. Web. 15 Apr. 2010.

The aim of this study was to obtain a consumer-driven definition for the concept of traditional food products and innovation and to compare these across six European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Poland and Spain) by means of semantic and textual statistical analyses. One of the most important take away from reading this article is how research was performed. The results were obtained through focus groups and individual discussions. I leveraged this idea for my research and decided to do independent surveys of individuals who choose to eat from the halal vendors.

2. Saki Knafo. “Decline of the Dog” The New York Times (June 29, 2007): Acedemic Search Complete. Web. 15 Apr. 2010.

This artcile has great content on the history of street vendors in NYC.  Knafo goes on to interview various halal vendors and he learned that people are looking for a meal, a hot dog is not a meal. For $5 customers can grab a tray of aromatic rice topped with perfectly seasoned chicken or lamb. Knafo stated “Although the city doesn’t collect statistics that distinguish between different types of street food, halal vendors generally agree that their ranks have swelled in the last five to eight years” The most obvious reason for the populatiry in halal food is due to the large increase in the Muslim population. Arthur Schwartz, a New York food historian who runs the Web site foodmaven.com, also suggests that a particular kind of customer has been instrumental to the success of halal carts. ”You can always tell who the new immigrant group is by the cabdrivers,” Mr. Schwartz said. ”Most of the cabdrivers are now Bangladeshi, and the car service drivers are Egyptian. And they are good customers for the carts.”

3. Walter Nicholas. “Roll Over, Hot Dogs; Friends Jump Into an Expanding Street-Cart Scene With Shawarmas and a
Dream” The Washington Post (August 29, 2007): Acedemic Search Complete. Web. 15 Apr. 2010.

Walter Nicholas explains how a vendor cart is far less expensive to operate than a bricks-and-mortar business, and it can be lucrative. But the opportunity has to be there to capitalize, in the article Nicholas shows that in some markets the Middle Eastern food is a bit more difficult for people to be comfortable with compared to a hot dog.

Methodology

For my research and decided to do independent surveys of individuals who choose to eat from the halal vendors and perform interviews of the actual vendors. I wanted to understand the consumers choice for choosing this less than common food. I also wanted to understand what social and economic factors that influenced the substantial increase in halal vendor. I handed out questionnaires to people on line and people that pull up on the street ordering from their cars or work vans. I was able to distribute and collect over 20 responses in less than 15 minutes since there were so many customer. I interviewed the two vendors on Kissena Boulevard on opposite ends of Queens College.

The Survey has been posted in my last post. I decided to do a simple survey since customers are in a rush and hungry. Most of the people were very cooperative.

Visuals:

I took photos of the customers to understand if there was some visual clue to why certain customers prefer halal food over others, these photos backed up my survey and helped me understand the customer. I also took photos of the actual vendor carts and cart owners.

Consent:

I gained consent from the questionnaire takers. I included a disclosure at the bottom of the questionnaire. Please refer to the survey post for the details of the disclosure. I gained verbal consent for the the vendor and explained the reason for research.

Survey – Halal food customers

Name: (optional)

Age:

Race:

1. What is the most attractive feature about Halal food to you? Please rank the from most attractive to least (1 – Most attractive, 4 – Least attractive)

___    Value (amount of food you get for your money)

___   Taste

___    Cultural/religious reasons

___    Convenience

2. Why do prefer Halal food over other food choices?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. How long have you been eating Halal food?

­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________

4. Have you notice a significant increase in the amount of Halal food vendors around New York City? If so, what do think has contributed to it?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please intial below if you give me permission to use the information you provided above in a research project studying the halal food boom. You can find the study at http://nalicia21.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/

___________________

Images of Street Food

Like many of those famed traveling food writers on the Travel channel I am all about delicious, different and delectable foods. The other thing that I have in common with these food writers is that many of the best dishes can be found on the street. That’s right street vendors are exploding in popularity around the city and thankfully the food options are only getting better. For this blog entry I wanted to profile Halal food vendors, or as my friends and I refer to it as chicken and rice. In the two years I been at Queens college there has been not one, but two of these carts popping up around campus and the fact that they are still around gives proof of their success. My first encounter with “street food’ was about 6 years ago in Manhattan, it was about 4 in the AM and my friends and I are a bit tipsy and more importantly starving. We were tipped off by someone we meet that the go to place is 53rd and 6th; when we arrived the line for food stretched half a NYC avenue, that’s about 80 people in front of me, and the line only grew behind me. Check out the photo from the NY Times:

Photo from NY Times, Link: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/where-the-club-crowd-eats-at-4-am-on-the-weekend/

Below is a shot of the plate I received about a few months back.

I think the main reason for the cult following for this food is:

  1. Availability (Where else your going to find middle eastern food at 4am)
  2. Inexpensive ($5 for a large tray of chicken or lamb over seasoned rice, white sauce and hot sauce included)
  3. Tasty (cant argue with the lines)

But there are also some visual cues to study, is this food only for drunk club and bar goers? Is there a social stigma associated with street food? Where did halal street food come from? I plan I answering these and other questions relating to the social popularity of halal street food in my final project.

Final Project Proposal – Taste Shift

My final proposal is one that affects many people and most people might not even recognize it. It’s what you eat, that’s right, I wanted to look at the shift from so called ‘bland’ foods to the more ethnic cuisines that have become so main-stream. Why do I see a Halal cart in almost every neighborhood these days? Why when I ask my husband for dinner options we have choices from all around the world? To study this visually, I will take photos of different foods, ethnic restaurants and food carts, and photos of the lines for ethnic foods versus non-ethnic foods. Also, to understand these changes in people’s taste and the boom of these different cuisines I will perform surveys and interviews, research the history of ethnic restaurants and try to understand what had steered the masses to ethnic foods.

My Research Experience

When this assignment was assigned, I was both nerves and excited. I was nerves about the group idea, working with someone who I probably have nothing in common with.  I was excited to get some hands on experience with my final project without all the pressure.

When I was teamed up with Stephanie, I didn’t know what to expect at first but once we started talking and she took the first role as Dr. Researcher everything went well.  As Dr. Researcher she addresses the question “necessary improvements on Queens College campus”.  Stephanie ask me what changes do I think needed to be made at Queens’s college campus and the first think I thought of was parking issue for students. She made me feel very comfortable in answering her questions, in the sense that she opened up too me bout her own experience with the parking issue. We went outside to the nearest parking lot to have a look at the parking issue on campus, while we were walking; we were still talking, so the interview didn’t feel as an interview but like a conversation.  When we got to the parking lot, there were about two spots available but this was after 3pm so most students were already gone for the day.  The reason why I have such an issue with parking, is I start at 10am and their have been occasions where I’ve missed class because I could find a spot.  I never bother with the lottery for parking because you and your still not guaranteed a spot. I was wondering, sine we have more commuters students compared to residents, wouldn’t it be wiser to have more parking lots instead of a dorm?

When it came time to switch roles I was Dr. Researcher and I wanted to find out about the quality of dining facilities on Queens College campus, because my personal experience were not the best.  Honestly, I had expected Stephanie’s experience to be either the same as mine or similar to mine so we headed out to the diner in student union. I tried my best make Stephanie feel as comfortable as she did for me, so kept the conversation going as I asked her “what do you think about the dining facilities on campus”?  To my surprise, she said “it’s pretty good and she doesn’t have a problem with it.”  I was surprise because I have always experience it to very crowded at all time.  As we entered the diner, I was shock, it was so empty, no lines, and lots of seats to sit and have a meal.  I have just been going there at the wrong time.

Assignment #1

Hello everyone, my name is Nalicia Poonai and here is what I would like to share with you about myself. I was born in Guyana, educated in America and at age 25 I have been married 8 months to my boyfriend of 7 years. I stared college in 2003 as an Accounting major where we met my husband who later went on accomplishing a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hofstra University and CPA. I am a senior here at Queens graduating with a bachelor in Sociology and hopefully start my masters of education in the fall.

When I was asked to take a picture of something that describes me I was very lost not because I don’t know what I like but how can I put all these things together. After thinking about it for some time now, this is what I came up with. I really enjoy traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures, site seeing and shopping. I have a love for Broadway shows and the environment. When I am not traveling or going to shows, I am cooking and baking for my families. I enjoy being with my family all the time and I am really looking forward to my own family in the future.

Beth Israel Ovbservation

Beth Israel Hospital is located on 1st Avenue and 16th Street. While in my car parked across the street from the hospital I observed the following. The loud bus running, specifically the M15; the bus was accompanied by a lot of other traffic. I also notice big red sight seeing buses, I guess this area has a few interesting sites to see. On the streets were people riding bicycles, both for work and leisure, and people exercising. There are always people who are trying to flag down cabs, and at the same time cabs dropping people off.

There is a subway and lots of restaurants near by, there is a Japanese restaurant, pizzeria, Chinese restaurant, deli, Bagel store, and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

The people were of mixed culture, ethnicity, and age, ranging from old white women to young Asian children. There were people walking in and out of the many business in the area; including a bank, photo lab, flower shop, and pharmacy. The people, who did not walk, ran. Seems like they were running to the subway or they were late for something. There was of course tourist who walked very slow trying to absorb the city. And getting in their way was the people walking their dogs and the normal New York speed walkers. These amazing New Yorkers multitasked as well; almost everyone was listening to their iPod or talking on their cell phones. I found it a bit weird that I was in Manhattan and I did spot too many suit wearers. I guess their all downtown or in midtown.

The Hospital had a lot of traffic at the front entrance. I noticed nurses leaving for the day, going on smoke breaks, getting lunch, or simply just coming out for some fresh air.

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Beth Israel Hospital is located on 1st Avenue and 16th Street. While in my car parked across the street from the hospital I observed the following. The loud bus running, specifically the M15; the bus was accompanied by a lot of other traffic. I also notice big red sight seeing buses, I guess this area has a few interesting sites to see. On the streets were people riding bicycles, both for work and leisure, and people exercising. There are always people who are trying to flag down cabs, and at the same time cabs dropping people off.

At around 2pm students from Stuyvesant High School were also making their way to the subway or to the many restaurants. Speaking of the restaurants, there is a Japanese restaurant, pizzeria, Chinese restaurant, deli, Bagel store, and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

The people were of mixed culture, ethnicity, and age, ranging from old white women to young Asian children. There were people walking in and out of the many business in the area; including a bank, photo lab, flower shop, and pharmacy. The people, who did not walk, ran. Seems like they were running to the subway or they were late for something. There was of course tourist who walked very slow trying to absorb the city. And getting in their way was the people walking their dogs and the normal New York speed walkers. These amazing New Yorkers multitasked as well; almost everyone was listening to their iPod or talking on their cell phones. I found it a bit weird that I was in Manhattan and I did spot too many suit wearers. I guess their all downtown or in midtown.

The Hospital had a lot of traffic at the front entrance. I noticed nurses leaving for the day, going on smoke breaks, getting lunch, or simply just coming out for some fresh air. The patients or visitors that were going in and coming out seemed to be mainly comprised of the lower class. I think this has to do with the fact that there is a housing development right across 1st Avenue. The verbal interactions between people of different origins were few. There might be an occasional tourist asking for direction or someone saying “thanks, sorry or excuse me.” The flow of walking traffic was smooth, the native New Yorkers moved without a misstep, while the tourist did not.

 

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