nutrition in the field

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Sat, 8 Apr 1995 14:40:42 CDT

I think the question of nutrition in the field is a good one. I
personally lost over 20 lbs. in one short 2 month field trip (and
I was pretty slender to begin with). How do people deal with this
problem? What do people do when important items of the local diet
are too disgusting to one's palette or when one is unaccustomed to
eating large enough quantities of carbohydrates to maintain normal
levels of caloric intake? I also see a serious rapport problem w/
going into a site w/out provisions or the means to obtain them.
Seems to me an anthro who shows up w/out food would be perceived as
a mooch. One can't possibly expect to jump right into food sharing
situations right off the bat. Of course, this problem is different
in different sites. I'd be really interested to hear other people's
experiences in this regard.

Chagnon talks about this both in _Yanomamo_ and _Studying the Yanomamo_.
Maybury-Lewis talks about it in _Savage & the innocent_ where he and
his family worked w/ the Sherente and Shavante. Basso talks about it
in her Kalapalo ethnography. Chagnon lost lots of weight and ate
peanut butter and honey with strong coffee once per day and made a big
meal for himself once a week. Maybury-Lewis periodically bought a cow
to share with the village and commissioned women to make large quantities
of manioc flour for his family and him. Basso brought some food with
her that she ended up having to share with the household she lived in.

Marsha and I made periodic trips to the nearest town to buy some supplements,
which we shared with the rest of the household we were living with. And
once we bought a whole goat for a feast, but when it came time to eat we
only got a portion of spine! (We haven't yet figured out why, perhaps they
thought one part was as good as the next, or maybe it was for some other
reciprocal exchange where our hosts thought we were stingy.)

Rob Quinlan