Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
In Phase 1, I summarized what I already know about my inquiry project and what I want to know about my inquiry project. Now as the journey continues it is time to find some resources and develop some possible answers to my questions.
Some keywords I use for researching on the Internet would be Yunnan, food, cuisine, transformation, spices, ingredients, crops and products. I can also combine those words together; for example "Yunnan food" or "Yunnan food products". I decided not to add connecting words like to or for because they will give me less results. I choose Yunnan because it is the place we are going to and the province we will be studying on. I choose food, products and cuisine because my inquiry project title includes those three words. I choose transformation because I want to know how Yunnan food transformed over time. I choose spices, ingredients and crops because I want to know the relationship between these words.
I make sure that my information is useful and correct by observing the site. First, I look at the format of the site. If the format is messy and ugly it will most likely not be a good site. Second, I look at the title and the subtitles. If the title and the subtitle are unrelated to my inquiry project than it would not be the information I need. Third, I scan through the paragraphs and look for key words. If I can't find three or more of my key words than it will most likely not be the information I need. Fourth, I look for statements that are not true. If I find statements that I know that are not true than the information is probably not correct. I am sure that after these four steps it will create a filter and eliminate the websites that are not useful or incorrect.
I can find out the person who published the information by pressing, "command find". Normally I just need to type in "by" or "author" but depending on the situation I can type in different things such as "publisher" or "company". I can also scroll to the bottom of the site and look for the author or the publisher.
One of the experts I found was Jen Lin Liu (firstname.lastname@example.org), I choose her because she wrote books about the Chinese Cuisine and has replied many students from other schools around the world. She is also an expert in cooking and an author.
Here is the letter I wrote:
Dear Ms. Jen Lin Liu
I am Catherine W., and right now I am an eighth grader who is attending this project called the "Microcampus" in my school (Shanghai American School). I observed that you are an expert in the Chinese Cuisine. The day after tomorrow I will be leaving to Xizhou, Yunnan to attend "Microcampus". The purpose of going to Microcampus is to explore the "Real China" and learn about it. The project I will be working when I am there will be food products and cuisine. I have recorded the entire process of my project here - http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/projects/blogs/713/students.
I have developed ten major questions that I am interested in (please look through them):
What ingredients are mostly used in a Yunnan dish?
What spices are mostly used in a Yunnan dish?
How does the neighboring provinces affect the native cuisine?
How did it get transmitted to Yunnan? How did the dishes get passed down?
Why do they choose to make Rice Base Products instead of other products?
How does the harvest of the crops affect the ingredients and dishes?
What role does rice play in the Yunnan cuisine?
Did the Cultural Revolution change the taste and the style of the Yunnan food?
How did the Yunnan cuisine change over time?
How might the high altitude affect the native cuisine?
Please provide some feedback to my project and recommend some resources to me, but please do not answer all of the questions because the process of figuring out the answer is also really important.
Thank you for your help,
In the next section you will be reading the "3-5s". The "3-5s" are three to five local resources from different people. The "3-5s" are use to find helpful experts that will give me useful information for my project in Xizhou.
Mr. T: First Person
Mr. T recommended the "Old Town Snack Restaurant" (famous for the "Tai Fei Chao Fan"). He said that the main chef there is from Sichuan and he might bring his cooking style with him. He also recommended the Muslim restaurant because they have a special way of cooking required in the Muslim faith called the "Kalao" also known as "Qing Zhen”. Another resource he recommended were the general people working at the restaurant because many snacks and dishes can be transmitted from different areas. He also said that there is also a lot of tourist in this area so in many restaurants to fit the tourist's appetite they needed to change some of the cooking style. He also mentioned that talking to the chefs of other restaurant is also really helpful. In general he said to talk to a variety of people who is involve in food or cooking.
Annalise: First Person
Annalise recommended the old lady in "Gu Zhen Xiao Chi". She is from Yunnan, Zhao tong. She also said that she might transmit some of the cooking techniques to Xizhou. She also recommended a video called "China on the Tip of a Snake's Tongue". She said that there was a lot of information about how Yunnan's food changed over time and how other provinces effected Yunnan overtime. Like Mr. T she also recommended the Muslim restaurants. She also mentioned about how most of the dishes have been originated here.
Bryce: First Person
Brice said that he dose not know a lot of experts about this topic but he did mention that Xiao Tang knows a lot of information. He also said that there could be information in the Muslim quarter.
Mrs. Mai: First Person
Mrs. Mai recommended the chef here at "Yang Zhou Ran". She knows a lot of different types of food and what is originated here. Mrs. Mai also recommended the chef at the "Linden Center". She mentioned that Mrs. Linden could help me recommended what chef knows most about my project. She also said that there is a "Mi Xian" restaurant right down the road. She said that it could give me some information about my project. Like Mr. T and Annalise she also recommended the Muslim quarter.
Fay: First Person
Fay recommended the restaurant in the "Si Fang Jie" and the wife of the "Golden Flower Restaurant ". Like Mrs. Mai she also mentioned the kitchen staff here at "Yang Zhou Ran". She also said that old lady in the town might know a little about the history of the food.
Books in the Linden Centre can also help my project by giving me information. I can read a book that is about the food history, since my project is mainly focusing on the transmission of food from other provinces and how food changed over time in Yunnan. Another topic I can read a book about is the history of Yunnan. It can help me understand more about the culture of Yunnan and help me make connections with my project.