Lecturer in Global Health , Maastricht University
Contributing Editor, Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
About Ashley Thuthao Keng
Ashley "Thao" Dam is a medical anthropologist, budding ethnobotanist, and lecturer in global health at Maastricht University (NL). Thao also writes, draws, photographs and speaks about food on under the name @ThaoEatWorld.
Contributions to Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
“Are you seriously telling me that this hot mash of mushrooms and fruit is going to completely heal his wounds?” (Gilbert 2019) It is summer 2020 and I, like many others, am sequestered indoors clutching my recently acquired Nintendo Switch playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH). In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world seemed to swarm either to their handy technological devices or towards the soothing arms of nature. Luckily for me, my technological device included encounters with some virtual greenery—the trees and flowers of my beloved tropical Animal Crossing island. (more…) (read more...)
During my first semester of undergrad, I began my truly independent cooking journey—a path many have taken before me, but few survive. After weeks of failing to replicate one of my mother’s simplest dishes, scrambled eggs with jasmine rice, I was devastated. Arriving home for winter break, I told her about my struggles—how I looked up many recipes online and tried making them all, adding milk, sprinkling in cheese, whisking the eggs with a particular technique. Nothing seemed to replicate the correct taste or texture. The familiar experience of the eggs was absent. She laughed at me and explained she made them “Khmer style,” to which I promptly replied, “What’s ‘Khmer Style?'” Half smirking and rolling her eyes, Ma explained that the scrambled eggs have fish sauce, green onions, and black pepper in them. “Make sure you use the good fish sauce okay? Either Three Crabs Brand or the Squid (read more...)
Digital technologies have increasingly penetrated aspects of daily routines and practices — this has only been exacerbated by the conditions put forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Technologies mediate experiences, thereby generating new forms of engagement with the world (Ihde, 1990). One arena of such digitalization and increased technological entanglement is food; over the last decades, the processes of procuring, growing, preparing, and eating foodstuffs have been inundated with new technologies (Lewis, 2018). From cooking robots and “smart” kitchen appliances to virtual online communities devoted to sharing food-related content and discussing food politics, interactions with food have transformed considerably. These transformations warrant additional inquiries into how food and surrounding processes of tasting and eating may manifest differently in accordance with such technologically-intertwined conditions. (more…) (read more...)