Dissertation Writing Example — 10

Indian Culture and Cuisine

The country of India offers an exciting array of offerings—from its very interesting culture, and way of life of the people, down to the kinds of food it showcases. India’s food is categorized into three classifications—Tamas Satva, Rajas, and Sattva. Thamas actually resembles indulgence, Sattva on the other hand signifies balance, and Rajas is associated to passion. The lifestyle of the person determines as to what kind of food he/ she is to consume. To make it more concrete and definitive, an example can be helpful. Like the case of a King, he has the role of defending his country that is why the kind of food that he should take is the one that gives him the passion and the aggressiveness to stand against the enemies.  However, when one opts to have his life in sought for self-realization, Sattvic diet or Food classified as Sattva would be the best to consume to gain and maintain balance and keep one’s mind at peace.  On the other hand, in the case of Thamasic food, it should only be taken in when needed or required on occasions and special events. These Thamasic diets are also know as static foods like alcohol. This has been the main reason why drinking is not widely practiced by Hindus.

The vast scope of Cuisine of the country is brought about by the introduction of Spices and herbs which are sophisticatedly and subtly seasoned in Indian foods. Each classification of Indian menus are typified by the variety of dish assortments employed with different techniques of cooking. It must be noted that Indian dishes which are traditional in nature include goat, fish, chicken, lamb, and other meat with the exception of cows, a large percentage of the food in the country is vegetarian.  The country of India is widely famous for its adherence in using spices and herbs in every food at hand playing significant part in common and ordinary life most especially during festivals. Varying from different regions, cuisines of the country greatly mirror down the kind of cultural variation and demographical stratification the country has. In the general sense, there are five classifications of the country’s cuisines: eastern, northern, western, and north-eastern food.  However, despite of the differences and distinctions of the country’s food; some lights of unity is also visible. One of these is the varied application of spices and herbs which serves as one of the fundamentals in preparing Indian food. These spices and herb are utilized to improve the tastiness and flavor of every Indian dish to yield a palatable taste aroma. With India’s cuisines as influenced by numerous cultural denominations which include the Mughals, Persians, and Colonists from Europe, Indian dishes serve a particular group which is deeply rooted from history and culture. One of the famous specialized dishes include the tandoori dishes, which are actually a chicken tikka seasoned with Indian spices and ingredients.

All throughout the world, Indian cuisines are widely known and popular. This has something to do with the history of the country as India had its spices and herbs which were made as trade commodities. Due to the dominance of Arab traders in the region, European explorers and trader opted for new routes leading to new discoveries. The curry has been discovered and become so famous across Asia, it actually originated in India which created the popular pan-Asian dish.  Some Indian cuisines thatare considered staples include atta — whole wheat flour, rice, and pulses varieties.  The most important among the Indian staples are the red lentil or called by its native name as masoor, Bengal gram or Channa, yellow pea or pigeon pea or toor in the native dialect, black gram or urad, and green gram which is called as moong in the Indian language. Pulses can actually be prepared as a whole. An example of this is the dhuli moong or dhuli urad. Channa and moong are some of the pulses which can be processed into a besan or flour.

Most curries in the country are cooked using a vegetable oil. However, western and northern India, the most popular way of cooking curries is through peanut oil; while mustard oil is usually utilized in eastern part of the country. On the other hand, on the western part especially in Kerala, coconut oils are prevalently used, and the south usually used sesame oil or gingelly in the native tongue. At the present context, soybean oil and oil from sunflower has been in its wide use in the entire country replacing the formerly widely used Vanaspati ghee—or termed as hydrogenated vegetable oil.  Chili pepper is one of the spices that is mostly used in Indian cuisines. Other seasonings also include black mustard seed or raj, cumin or jeera, fenugreek or methi, turmeric or haldi, asafetida or hing, coriander or dhania, ginger or adrak,and garlic or leshun in the native term. Garam masala is one of the spices mixes which is widely known and popular. This is actually a powder made from five combinations of dried spices which include clove cardamom, and cinnamon.  Another sweet spice which is similar to the one mentioned earlier is Goda Masala widely known in the region of Maharashtra. Moreover, Indian cuisines also make use of leaves like bay leaf or tejpat, fenugreek leaf, mint leaf, and coriander leaf. Another leaf that is also utilized in the enhancements of Indian flavors is the curry leaves and roots which is famous in the Southern region of India.  The country of India is definitely a place of various cultures, practices, beliefs, and food. With the kind of regional division the country has, it offers a variety of dishes which are sure to be mouth-watering and flavorful even to foreign palates.

Walter, Edvardsson, & Ostrom (2010) deal with the identification, portrayal, and analysis of the frequent drivers or customer service experiences, and describes these experiences in the customers’ own words.  In this study, 122 interviews were conducted, and 195 narratives both favorable and unfavorable based on actual customer experiences were designed for a critical incident technique study.  Data from these interviews and narratives were analyzed using an inductive process and then the results were determined from extracts of the narratives.  The study findings describe the interactions of customers’ favorable and unfavorable experiences with customer service drivers, and also show the social interactions in these encounters, the core service in these encounters, and the physical context of each of these encounters.  Limitations to this research might include the fact that most customer experiences are more processes than experiences, and therefore these dynamic relationships and interactions involve both the drivers and the customers as co-producers.  Also the context of the study was limited to customers who are Swedish and customer interactions that take place entirely within a restaurant setting.  The implications of the study suggest that great efforts need to be made on the part of managers to make sure that all facets of the customer service interaction are examined and understood (Walter, Edvardsson, & Ostrom, 2010).

The study that this articles writes about involved 122 interviews and 195 narratives about good and bad customer service experiences.  In this study, the researchers were trying to determine what constitutes a favorable or unfavorable customer service experience, and also looks at the identification, portrayal, and analysis of frequent drivers of customer service experiences.  The experiences are written in the words of the customers who participated in this study.  These interviews and narratives regarding customer service experiences were analyzed for what data they contained using an inductive process, and then the exact results were extrapolated from the narratives.  The findings of the study describe both favorable and unfavorable customer/customer service driver interactions.  These results also reference the social interactions in these encounters, both positive and negative, the core service issues in these encounters, both positive and negative, and the physical context of all of the encounters included in the narratives.  This article also states that limitations to this type of research might be that most of the time experiences between customers and customer service drivers are more typical as processes than simple experiences, and so because these relationships are so dynamic and changing, both the customers service drivers and the customers are co-producers of the experience (Walter, Edvardsson, & Ostrom, 2010).

Mahadevan and Blair (2009) conducted a study about food choices and eating habits of south Indian Brahmin immigrants that are attending State College in Pennsylvania.  This article references the cultural and religious dietary restrictions adhered to by many south Indian Brahmin immigrants.  In the study that the article references, the factors were examined that could influence changes to these religious and cultural dietary strictures, and these changes were examined with twenty-eight participants.  The testing that the participants experienced were semi-structured interviews based on the PRECEDE framework that asked about food and eating habits.  Observations by the participants and about the participants were also factored into the results of this study.  Many points of the article also deal with the levels of food acculturation among the participants of the study, and how they represent a larger acculturation taking place.  In general, the participants of the study reported that their experiences and lifestyles at State College represented a “delicate balance” between their cultural experiences and traditions, trying to balance fitting in with their peers in regards to eating habits and practices, and dealing with a large selection of north Indian cuisine available in the area, rather than south Indian cuisine that would more be a part of their culture.  This article talks about a study that was conducted to examine the factors that influence changes in the eating habits and food choices of south Indian Brahmin immigrants who are attending State College in Pennsylvania.  The study conducted tested twenty-eight participants in a semi-structured interview setting about their eating habits and food habits.  These interviews were based on the PRECEDE framework, and participant observations were also factored into the results.  The data analysis of this study used grounded theory generated themes to discover the level of food acculturation among the participants.  The participants reported that their experiences in adjusting to life at State College were a “delicate balance” in keeping up with the traditions of their south Indian heritage, adapting to a town that offers north Indian cuisine more frequently than south Indian cuisine, and in simply trying to blend in with the eating habits of their classmates.  This article also focuses a great deal on the changes in Asian Indian population in the United States, and the cultural differences in each regional population of Asian Indians.  It hits four major points-modification of a vegetarian lifestyle, the changes in meal patterns, changes to the degree of usage of ethnic foods, and the changes of frequency in use of foods of other cultures available in America (Mahadevan & Blair, 2009).

Skålén (2009) conducted a study involving a theory that the right combination of disciplinary powers and pastoral powers in a customer-oriented workplace environment can help front-line employees better becomes proactive in their customer dealings, rather than reactive.  It also talks about how to create subjectivity and accountability in your front-line employees by utilizing a combination of these disciplinary powers and pastoral powers.  One of the major premises of the article is that having customer-oriented employees that are more proactive in their customer dealings, rather than reactive in their customer dealings is favorable.  In this article, this specific test case is analyzed by using Foucault’s ideas of disciplinary and pastoral powers, and then continues to state that using the principles of service marketing practice, front-line employees dealing with customers will become more subjective in the execution of their duties.  The case study that this article deals with involves a service firm that draws on practices of service marketing routinely to make and enforce management and policy guidelines for an organization.  This article concludes that based on the study, service marketing research will help an organization form better general management practices that will better train employees and improve customer-oriented service interactions.   This article focuses on service marketing practices, and how they contribute to customer-orienting employee subjectivity, as well as what extent they contribute to this subjectivity.  This article reports on a specific case study of a service firm that draws on service marketing practices as a routine part of the management of the organization.  This article analyzes this case by using Foucault’s ideas of pastoral and disciplinary power, and then states that by using the principles of service marketing practice, employees, especially front-line employees, will become more proactive in the subjectivity of their jobs.  This article also suggests that front-line employees become more knowledgeable about their jobs and rates of proactive customer interactions by employing the disciplinary power of service marketing practices.  This also suggests that these disciplinary powers help employees to become less reactive in their interactions with customers and more proactive in customer service.  The article then follows with the theory that after the disciplinary powers have been applied, pastoral powers will help employees to draw on their existing knowledge and further engender the subjectivity of front-line employees as more proactive.  The conclusion drawn in this article is that service marketing research should help an organization form general management practices that can be maintained by their employees (Skålén, 2009).

Gregory and Kim (2005) examine whether knowing about a restaurant or not knowing about a restaurant influences a customer’s decision on whether or not to eat there.  The basic question that this study set out to answer is how much the role of information about a particular restaurant factored into the choices that customers make about where to eat.  This study was conducted by handing out self-administered questionnaires to adult patrons of several different restaurants.  Four questions were developed by the researchers to try and answer this question of the role of information.  The first question was “What are the differences in consumers’ restaurant choice preferences when they have or do not have prior information about a restaurant?”  The second question was “What kinds of information sources are influential in restaurant selection?”  The third question was “What demographic variables coupled with or without information impact choice?”  And the fourth question was “How does the frequency of dining out affect choice when the patron does or does not have prior knowledge about the restaurant?”  The results of the testing suggest that receiving information from friends or family was one of the most important factors, and that also people who more frequently dine out place a greater importance of having information about a restaurant  (Gregory & Kim, 2005).

The article focuses on the role of information about a particular restaurant to help patrons choose which restaurant that they want to frequent.  This study wanted to examine the impact of how information given to a potential customer about a restaurant changed or influenced the decision to eat at that restaurant.  The methods used in the study were self-administered questionnaires that were handed out to adult patrons at different restaurants.  There seemed to be a great difference in the importance of location and food quality in choosing a place to eat based on lack of information or availability.  The study also shows that the most important sources of information were from relatives or friends who recommended the particular restaurant.  Another factor that had a profound impact on choosing a particular restaurant was the lack of information about that restaurant coupled with variables of a demographic nature. This study also suggests that the more often that people surveyed dine out at various restaurants, the more importance that they place on having information about value for their money.  Four questions were developed to test these variables: 1. What are the differences in consumers’ restaurant choice preferences when they have or do not have prior information about a restaurant; 2. What kinds of information sources are influential in restaurant selection; 3. What demographic variables coupled with or with\out information impact choice; and 4. How does the frequency of dining out affect choice when the patron does or does not have prior knowledge about the restaurant? (Gregory & Kim, 2005).

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