Marieke Brandt (2017) and John Postill (2016) have written about using social media to do anthropological research in places that are difficult to reach; it is also valuable when you are living in the same area. Scanning social media in Dhofar helps me to understand how food is conceptualized during the holy month of Ramadan. The analysis of the images comes next, but for now I am trying to discover the range of images and sorting through to see what kind of categories are found (and not found). In this post are some examples of food images in Ramadan greetings, different type of images with Vimto (a drink that has become associated with Ramadan), efforts by the government/ official channels to encourage good eating and generous behavior and an example of how prepared food is sold.
Food as a part of typical Ramadan greetings
The importance of Vimto!
Vimto at McDonald’s and Baskin-Robbins
Vimto as decoration
Fun with Vimto
Efforts by government and private entities to improve eating habits during Ramadan
This slideshow is stills from an ad which makes fun of people who have too much of something as a way to caution people against making too much (and then wasting) food at Iftar: a man who has several watches, a woman who has several TVs, a man wearing several hats, then the message.
Stills from a short video reminding people to not embarrass (judge) others during Ramadan. The video starts with 2 women preparing iftar, one is seen by a man as she eats a samosa. Then you see the family sitting at the table and enjoying iftar. The man pretends to ask the girl if she is enjoying the food, then humiliates for breaking her fast. As she looks sad, his wife pulls his dishdash and explains that she has a lawful reason not to fast.
There are many photos to children helping to prepare Iftar/ handing out food
Selling prepared food for Iftar:
The photos of the woman selling food are taken from an ad on social media which shows close-ups of several types of food and an description of the exact location of her tent.