The medium is the menu: The domestication of mobile technologies in the home kitchen

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  • The study looked at how people are using mobile communication devices in the domestic kitchen? How users have domesticated these devices? And in what ways have these devices been used to (re)skill users in the domestic kitchen? We now live in a society where we do not have to know how to cook to live (our survival does not depend on our cooking abilities). However, there is a cost to our health and our quality of life as evidenced by the current obesity epidemic. Grounded in phenomenology, the study used a convenience sample of seven participants in semi-structured interviews and domestic kitchen tours. Inspired by the work of Bakardjieva, the study relied on domestication theory to illuminate behaviour genres (or ways of doing) to help understand common user behaviours in the home meal planning process. This framework combined with research on deskilling helped illuminate the research questions about (re)skilling in the kitchen. Five behaviour genres emerged from the participant interview (each with possible applications to help reskill consumers in meal preparation): • finding recipes and ingredients for meal planning purposes; • retrieval of previously found and enjoyed recipes; • skill development through the discovery and sharing of tips and tricks; • sharing recipes with peers; • collecting meal preparation and eating experiences (often photographically). Ultimately, the project was successful as it found evidence of mobile communication technologies supporting reskilling through the influence they have in meal preparation. This is particularly well illuminated in how the behaviour genres link to the reskilling—especially in light of how the behaviours seem to collectively build confidence in the meal preparation skills of the mobile communication technology users through de-professionalization, peer-to-peer sharing, tinkering tips, and tricks, intergenerational sharing and ultimately: a craving for discovery.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International