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LAC 118 - Caribbean Society and Culture - Textbook


"The flavors of multi-ethnic North American literatures" by Astrid M. Fellner in "Culinary Linguistics: The Chef's Special", edited by Cornelia Gerhart, Maximiliane Frobenius and Susanne Ley is made available by Knowledge Unlatched under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.


The Flavors of Multi-ethnic North American Literatures

Language, ethnicity and culinary nostalgia

by Astrid M. Fellner


This paper analyzes culinary remembrances by Asian Canadian, Latina, and Caribbean writers, investigating the multivalent meaning of food in literary texts. In ethnic literature, food figures as a powerful symbol of ethnicity, becoming a significant site where identity construction, community building and social critique can take place. Descriptions of culinary practices set in motion thoughts on belonging and national identity, offering affective encounters with the past. Culinary nostalgia, this paper argues, allows ethnic subjects to identify as ethnic via their relationship to food, opening up ways of engaging the politics of identity. Using a language through which to imagine alterity, these narratives provide a space for reflections on the complex interplay of “here” and “there,” of “home”  and “away.”

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