By William R. Dalessio
Over the past 40 years, scenes that prominently function acts of getting ready and consuming nutrients have stuffed the pages of novels and memoirs written through American immigrants and their descendants simply because those writers keep in mind that consuming is greater than a simply organic functionality yet, as a substitute, works to outline who we're within the usa and out of the country. Are We What We consume? severely analyzes 8 of those items of ethnic American literature, which reveal the $64000 position that cooking and consuming play within the means of identification formation. With the starting to be scholarly and well known pursuits in nutrients and ethnicity within the usa, Are We What We devour? is a well timed research of nutrients in literature and tradition. so far, a lot of the scholarship on cooking and consuming in ethnic American literature has enthusiastic about a particular ethnic crew, yet has now not tested, in any intensive manner, the similarities one of the assorted ethnic and racial teams that include American tradition. Are We What We consume? offers a cross-cultural research that considers the typical studies between a number of ethnic cultures and, even as, acknowledges the several ways in which each one tradition was once (and at times, nonetheless is) marginalized through the dominant American one. With research that's articulate and obtainable to such a lot, Are We What We consume? can be an illuminating learn for all who're attracted to meals, ethnicity, or gender in American tradition.
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Additional info for Are We What We Eat? Food and Identity in Late Twentieth-Century American Ethnic Literature
DREAMING OF HOME: MERCEDES’S COOKING Like her husband, Alejo, Mercedes attempts to forget the harsh realities of her life in the present; however, whereas Alejo’s acts of food consumption become a way for him to forget, Mercedes’s acts of food preparation are the primary reason why she so desperately wants to forget. Mercedes reluctantly spends her days “cooking for hours” (Hijuelos 133), preparing the meals that she serves to her husband, children, and sometimes her husband’s friends. Nearly every morning, “sighing, she [rises] from the bed and solemnly beg[ins] Alejo’s breakfast,” typically “a piece of toast with jelly and butter, a piece of hard cheese, two cups of strong black coffee.
6 Eating Away at the Past and the Present 23 Significantly, Jen, like Barthes, demonstrates the importance of context in the process of culinary signification. Although on the sidewalk Ralph consumes an “American” food, he still appears as an ethnic Other, in part because of the way that he eats this food. Ralph does not realize that for most assimilated Americans, a hot dog bought on the street would be a quick lunch or a snack, not part of a big meal consisting only of this one food. Ralph’s behavior is typical not of most assimilated Americans but of new immigrants who, according to Sau-ling Cynthia Wong, often engage in acts of “big eating” as “a survival strategy” (55): “Many Asian American writers use the motif of eating to symbolize a survival-driven act of assimilation” (Wong 77).
Who knows what caused the original love. Was it the taste of the tongue that had been sipping cream café con leche? (20–21) In Cuba Mercedes enjoys the sweet flavor of Alejo’s tongue, evidence of their shared acts of eating and relatively happy relationship; however, in America her husband’s tongue, with its salty and bitter taste, repulses Mercedes, who understands that she has become his object of sexual consumption. In the United States Alejo, like Ralph, performs an exaggerated version of masculinity that ultimately works to undermine the identity that he seeks.