Food and Identity
Food, Memory, and Nostalgia Tuesday April 16th, 2013
Proust, Marcel, “Madeleine” excerpt (WEB)
De Silva, Cara, ed. In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin (WEB)
I. Taste & Memory
II. Memory in Food Writing
III. Role of Memory
IV. Memory vs Nostalgia
V. Cookbook Categories
VI. Cooking+ memory
Types of Taste- innate, acquired (bitter, spicy... e.g. liver, coffee, onions, alcohol), remembered,
fantasized (imagined, using base knowledge of ingredients, preparation)
Look into concentration camp Terezin made up of selected "creative" Jews
o They would first define themselves as artists ,composers, from X city or family
The Jews write, discuss, banter recipes, traditional foods.
o "Cooking by the mouth" This helps to preserve their lineage, tradition.
o Food acts as an identifier, remember better times, cope with situation, inspire sense of
hope, distract from hunger.
Women traditionally had household roles involving food preparation.
o Being displaced into the unfamiliar and harsh conditions of the concentration camp took
away their dignity and personal agency (they were given strict rations).
o Talking about food helps to keep gender roles, have a unique identity (through personal
foodways) and create order and familiarity - structuralism. Materialist/mentalist: Documents are referred to but the importance is in the way they reveal
overarching themes of personal agency, and identity.
o The fact that food is used to maintain community and order demonstrates how