294.3 Two food narratives, two identities and one national cuisine: The story of Jewish food in Israel

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 1:06 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Liora GVION , education, the kibbutzim college of education, Tel Aviv, Israel
This article suggests looking at the various meanings of “Jewish food” in Israel by focusing on two simultaneous narratives that bisect the discourse on food along ethnic lines and, at the same time, construct the social meaning of Jewish, ethnic and Israeli food. In Israel, it contends, the food of the Ashkenazim has become “Jewish food” and has never been used to form a distinctive Ashkenazi identity. Ashkenazi dishes have come to symbolize the European Diaspora and an Eastern European Jewish world that has gradually ceased to exist. During the years, the Ashkenazi immigrants have gradually abandoned their native foods. Consequently, the Ashkenazi food narrative revolves around nostalgia for an old food culture and a social life in which this food was consumed. Conversely, dishes of Mizrachi Jews became, in Israel, ethnic foods. Mizrachim continued with their food practices and, as time has passed, their dishes have won popularity among many Israelis. The Mizrachi food narrative focuses on politics of identity and underlies the means through which the Mizrachim have become active social agents who use their foods to form an emerging Israeli cuisine.