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How does immigrant food shape identity? | The Stream

Can food be political? Can it position people within a certain cultural group? Does what you eat say exactly who you are?

For diaspora communities, food is deeply intertwined with a sense of self. It can be an expression of faith, culture, and even politics.

“It’s the last vestige of culture that people shed … there’s some aspects of maternal culture that you’ll lose right away [but] with food … there are more opportunities to connect to memory and family and place. It’s the hardest to give up,” Jennifer Berg, Director of Food Studies at New York University, told TED in an interview.

There is no doubt that food provides a distinct, physical link to one’s culture and history and, according to David L. Weller, Professor of Food Science at the University of Ithaca, “despite variability in the importance that immigrants attribute to food, it remains one of the most resilient tools … [of] identity formation and maintenance.”

Though most people in the developed world are now removed from the production of food, its significance has not diminished. In Europe, sales of fish skyrocket during Lent and, in the Middle East, meat production vastly increases during Ramadan.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll speak to immigrant cooks about the food they love to cook and ask how it connects them to their history, culture and traditions.

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13 comments

  1. Avatar

    Wow……my favorite chola bhature.

  2. Avatar
    مستقل 5⃣5⃣

    😁✌🏻🌺

  3. Avatar
    Al Jazeera English

    Thanks for watching everyone. What are the dishes that make you think of home? Tell us in the comments.

  4. Avatar

    chinese food nice nice
    i love cold dog in mint bat soup

  5. Avatar

    Well here's an echo chamber if there ever was one. I was thinking this video was going to be about how immigrant food shapes identity. Not the abstract misappropriation of foodstuffs….

  6. Avatar

    Who are people of colour? Is that the same as coloured people?

  7. Avatar

    I need 100 subscribers and 500 views

  8. Avatar

    Thanks for sharing my food and culture:)❤️❤️❤️

  9. Avatar
    Black American is back

    Multiculturalism and diversity exhaustion

  10. Avatar
    j l f d c Pelúcia

    🇧🇷 Brasil e o preconceito …

  11. Avatar

    food is a cultural affair… it tells lot about the richness and aristocraticness of that particular culture. The quality of dish and the representation of that dish means the way of life from ancient times; though, some might have polished over time.

  12. Avatar

    Hot rice and collards with a lot of soup is irresistible.

  13. Avatar

    Hot rice and collards with a lot of soup is irresistible.

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