Arab Food Literature

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Arab American food literature certainly reflects the impulse of ethnic
Americans to cook home foods for their comforting powers.
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food appears thematically in the new world writings as a means of physically reconstructing the old world in a new and distant place. The familiar tastes and aromas provide a welcome repose from the estrangement Arab American face in the United States, whether as immigrants or marginalized citizens. In old world writings, too, there is more than a hint of this same urge. For the authors, themselves, writing about Arab foods constitutes a kind of return. Both sides of the literature undertake lengthy, emotional descriptions of food that suggest something beyond the mere sensory experience of good food.
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The authors take on the narrative lens of both recent immigrants and American-born Arabs, exploring who they are and how they see themselves in the world. For those born in the United States, the authors are interested in how they arrive at a cultural identity. Since “Arab” is not a distinct racial category, the characters may see themselves as culturally and racially white until certain ethnic
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markers become apparent. Food is certainly one of these markers of difference that causes the young Arab Americans to recognize that they are not American in the same way their friends or classmates are. Eventually, they must come to grips with their position as marginalized citizens in their home country. For some, this leads to anger, cultural shame and a desire to cast off all markers of difference.
However, most embrace their differences and fight for their right to sit at the table. In terms of the immigrant population, new world authors investigate the process of adopting a new hybrid identity and eventually becoming Arab American. In this, the authors are especially drawn to the encounter of east and west and what impact it makes on each party. They forcefully contest binary divisions of the world, presenting truly “non-traditional” characters who act out complex motivations and desires. New world food writers also ask critical questions about how immigrants
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At the conjunction of immigrant generations, the new world food writers investigate the shape and form of Arab American identity. They describe their own personal and family struggles to find peace in a contradictory hyphenated identity. They also describe their path of resistance, hinting at the difficult choices and compromises they must make along the way. Most pointedly, these writers tackle racism directed towards the Arab community in the United States. Without apology, they tie their lot to this community, while continuing to engage with dominant culture and seeking real change through its own language and
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