Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/6292
Title: Food and Ethnic Identity in Italian-American Narrative
Authors: Luconi, Stefano
Keywords: Italian-American foodItalian-American traditionsValue of food in Italian-American cultureFood and ethnic identity
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Stefano Luconi, “Food and Ethnic Identity in Italian-American Narrative", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, XI (2004), pp. 205-216
Series/Report no.: Prospero XI
Abstract: The Italian American community in the United States has frequently been represented through the stereotypes of gluttony and Mafia connections. The host society has portrayed Italian immigrants as macaroni-eating gangsters, and the only truth in that assumption is that the food had a huge importance among the community, because it was a way of measuring a person’s social standing. Both Louise DeSalvo and Edvige Giunta have argued that “food-writing and life-writing in Italian American culture are interconnected, for to examine our relationship to food is to examine ourselves”. Actually, sharing meals has been a way of strengthening family and community ties in “Little Italies”, as well as a form of remembering the native land. Food is the fabric of traditions: it has rituals that must be respected, while the rites’ disruption is frequently used as an allegory to signal that the community values themselves have been violated. The overview of Italian-American narratives in this essay highlights how Italian Americans’ self-perception through foodways is not stable, and how it actually undergoes a number of transformations that include attachment to the local roots of the native or ancestral place of origin, the elaboration of a consciousness based on one’s national descent, the rejection of national heritage in the pursuit of assimilation into the American society, and the rediscovery of one’s Italian extraction.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/6292
ISSN: 11
Appears in Collections:2004 / 11 Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali

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