Eating Asian America
A Food Studies Reader
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Figures and Maps
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The familiar food-related adage cautions, “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” which may be true, but not for this book. A great number of “cooks” have had their hands in the completion of this collection. First and foremost, we thank the seventeen contributors for their enthusiasm, diligence, creativity, erudition, and friendship. ...
An Alimentary Introduction
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Understanding and apprehending Asian American food experiences begin and end with the body. The category Asian American is a historical U.S. federal census designation that rests in part on the long history of what might be described as the Foucauldian control and discipline1 around the movement of Asian bodies to America, ...
Part I: Labors of Taste
1. Cambodian Donut Shops and the Negotiation of Identity in Los Angeles
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When the communist Khmer Rouge regime came to power in Cambodia in 1975, Ted Ngoy, a major in the Cambodian army working at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok, fled with his wife and three children “aboard one of the first refugee airplanes to leave Asia for the [United States] West Coast.”1 ...
2. Tasting America: The Politics and Pleasures of School Lunch in Hawai‘i
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February 2009, Kabuki Restaurant and Delicatessen, Waimalu Shopping Center, Aiea, Hawai‘i, 11:00 a.m. I am here with Wanda Adams, former food editor for the Honolulu Advertiser,1 and fourteen retired “cafeteria ladies” (school cafeteria managers) from the Ewa-Waipahu school district.2 Wanda and I have been invited to one of their regular lunchtime gatherings. ...
3. A Life Cooking for Others: The Work and Migration Experiences of a Chinese Restaurant Worker in New York City, 1920–1946
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The kitchen in which I had to work was a very long one. There were six huge ranges in it each having two very deep and large fire boxes. . . . Since the ranges had to be gotten ready and kept at the highest degree possible of heat for the cooking of dinners for more than a thousand guests, I had to remain in front of the six sizzling hot ranges ...
4. Learning from Los Kogi Angeles: A Taco Truck and Its City
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Local Los Angeles lore credits Raul Martinez with creating the first
5. The Significance of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine in Postcolonial Hawai‘i
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At first glance, Hawai‘i regional cuisine (HRC), like other American regional cuisines, seems nothing less than a paean to the state’s diverse ethnic communities and foods and to the islands’ natural bounty, air, land, and sea.1 Given the history of the Hawaiian Islands as, first, an independent kingdom (1795– 1893) ...
Part II: Empires of Food
6. Incarceration, Cafeteria Style: The Politics of the Mess Hall in the Japanese American Incarceration
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George Takei, best known for playing Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, is one of the most famous of the World War II Japanese American incarcerees. His autobiography To the Stars, little known except among Trekkers, begins in the camps when he was four and might well be his first memory. ...
7. As American as Jackrabbit Adobo: Cooking, Eating, and Becoming Filipina/o American before World War II
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My father Ernesto Tirona Mabalon arrived in Stockton, California, in 1963 to be reunited with his father, Pablo “Ambo” Mabalon, who had left their hometown of Numancia, Aklan, for the United States in 1929. My lolo (grandfather) Ambo ran a popular Filipino American diner, the Lafayette Lunch Counter, in the heart of Stockton’s Little Manila. ...
8. Lechon with Heinz, Lea & Perrins with Adobo: The American Relationship with Filipino Food, 1898–1946
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If you had sat down to dinner at the Manila Hotel in 1936, only a few dishes on the menu would have been Filipino. Most of the items—the olives in the India relish, chicken gumbo soup, braised sweetbreads, squab casserole, beans, carrots, potatoes, and petits fours—were so classically French that you easily could have been in a hotel in New York or London. ...
9. “Oriental Cookery”: Devouring Asian and Pacific Cuisine during the Cold War
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“Cooking is considered an art in the Orient,” Ruby Erskine explained to students in her cooking class at the Women’s Auxiliary to the Salt Lake Chapter of Life Underwriters in Utah. “And the food in the Orient,” Erskine added as she used chopsticks to stir-fry vegetables in an electric skillet, “is a happy combination of good eating and good health.” ...
10. Gannenshoyu or First-Year Soy Sauce? Kikkoman Soy Sauce and the Corporate Forgetting of the Early Japanese American Consumer
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On September 19, 2007, the Kikkoman Corporation placed a full-page color advertisement in the New York Times commemorating the company’s fiftieth anniversary in America. The ad is essentially a letter of thanks to America from Yuzaburo Mogi, the company’s chairman and CEO. ...
Part III: Fusion, Diffusion, Confusion?
11. Twenty-First-Century Food Trucks: Mobility, Social Media, and Urban Hipness
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Just as I turned into the parking lot, I suddenly realized I had no idea what Jae Kim, the founder of Chi’Lantro Food Trucks, looked like, and I had forgotten to ask for some mark of identification when we confirmed our meeting. But without giving it a second thought, I rushed toward the front door of Asia Café, a major Austin, Texas, landmark ...
12. Samsa on Sheepshead Bay: Tracing Uzbek Foodprints in Southern Brooklyn
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In southern Brooklyn, at the very tip of the borough where the beaches are the main attraction, runs Ocean Avenue. Along this long street, which begins on Emmons Avenue and ends near Prospect Park, is a long stretch of apartments, which, in the 1980s, were managed by Turks, Tatars, and Uzbeks. ...
13. Apple Pie and Makizushi: Japanese American Women Sustaining Family and Community
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In 1930s Los Angeles, Natsuye Fujimoto, a second-generation Japanese American teenager, compiled a booklet she entitled “Recipes (Japanese).” Carefully documenting the food her family enjoyed and considered Japanese, she included dishes ranging from “Nasu-Ni (Sautéed Eggplant)” and traditional New Year’s “Ozoni” soup, ...
14. Giving Credit Where It Is Due: Asian American Farmers and Retailers as Food System Pioneers
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A tour through any supermarket yields rich anthropological information: who lives nearby, what they like to eat, how they clean their bathtubs. Much has changed in American supermarkets since 1965, when the Hart-Cellar Act lifted harsh regulations on Asian immigration. Most have added an “Asian” or “Oriental” section, ...
15. Beyond Authenticity: Rerouting the Filipino Culinary Diaspora
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A few years ago, I took one of my regular jaunts to Woodside, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City, where I first lived after arriving in the United States in 1984. Since the 1990s, the neighborhood has become increasingly populated by a variety of Asian Americans, including Korean, Chinese, Indian, Thai, and Filipino Americans. ...
Part IV: Readable Feasts
16. Acting Asian American, Eating Asian American: The Politics of Race and Food in Don Lee’s Wrack and Ruin
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Greedy land developers. Estranged Korean–Chinese American brothers. Chocolate ice cream. Buddhist precepts written on paper airplanes. Organic brussels sprouts. These are but a few of the plot elements that propel Don Lee’s second novel Wrack and Ruin (2008). ...
17. Devouring Hawai‘i: Food, Consumption, and Contemporary Art
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For contemporary visual artists of Asian and Pacific backgrounds, tropes of food—embedded in lived experience and intermeshed with themes of place, material culture, commerce, and migration—provide a plethora of multi-sited metaphors and iconographies for global circulation, intersections, and cross connections among peoples and cultures. ...
18. “Love Is Not a Bowl of Quinces”: Food, Desire, and the Queer Asian Body in Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt
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Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt (2003) is a foodie reader’s fantasy. The novel abounds with tantalizing, mouth-watering concoctions: duck braised with port-drenched figs, tarts crisped with sugared butter, ripe quinces gently simmered in honeyed water. ...
19. The Globe at the Table: How Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian Reconfigures the World
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The figuration of the world traveler that Jaffrey describes and the autobiographical fashioning of self in her cookbooks already have been analyzed. But an addition to this analysis is the configuration of Jaffrey’s world. In other words, her books’ “gastropoetics” have been analyzed, but the gastocartographies that she maps—or elides—have not. ...
20. Perfection on a Plate: Readings in the South Asian Transnational Queer Kitchen
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During the last decade, a wide corpus of writing about food in diasporic contexts has emerged in ethnic studies and its interlocutory fields of gender, race, and sexuality studies. One such work is Krishnendu Ray’s Migrant’s Table, a sociological inquiry that maps the foodways of Bengali American households in the United States.1 ...
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Page Count: 480
Publication Year: 2013