The rise and demise of Ashkenazi cuisine in Israel/Palestine: The marginalization of the foodways of a hegemonic ethnicity

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Abstract

Food plays a central role in the construction of national and ethnic identities. This article examines the marginalization of Ashkenazi (Jews of European descent) cuisine in Israel/Palestine, despite the dominance and hegemonic status of Ashkenazi identity in Israeli society. By examining the foodways of a ‘hegemonic ethnicity’, we expand upon previous research on ethnic identities in migrant communities. By analyzing the culinary processes of adaptation, simplification, and vulgarization that East-European fare underwent in Israel/Palestine, as well as the social contexts of the centrality of the Holocaust in Israeli cosmology and the consolidation of Mizrahi identity, we explain the rise, demise (and, perhaps, revival) of Ashkenazi cuisine in this country. Drawing on ethnographic and primary historical sources, this socio-historical analysis uncovers the intermittent processes of marginalization and estrangement, as well as the dynamic and contingent nature of the de-ethnization and re-ethnization of hegemonic ethnicities’ cultural practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory and Anthropology
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Ashkenazi food
  • Israel
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Jewish food
  • de-ethnization
  • food and ethnicity
  • food and migration
  • hegemonic ethnicity
  • re-ethnization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • History

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