Accepted Paper:

Turkish coffee in Italy: on comfort food among Macedonian-speaking Muslims in Italy  


Karolina Bielenin-Lenczowska (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this paper is an analysis of food practices of Macedonian-speaking Muslims living in Italy. I show an importance of food brought from home country for everyday life of migrants, and their belonging to home and host societies.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is based on my ethnographic fieldwork on daily practices of Macedonian-speaking Muslims in their home and host countries: Republic of Macedonia and Italy. I argue that food practices is a perfect example for showing migrants' perception and imaginaries of home and host societies. It allows also to analysis of socio-cultural change within their families and households in transnational context.

Migration from western Macedonia to Italy has been relatively new, starting since 1990s, i.e. collapse of Yugoslavia. In contrast to the previous single men seasonal mobility from this region, now the whole families migrate, and stay abroad almost the whole year. However, women rarely work outside home, and their migratory experience differs greatly from the experience of men. Women used to perform their 'traditional' chores: keeping houses and raising children. Also, they prepare and serve food.

Products brought from Macedonia, like coffee, sausages, ajvar (kind of paprika paste), or some spices as well as dishes prepared in a manner known from the country of origin, are very strongly associated with migrant domestic space. Therefore, they are evaluated positively, as comfort food connected to homeland and nostalgia. At the same time, however, are related to women, and their weak integration to the host society. Thus, some migrants, especially younger ones, express their distance to the Macedonian dishes and the attachment to Italian food.

Panel P103
Food parcels: intimate connexions in transnational migration