The Imagination and Creation of a Levantine Cuisine and Taste in Argentina.
Lorenzo Cañás Bottos (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Tanja Plasil (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the transformation of migrant food practices and the creation of a Levantine-Argentine cuisine, based on shared taste, authenticity and memory.
Paper long abstract:
This paper focuses on the food practices of the descendants of Levantine immigrants to Argentina since the beginning of the twentieth century. The construction of the Argentine nation was based on very explicit future-oriented ideological projects where immigrants would settle and enter a melting pot out of which the modern nation would emerge (Archetti, 1999; Halperín Donghi, 1982; Schneider, 1996; Shumway, 1991). Four mechanisms that were set in motion in Argentina in the process of assimilation of immigrants in order to standardize them as Argentine citizens, and how the Levantine immigrants adapted, resisted and contributed in their own ways in an attempt at securing their future. Food and cuisine, became an area tucked away from the standardizing interests of the state. We use four gastronomic operations ('packaging', 'grinding', 'blending' and 'mixing') as metaphors for exploring processes of integration and the development of the Argentine-Levantine cuisine:. It was precisely in this area that different attempts at "standardization from below" were set in motion, by constructing and imagining an Argentine-Levantine cuisine with its own senses of taste, memory and authenticity.