Self-Agency, Upward Mobility and the Dismissal of the Palestinian National Narrative

By: Liora Gvion  

Traditionally, Palestinian restaurants in Israel abstained from serving dishes associated with dishes which women had learned to prepare from significant others, as part of their socialization. Men refrained from ordering such dishes in restaurants either for fear of being taken as undermining traditional female culinary knowledge or for appearing as letting their spouses neglect their domestic duties. The increasing numbers of Palestinian women who have postponed their marriage for the purpose of getting an education and becoming professionals, has generated changes both in domestic Palestinian kitchens and in restaurant menus. The number of women who cook traditional dishes which are often laborious, has decreased versus the integration into the daily diet industrially produced foods and dishes popular in Israeli kitchens. Consequently, a new generation of Palestinian chefs who have been working all over Israel has started serving these dishes in their restaurants, either in their original or upgraded version. This decision, I argue, positions the chefs as guardians of traditional Palestinian cookery, preventing it from disappeared from the active culinary repertoire. Simultaneously, their entrepreneurial action positions Palestinians and their foods in new locations, claiming acknowledgement, recognition of their presence in Israel and right to partake in the contemporary local culinary scene.

"Palestinians", " Chefs", " National Narrative"
Food Policies, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Prof. Liora Gvion

-, -, Kibbutzim College of Education, Israel
-, Israel

I am a qualitative sociologist whose area of expertise is the sociology of food and the body. My major interest lies in the social relationships embedded in food production and consumption. I have published two books and many articles in major academic journals.