Food and foodways narratives: recipes of social memory

In this paper, the authors address the cultural dimension of food brought out through social action. Building their reflection on experiences lived by a Sephardi Jewish family established in Brazil and reviewing recipes of some daily dishes, the authors discuss how a community may manifest emotions, systems of relevance, meanings, social relationships and collective identity through its food. They analyze the recipes and suggest that food and foodways can constitute themselves as narrative of a community’s social memory arguing that these food narratives also build communities. In this paper, a personal and singular story is told, yet it introduces many others. As proposed by anthropology, it shows that a specific research territory can create questionings and open the way for more comprehensive analyses and interpretations. This pathway implies framing by the contextual and socio-historical influences, different from what is usual in other social sciences, where the individual instance is chosen because of its representativeness according to pre-existing criteria, serving as an illustration of analytical categories established at the formulation of an initial problem. The story told is not detached from a collective cultural symbolic system; rather, it is embedded in the social fabric of the symbolic products built and negotiated in culture and social milieus.

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