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Food on our plate or a search for home and identity: An autoethnographic account on the meaning and search for “home”


This study is an attempt at finding “home” when we move away from home. It’s an endeavor to explain my emotional connection to my home, but after leaving my home and moving half-way across the world, how do I feel “at home”; how I try to find easy channels to stay connected to my roots and culture. I use bell hooks belonging: A culture of Place, to explore how food fosters a deep feeling of belongingness and creates a sense of home. I also draw from literature on the Indian diaspora to explore the effects of migration and the constant yearning to stay connected to our roots and culture. Experiences of diasporic women are very different from those of the men. What women live through after migration is not linear but cyclic with a certain element of temporality. The dominant narrative has rendered the role of women in the kitchen and home subservient. I take inspiration from feminist autoethnographic accounts of women and their experiences to answer how food helps change the narrative for me on what being in the “kitchen” represents in my culture, especially being a woman in diaspora. I also use Anita Mannur’s “intimate eating publics” which are the “emotional” sites where people can create a space, where they feel that familiar sense of home. To find a community that offers uninhibited support and the freedom to express our true selves is what everyone is searching for. I use recipes as cultural artifacts that embody the cultural history of our society and capture the times we are living in, our emotions, attachments and our connections. Studying the recipes as cultural artifacts provides a glimpse into the multidimensional identities of people living in diaspora.

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