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Gastronomic Nostalgia: Salvadoran Immigrants' Cravings for Their Ideal Meal

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Abstract:

Immigrants typically express cravings for the food of their homeland, but for undocumented and temporarily documented Salvadoran immigrants living in the United States, the hunger for their traditional cuisine is particularly poignant. To cope with a history of food scarcity in El Salvador and their documentation liminality in the United States, Salvadoran immigrants in this study crave symbolically rich foods. Salvadoran women provide these foods by recreating for their families an ideal Salvadoran meal into which they “groom” meanings of an imagined past and a hoped for present and future. Salvadoran immigrants' cravings, more cultural than physiological, are not readily satisfied, thus contributing to the overconsumption of food and the high rate of overweight among first-generation Salvadoran-American children.

Keywords: Salvadorans; child obesity; cravings; food deprivation and war; food habits; food symbolism; immigrants; nostalgia

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03670244.2012.696008

Affiliations: Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences,Harford Community College, Bel Air,Maryland, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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