Thursday, January 16, 2014

Food Identifiers and Stereotypes

Pork Chops, recipes below
Guest writer Brian Kim 

Ralph Ellison classic novel Invisible Man shows how food can identify a person and lead to food stereotypes. An illustration is the restaurant scene in 1940s New York City. The young black protagonist is a recent arrival from the south, perhaps Georgia. "Pork chops, grits, one egg, hot biscuits and coffee!" The counter man said to the protagonist as if to say, "'There, that ought to excite you, boy.' Could everyone see that I was southern? ‘I'll have orange juice, toast and coffee,’ I said coldly." Stunned the counter man shook his head and said, "You fooled me...I would have sworn you were a pork chop man." I once believed that food was just food, but thinking about it now, food labels people. As someone from South Korea, I’ve been called a “Kimchi-Man” but did not take offense to the term but some South Korean are offended just as the protagonist when called a pork chop man.

Brian Kim is a Babson College undergrad in Professor Opie’s course Food and the African American Canon (ashtag #FoodandtheAfricanAmericanCannon)

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Pork Chop Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=%22pork+chop%22

Food and the African American Canon Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Food+and+the+African+American+Canon+

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