Beyond Hummus and Falafel is the story of how food has come to play a central role in how Palestinian citizens of Israel negotiate life and a shared cultural identity within a tense political context. At the household level, Palestinian women govern food culture in the home, replicating tradition and acting as agents of change and modernization, carefully adopting and adapting mainstream Jewish culinary practices and technologies in the kitchen. Food is at the center of how Arab culture minorities define and shape the boundaries and substance of their identity within Israel.
Liora Gvion is a senior lecturer of Sociology at Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv and teaches at Hebrew University in the Department of Clinical Nutrition.
“Granted extraordinary access to her neighbors' kitchens, Liora Gvion delivers startling insights into the shopping, cooking, and dining practices of Israel's Palestinian citizens. As she acknowledges so frankly, probing unfamiliar foodways touched highly sensitive nerves. But if peace requires understanding and acceptance, Gvion's difficult journey was well worth the effort.”—Warren Belasco, author of Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food
“Food is more than a collection of calories; it's a mélange of meanings and symbols, and thus also a smorgasbord of archaic cultural stereotypes. To prepare a meal is to reveal yourself, your connection to your culture. In this careful and honest ethnography, Liora Gvion takes us to the most culturally intimate reaches of Palestinians' homes, their kitchens, and sifts through political animosity, cultural ignorance, and shared traditions to suggest new foundations for understanding. After all, if that same deity can ‘preparest a table...in the presence of mine enemies,’ why can't these gastronomic cousins finally break bread—whether pita or matzo—together?”—Michael Kimmel, author of The Gendered Society
“Gvion masterfully weaves the mundane particulars of the daily lives of Palestinians in Israel with the charged politics of identity, occupation, and economic exploitation. In the process she confronts head-on the problems inherent in representing the practices of an occupied people confronted every day with a state wielding an immense degree of power. This is a must-read for scholars interested in issues of consumption, culture, power, and representation.”—Krishnendu Ray, author of The Migrant Table
Gourmand World Cookbook Award, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards