Worry-nostalgia is a particular iteration of felt anxiety that certain material things and ways of being in the world are slipping away. We suggest that this particular shade of place-based nostalgia, expressed through stress, anxiety, and worry, comes from broader concerns about individual and community health, weight, and well-being, as well as from longing for the relations that made certain foods seem naturally embedded in a particular community and rooted in a specific landscape. We consider and compare three very different ethnographic contexts—suburban parts of Osaka, Japan; peri-urban Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States; and the peri-urban areas around the capital city of Apia, Samoa—to explore the intersection of memory and distress around what people eat and what they think they should eat, in the context of local cuisines that are believed to be fading. This parallel analysis of narratives reveals commonalities in how sense of loss is characterized, highlighting a shared experience of worry-nostalgia generated from the shifting wider global foodscape.
Worry-Nostalgia: Anxieties around the Fading of Local Cuisines and Foodways
Sarah Trainer is trained as a medical anthropologist. Her previous work has included ethnographic research in the UAE and the American Southwest, exploring intersections between identity and body work within institutional settings. She is currently Research and Program Coordinator for an NSF-funded ADVANCE Program at Seattle University.
Jessica Hardin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work focuses on metabolic disorders, bridging critical medical anthropology and the anthropology of Christianity. She is the author of Faith and the Pursuit of Health: Cardiometabolic Disorders in Samoa (Rutgers University Press, 2018).
Cindi SturtzSreetharan is trained as a linguistic anthropologist. Her work focuses on the intersection of language, the body, and medicine. She is Associate Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
Alexandra Brewis is President's Professor of Anthropology at Arizona State University in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. She is the author of Lazy, Crazy, and Disgusting: Stigma and the Undoing of Global Health (with Amber Wutich, JHU Press, 2019) and Obesity: Cultural and Biocultural Perspectives (Rutgers University Press, 2011).
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Sarah Trainer, Jessica Hardin, Cindi SturtzSreetharan, Alexandra Brewis; Worry-Nostalgia: Anxieties around the Fading of Local Cuisines and Foodways. Gastronomica 1 May 2020; 20 (2): 67–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2020.20.2.67
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