This article explores the role of cookbooks in supporting the creation of new eating habits and identities during the Japanese immigration to Brazil. When Japanese immigrants first arrived in Brazil in 1908, the local food represented a major barrier to their acclimation in the new country. Unknown ingredients and disgust for popular seasonings like pork fat and garlic prevented Japanese immigrants from preparing familiar meals and caused drastic changes to their diets. After nearly three decades improvising meals, Japanese immigrants started to better incorporate Brazilian ingredients into their eating habits when an alliance between the Brazilian and the American governments in 1937, and Japan’s defeat in World War II pressured them to adopt Brazil as their new home country. As Japanese immigrants internalized a new mindset focused on making Brazil their permanent home, cookbooks written by immigrants not only taught them how to use Brazilian ingredients, but also reflected immigrants’ improvements in building a higher-quality lifestyle. This article analyzes cookbooks written by Japanese immigrants in tandem with private diaries and recipes to examine the complex process of creating new eating habits as well as new Brazilian Nikkei identities.
Japanese Immigrants’ Pantry: Creating Eating Habits and Identities with Brazilian Ingredients
Eric Funabashi is a PhD candidate in Japanese History at the University of Kansas. His research interests include the role of cookbooks in different contexts of time and place. His dissertation investigates the role of domestic cookbooks in shaping women’s participation in Japanese society during the Meiji period (1868–1912).
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Eric Funabashi; Japanese Immigrants’ Pantry: Creating Eating Habits and Identities with Brazilian Ingredients. Gastronomica 1 May 2021; 21 (2): 52–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.2.52
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