“Kitchen Histories” and the Taste of Mobility in Morocco
Scholars have long recognized the importance of everyday life to understanding the formation of modern nation-states and national cultures. Culinary culture offers especially rich insights into these processes, but the nature of culinary practice poses a challenge to researchers: namely, much of it exists not in conventional archives or written texts, but in embodied knowledge, learned gestures, and oral tradition. This article outlines a method for conducting “kitchen histories,” an ethnographically oriented oral history methodology focused on memories of kitchens and cooking. It describes the narratives of three Moroccan women in which migration and mobility are significant factors in the formation of both national and class identities. These histories highlight a tension between consolidating national cultural styles and tastes within a bounded geographical unit and the centrality of migration and middle-class mobility, both of which frequently cross national borders, to that process.
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