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Eating Asian American
by: Robert Ji-Song Ku
Msannur, Ainta and Manalansan IV, Martin F.
New York City NY:
New york University Press 2013, Paperback
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(3) page(s): 20
This ‘Food Studies Reader’ has
twenty chapters by seventeen
authors, three by its editors.
There are no recipes, very few
b/w pictures, and just one in
color on the cover mimicing
Thai siracha sauce. Almost all
chapters are from 2010 and 2011
meetings of the Association for
Asian American Studies, many
by cohorts at Binghamton
University in New York State.
The book reminds of social,
political, economic, and
historical forces, also power inequalities its authors
say have circumscribed Asians both materially and
symbolically in the alimentary realm forcing them into
lifetimes of restaurant or agricultural work or in food
industries, too. They tout it as the first book-length
collection of scholarly essays in these areas. The
introduction and elsewhere mentions several non-
Asian scholarship items pointing out racialization, Asian
politics, and some insights. It falls short in its four
hundred forty-four pages and sixteen-page bibliography.
Too many Asian groups and authors are not mentioned,
a disservice given to populations and people they fail to
mention. These may be folk not attending these very
meetings where the editors met and conceived this
volume. It is a start, and we do hope they expand their
own research and writing in future publications be they
books, essay compilations, articles, or other items in
print in the US, Europe, Asia, or anywhere.