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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
ISBN: 978-1-4798-6925-1

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.

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