Nostalgia Through Food and Culinary Habits in Jhumpa Lahiriâ€˜s Fiction
Keywords:Food, Diasporic, Identity, Transition, Nostalgia, Adaptation
Food plays a very significant role in diasporic studies. It acts as a symbol of love and care as it helps in developing new relationships in the society. In Post-colonial literature, many writers employ food abundantly in their fiction hence it is necessary to consider its critical strength to analyze how food is an influential factor in the formation of the identity of diasporic immigrants. Cuisine or food is an important part of culture and religion of a country and the culinary habits are one of the aspects which any nostalgic and diasporic immigrant consciously tries to adhere and maintain in a foreign land. Food is one of the major elements in Jhumpa Lahiriâ€™s fiction which plays a pivotal role that encompasses from the homeland to hostland, the first and the second generation immigrants, society and individual, and men and women. She describes the various issues of the food metaphor and highlights the Bengali and American cuisines, eating manners, ever-changing tastes, and culinary practices. The contrasting behaviour with respect to food habits between the first and the second generation immigrants is apparently visible in Lahiriâ€™s fiction. In Interpreter of Maladies Lahiri explores food as a medium to depict the intricacies in familial bonds and cultural transition from Indian to American ways of life. In Unaccustomed Earth she defines that sharing of food establishes the ties among scattered subjects in diasporic spaces. In her debut novel, The Namesake, food has been explored as a means of nostalgia, negotiations, and assimilations with host culture that creates a new hybrid culture. In her novel, The Lowland, food signifies the adaptation of hostland culture in an ironical manner. This study also explores how the immigrants recollect the taste of food from homelands, their adaptations to new food habits of hostland and their gradual development into hybrid identities. Readability of copy is of paramount importance.