Identity and Intergenerational Remembrance Through Traumatic Culinary Nostalgia: Three Generations of Hungarians of Jewish Origin


  • Louise O. Vasvári



In my interdisciplinary analysis of foodways which combines Gender Studies with Holocaust Studies, I aim to demonstrate the cultural and gendered significance of the wartime sharing of recipes among starving women prisoners in concentration camps. This study will further discuss the continuing importance of food talk and food writing in the aftermath of the Holocaust, with an emphasis on the memory work of Hungarian survivors and their descendants. Fantasy cooking and recipe creation, or “cooking with the mouth,” as it was called in many camps, was a way for many inmates to maintain their identities and connections to their ethnic and family history, a survival technique that may have influenced the depiction of food memories and their continuing role in the postwar memoir writing of survivor women. I will also examine the continued use of food talk as a genealogy of intergenerational remembrance and transmission in the post-memory writing of second-generation and even third-generation daughters and (very occasionally) sons of Hungarian origin. Studying multigenerational Holocaust alimentary writing has become particularly urgent today because we are approaching a biological and cultural caesura, at which juncture direct survivors will disappear and we will need new forms of transmission to reshape Holocaust memories for the future.






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