T his article studies A merican restaurant menus from the 1960 s throughout the 1990s as revealing a symbolic expression of ethnicity and as an indicator of ethnicity as a social construct. During this period restaurant menus shifted from adapting the form of ethnic dishes to the taste of their potential customers to constructing traditions of the ethnic communities in America. As part of this trend, ethnic culinary boundaries were obliterated in favor of an appropriation of ethnic dishes, and the creation of what appears to be a “multiethnic cuisine.” Not only was one no longer surprised to find various ethnic dishes in a traditional local restaurant, one actually expected to be able to dine from a selection rich in ethnic dishes. The objective of this article is threefold. First, it examines the changes in the form and content of ethnic dishes as they have appeared in restaurant menus over the years. Second, it looks at the kinds of dishes that have been accepted and the modification that followed their incorporation into the active dining repertoire. Third, it discusses the attributes of the growing interest in ethnic dishes in American dining as an outcome of movement toward becoming
The Journal of Popular Culture – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2008
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