Do food cultures define a place or the other way around?
“As mom’s cooking”: the taste of home and the formation of Vietnamese identity
In recent years, “as mom’s cooking” has become a popular term used widely in Vietnamese communities in Vietnam and elsewhere when talking about home-cooked food. The term has been used as a magical word in marketing and food writing in different senses to evoke people’s nostalgia in order to sell their products.
It is also used as a confirmation of how true/correct a thing or statement is in informal daily oral and written context. Within this context of language, literal food related or not, the mother figure and her food have been exploited extremely well to perform a heavily socio-cultural gendered duty which happens to become the aesthetic of food, eating, knowledge, and all other life’s matters to the Vietnamese. In this paper, I explore the way in which this term has been used in Vietnamese popular culture, food related subject and beyond, in forming and expressing Vietnamese’s identity, where everything must be “as mom’s cooking”.
Thank you Alex. It seems that it's not just 'Mum's cooking' which is revered but that there is a lot of honour given to parents full stop. That's rather different to the ageism found in many Australian workplaces.
Excellent thought-provoking paper Alex. Thank you. At the risk of sounding a bit ignorant because I have never been to Vietnam, but I get the impression from TV that a lot of the best street food in Vietnam is made by women. How accurate is that statement? Do Vietnamese people rate their street food by the gender of the person cooking it?
Hi Alex, you packed a lot in! Thanks for your paper with hints of ideas about myth, shifting culture of 'what is right' and 'what is good', masculine and feminine cultural roles and even the difference between the Vietnamese and Spanish TV show. You've given us lots to think about.
I look forward to hearing more as you continue this research. I find it interesting that the term is connected to authority, as correct or authentic, so the power relations here seem quite complex.
Alex, thank you for a very informative paper examining the gendered politics of the Vietnamese domestic kitchen and its shifting relations. I would have liked to have heard more about "mom's cooking"and changing gender relations - there are intriguing hints of this - and the rise of professional chefs in the twentieth century (and not just in reality shows as this is a sort of hyperreal situation). However, I realise that in a very short paper you can only do so much. So, thanks again.