||This paper examines how the culinary traditions of Bud’s homeland in Diana
Abu-Jaber’s memoir, The Language of Baklava, help Bud manage a life
comprised of two cultures. Bud, Abu-Jaber’s immigrant father, struggles to unite
the memories of his Jordanian childhood with the realities of his new life in
Syracuse, New York. Abu-Jaber notes that, as immigrants, her father and his
brothers live in the “borderlands” between their new and native cultures (326).
Gloria Anzaldúa presents this term in Borderlands/La Frontera, and it is upon
this concept that the paper is based. Anzaldúa’s use of language, as presented in
her chapter “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” reinforces her position in the
borderlands yet serves as a mechanism to manage conflicting identities and, in
turn, construct her own. Similarly, Bud’s Jordanian culinary habits separate him
from American culture yet allow him to form a new identity amidst the strains of
displacement. In this way, Bud uses food to negotiate life in the borderlands as
Anzaldúa uses language.