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I am My Lebeneh Open Access

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.

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