The ninth and last life story in Finding home in Europe, a HOMInG book edited by L.E. Pérez Murcia and S. Bonfanti (Berghahn, 2023), is about “Paola: Performing Memory and Reproducing Food Cultures, by Luis Eduardo Pérez Murcia. The author explores the intimate connections between food, mobility and home. Based on the life story of Paola, an Ecuadorian woman living in Manchester, Pérez Murcia shows that by cooking, serving, eating, sharing and selling food, migrants are not only evoking memories of previous homes but also actively transforming their current places of settlement into new homes. His analysis reveals that food practices reproduced in the transnational space are often replete with patriotic symbolism. An everyday recipe shared with family in the domestic space of one’s homeland to ‘simply’ nourish the body may be loaded with enormous symbolism. It may even become an expression of national identity and patriotism when cooked and shared among the same people in the public space of one’s host-land. Overall, the chapter illustrates further how the taste and smell of food have the power to connect memories and practices of home across multiple places and make it possible for migrants to simultaneously experience home as both grounded and mobile.

See the editors’ conceptual Introduction to the book here.
On the importance of food production and consumption for migrants to make home from away in space and time, see also Miranda-Nieto & Boccagni (2020), At home in the restaurant: Familiarity, belonging and material culture in Ecuadorian restaurants in Madrid, Sociology, 54(5), 1022–1040. On the role of objects in migrant transnational homemaking, including through food, see Pérez Murcia & Boccagni (2022), Do Objects (Re)produce Home among International Migrants?, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 43:5, 589-605. On food and the senses as a part of migrant contentious homemaking, see Bonfanti, Massa, Miranda-Nieto (2019), Whiffs of home: Ethnographic comparison in a collaborative research study across European cities, Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, 2: 153-74.

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