Weekend reading: Yael Raviv’s Falafel Nation
Yael Raviv. Falafel Nation: Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel. University of Nebraska Press, 2015.
Yael Raviv is an adjunct instructor in my department at NYU and has been researching and working on this book since I have known her.
The cuisine of Israel is trendy right now, something that Raviv could not possibly have guessed when she began this project.
Although her book focuses on the years from the Zionist immigration wave beginning in 1905 (the Second Aliya) and the 1967 Six-Day War, it deals with older and more recent ways in which food affected and was affected by the complexities and contradictions of religion, ethnicity, nationalism, and subsequent waves of immigration in this country.
Raviv is not claiming that food can solve the political problems of the region, but her book demonstrates that food can help us understand them.