Diluting Traditions: Adapting to America Culture in the Stories of Julia Alvarez and Jose Burciaga [pic] [pic] Julia Alvarez Jose Antonio Burciaga March 27, 1950 to present 1940 – 1996 Pedro Aguayo Research paper May 26, 2010 Diluting Traditions: Adapting to America Culture in the Stories of Julia Alvarez and Jose Burciaga In “Hold the Mayonnaise” by Julia Alvarez and “I Remember Masa” by Jose Burciaga, the authors recreate the theme of Hispanic food and its influence in North American habits and customs.
They reflect the relation between cultures based on the integration of two different identities.
Mexican-American and Dominican-American traditions are exposed, creating a dual vision of life in North America. In “Hold the Mayonnaise,” Julia Alvarez describes her experience as Hispanic stepmother with two American stepdaughters. The use of mayonnaise as a symbol for the American food culture help to teach the blending of the society. Alvarez illustrates the experience of her mother and the existence of circumstances changing her path in North America.
The Mayonnaise begin a lace of connection with the stepdaughters.
Julia Alvarez adapts her Hispanic traditions to find new Hispanic-American custom. “All I could think of was that she would make me eat mayonnaise, a food I identified with the United States and which I detested. Mami understood, of course, that I wasn’t used to that kind of food” (Alvarez,1992). “Even a madrastra, accustomed to our rice and beans and tostones and pollo frito, would understand. But an American stepmother would think it was normal to put mayonnaise on food” (Alvarez,1992).
Priscila Campello states “Now the voice and vision are not more of the daughter of exile, the girl who tries to assimilate and fit into North American culture, the unprotected girl who wants to be accepted in both social universes. Nothing more symbolic than mayonnaise, essential component of any fast food sandwiches, where the first contact begun with this other generation, the generation of devouring sandwiches filled with mayonnaise and other types of junk food, is here when Alvarez begins to develop her new Latin-North American identity” (Campello, 2008) .
In “I Remember Masa”, Jose Burciaga describes his experience as American Hispanic using the tortilla as a trail to explain the importance of cultural habits and the integration between the American and Hispanic society. Burciaga demonstrates making of tortillas as part of the daily routine of Mexican-American natives. His own kids make ways to combine their tortillas with jelly and peanut butter. Burciaga text, displayed the double Mexican-North American interaction of cultures through the food. The best tortillas are handmade, the preparation require several hours of tender slaps that give a tortilla character. Although machines are faster, they can never adequately replace generation to generation experience” (Burciaga, 1988). Cheryl Glenn comments “The sensory details that infuse Burciaga’s definition of tortilla make his definition entertaining and memorable. Because description makes such of details, it serves to define what is being described in particular ways” (Glenn, 2009).
In conclusion I agree with the use of food to bridge the gap between cultures . I use Peruvian dish ‘Papa a la Huancaina’ during our fiestas, this delicatessen made with combination of potato and special spicy cheese mixed with milk and exotic herbs, help me to build links of friendships with Hispanics and Americans. I realize Hispanics and Americans in this world of globalization create paths of communication through food. References Alvarez, J. (1992) “Hold the Mayonnaise. Clouse, B. F. (Ed). (2010). The Student Writer: New York, New York : McGraw-Hill. Burciaga, J. A. (1981) “I Remember Masa. ” Clouse, B. F. (Ed). (2010). The Student Writer: New York, New York : McGraw-Hill. Campello, P. (2008, April). “The Exile and Return of the Immigrant. ” Retrieved May 25, 2010 from http://www. bibliotecadigital. ufmg. br/ Glenn, C. (2009, September) “The Harbrace Guide to Writing. ” Retrieved May 26, 2010 from http://www. books. google. com/books/