This article analyzes Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s Chinese American food memoir, A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, to investigate how food, as one of the fundamental material substances of human survival, is linked with illusive memories, and how such a linkage in turn drives the creative energy of the memoirist to record her search for cultural identity and roots while unearthing family secrets. The first part of this article sketches an outline of the emergence of the genre of food memoir in the late twentieth century and then moves on to define the term flexible culinary citizenship to position Tan’s text within the tradition of diasporic food writing; the second part presents a reading of Tan’s epicurean journeys as an act of reconstructing kinship within a transnational context; it concludes with a critique of the possible practice of self-orientalization in Tan’s food memoir.
- A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family
- Asian American literature
- Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
- Food memoir