Foodways and Foodwashing: Israeli Cookbooks and the Politics of Culinary Zionism

Ilan Zvi Baron, Galia Press-Barnathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The paper explores the political narratives produced in English-language Israeli cookbooks.We examine an understudied, yet central component of everyday international relations, everyday nationalism, and identity contestations as practiced through gastronomy, and highlight the dilemma between the different political uses of popular culture in the context of conflict resolution and resistance. Our argument identifies different narratives represented in what we term Culinary Zionism. One narrative is explicitly political, discusses Israeli cuisine as a foodway, and contributes to creating a space of, and a path for, coexistence and recognition of the Other. A second narrative is found in tourist-orientated cookbooks that offer a supposedly apolitical story of culinary tours in Israel.We problematize the political and normative implications of these narratives by exploring the potential role of these books to open space for dialogue and to increase the familiarity and interest of foreign audiences of Israel and the conflict. We contrast this possibility with their potential to what we term foodwashing, namely the process of using food to symbolically wash over violence and injustices (the violence of the Israeli Palestinian conflict in this case).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)338-358
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) (2021). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association.


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