Harry Eli Kashdan is a scholar of food culture and migration in the contemporary Mediterranean. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from University of Michigan, and was Lauro de Bosis Postdoctoral Fellow in Italian at Harvard University and Postdoctoral Scholar in the Global Mediterranean at The Ohio State University before joining the University of Pennsylvania. His work on the literary qualities of cookbooks has been published in Food & Foodways, Mashriq & Mahjar, Quest, and Italian Culture. His current projects include a monograph exploring neighborly relationships between host countries and migrants in the Mediterranean, articles on Syrian refugee cookbooks and Italian food and travel television, and a co-edited volume (with Philip Gleissner) of essays by American immigrant food writers on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities
2021—2022 Forum on Migration
University of Michigan, 2018
Jerusalem in London: Yotam Ottolength and Sami Tammi’s Diasporic World
Prompted by the publishing phenomenon of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook, this paper considers the discourse(s) of place elaborated by an emergent network of Middle Eastern chefs-in-diaspora. Focusing on Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem and Ottolenghi cookbooks, I argue that cookbooks can be productively analyzed as literary objects with an actor-network methodology. The particular story presented by Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s work is one in which distinctions are repeatedly raised and then dismissed in order to find common ground between Israel and Palestine. Ottolenghi may be an Israeli Sephardi Jew and Tamimi a Palestinian Muslim, but both men are London expatriates and restaurateurs. The literary dimensions of their cookbooks attempt to harmonize personal narratives with the commercial forces at play in cookbook publishing: peace sells better than conflict, and diasporic nostalgia never goes out of style.