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Chapter 5 Food of the Scattered People

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2350

ISBN: 978-1-908999-03-0

Published: September 2013

Component type: chapter

Published in: Food and Drink: the cultural context

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2005



From time immemorial, the world’s peoples have been in movement. Groups have been scattered, resulting in communities in regions and parts of the world with which they have no historic connection. In the 21st century, with more access to travel and the relaxing of immigration laws, the movement continues. Increasingly, those leaving their traditional homelands for other destinations are said to be in diaspora. This is the reason that tikka masala is now considered the national dish of the United Kingdom; that chop suey is found throughout the United States, but not in the same style as in China; and that variants of West African fritters are found throughout the New World. While the word ‘diaspora’ is now ubiquitous, and is used in relation to the patterns of movement of almost any people on an enforced or voluntary basis, its origins are more focused. It is derived from the Greek dia, meaning ‘across’, and speirein, meaning ‘scattered’. As noted by Kenny (2013), its earliest use is commonly held to be in relation to the migration of Jews, as referred to in the books of Genesis and Exodus from the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish people were led ‘...from Babylonia (in present-day Iraq) to Canaan, which they named Eretz Israel. Famine soon drove Abraham’s descendents out of Canaan to Eqypt...’ (p. 3). Applied to ancient Jewish history, the term has come to mean imposed exile and suffering, and subsequent efforts to return.

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  • Jessica B. Harris, Queens College, CUNY (Author)

For the source title:

  • Donald Sloan, Oxford Brookes University (Editor)

Cite as

Harris, 2013

Harris, J.B. (2013) "Chapter 5 Food of the Scattered People" In: Sloan, D. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2350


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