¡Sí se come! : creating a unique Mexican American food identity



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You are what you eat. The essence of being is our identity, so what we choose to eat has a large impact on who we are. By defining identity and applying these definitions in relation to food we can discover how we identify through the foods we eat, creating a food identity. For Mexican Americans, it is la comida que sí se come! I have classified the following as our most basic forms of identity: mental versus the physical or biological, and individual versus group. Within the group identity stem the facets of race, ethnicity, nationality, language and culture that all make up a Mexican American identity. By thoroughly exploring the four basic classifications of identity we are able to apply the methods of identity creation towards our interactions with food, from our first learned experiences as children, to later cooking for our own children, which all lead to the creation of our food identities. Once food identity is understood it can be applied specifically to the Mexican American experience, therefore exploring how the food choices that Mexican Americans make contribute towards a unique food identity. Just like the Mexican American self identity, Mexican American food identity is neither “Mexican” nor “American,” and yet it can be both. Like self identity, this food identity consists of a long historical background, embracing dual nationalities and combining life experiences with culture. It is also heavily influenced by family- familia- more so than a generic food identity.