1st Edition

Eating Religiously Food and Faith in the 21st Century

Edited By Nir Avieli, Fran Markowitz Copyright 2024

    This book, the first of its kind, critically analyzes the conjunctions of 21st century food, faith and society. It aims to provide a fresh approach that theorizes the culinary sphere in its association with morality, identity, justice and the sublime.

    In a changing climate of food fads, diet plans, gastropolitics and fusion tastes, this edited volume interrogates, analyzes and critiques various situations in which food, the state, civil society, gender, race, and faith intersect and even transmute. Informed by emergent post-secularist views of religion(s) and novel approaches to twenty-first century forms of mobility and fixity, the book's primary aim is to ponder through ethnography the manifold meanings of food, eating and commensality as dynamic social and religious practices. The main goal of Eating Religiously: Food and Faith in the 21st Century is to present cutting-edge anthropological research that examines the causes, effects, meanings and repercussions of theoretical and real-world relationships between culinary practices and religion, identity politics and national pride.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Food, Culture, and Society.


    Fran Markowitz and Nir Avieli

    Introduction—Eating religiously: food and faith in the 21st century

    Fran Markowitz and Nir Avieli

    1. Food as faith: suffering, salvation and the Paleo diet in Australia

    Catie Gressier

    2. “Here I can like watermelon”: culinary redemption among the African Hebrew Israelites

    Nir Avieli and Fran Markowitz

    3. This is not a sacrifice: interpretations of the Madagh among Armenians

    Susan Paul Pattie

    4. Feeding activism in Russia: the transgressive politics of the church potluck

    Melissa L. Caldwell

    5. On not eating onions and grains: conspicuous non-consumption in the new Vietnamese religion of Caodaism

    Janet Alison Hoskins

    6. Fifty shades of kosher: negotiating kashrut in Palestinian food spaces in Israel

    Azri Amram

    7. “Food unites us… not anymore!?” Indonesian pilgrims eating kosher and halal in Jerusalem

    Mirjam Lücking

    8. Cooking up religion: women, culture and culinary power

    Susan Sered

    9. Avoidances and transgressions: agency, religiosity, and moralism in food and politics

    Michael Herzfeld


    Nir Avieli is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and former president of the Israeli Anthropological Association. He studies food culture, tourism, gender, heritage, and leisure, and has pursued fieldwork in Vietnam, Israel, Thailand, Zanzibar and, as of recently Greece.

    Fran Markowitz is Professor Emerita in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. Her publications address issues in ethnography, community, identity, religion, diasporas, and race. Most recently, Fran (with Nir Avieli) has been researching veganism and millenarianism, and (with Dafna Shir-Vertesh), the phenomenon of almost-peace and almost-war in Israel.