Dr. Nancy Yan recently talked to Dr. Margaret Magat, author of Balut: Fertilized Eggs and the Making of Culinary Nationalism, a rich study and deep analysis of one part of Asian American foodways. Balut is a fertilized egg that is boiled and eaten as a common street snack in the Philippines. However, it was introduced to the mainstream American public by the reality show Fear Factor in 2002 as an “eating challenge” because of the partially formed embryo inside. Since then, balut has made many more appearances on tv shows as eating challenges, culturally decontextualized and often accompanied by what Dr. Magat calls exaggerated “performances of disgust.” In this interview, they discuss the culinary capital that balut provides for Filipinos in identity-making and for foodies to gain status and recognition as someone with broad tastes, among other issues.
To listen to the interview, visit the New Books Network podcast: https://newbooksnetwork.com/balut
Dr. Margaret Magat an Asian American folklorist based in Sacramento, CA. Her research focuses on the folk practices of the Filipino diaspora.
Dr. Nancy Yan received her PhD in folklore from The Ohio State University and taught First Year Writing, Comparative Studies, and Asian American studies for several years before returning to organizing work.
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