Identifying as "Indo": Descriptions of Food in Marguerite Schenkhuizen’s Memoirs of an Indo Woman (1993) and Anne-Gine Goemans’ Honolulu King (2015)
Glen Kerkhof Mogot
In 2015, Gwen Kerkhof Mogot completed her award-winning thesis and graduated from the Research Master in Comparative Literary Studies (Utrecht University). Currently, Kerkhof Mogot is working as a teacher of English, and she has recently finished her second master’s at Utrecht University. Her research interests are memory studies, colonial heritage and (post)colonial literature.
By analyzing Marguerite Schenkhuizen’s colonial Memoirs of an Indo Woman (1993) and Anne-Gine Goemans’ postcolonial novel Honolulu King (2015), the author argues that embracing and rejecting indigenous Indonesian food demonstrates protagonists’ identification as Indo-European (Eurasian, or Indo). In colonial times, the distinction between European and indigenous food in the Dutch Indies, with the inherent judgments of value and status, was determined by colonial boundaries. In her memoir, Schenkhuizen describes how she moves between these boundaries. Although Schenkhuizen was raised as European, the descriptions of indigenous Indonesian food in her memoir demonstrate Schenkhuizen’s identification and re-appropriation as Indo. In postcolonial times, the preparation and consumption of such food is a way of identification with the Indo culture, drawing upon colonial traditions, as the contemporary novel Honolulu King shows. Hardy, the protagonist of Honolulu King, recounts his youth in the Dutch Indies while preparing and consuming Indonesian food. Honolulu King presents food as a vehicle that triggers memories, using food as way to access the colonial past in a postcolonial presence. As such, Indonesian food becomes a part of the cultural memory of the Dutch Indies drawing upon nostalgia for tempo doeloe. However, the preparation and consumption of Indonesian food also allow Hardy to affirm his ethnic identity. This affirmation is similar to Schenkhuizen’s position in Memoirs of an Indo Woman.
How to Cite:
Kerkhof Mogot, G., 2018. Identifying as \"Indo\": Descriptions of Food in Marguerite Schenkhuizen’s Memoirs of an Indo Woman (1993) and Anne-Gine Goemans’ Honolulu King (2015). Junctions: Graduate Journal of the Humanities, 3(1), pp.59–71. DOI: http://doi.org/10.33391/jgjh.6
01 Mar 2018.