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Latinx Experiences in the United States

Resources gathered for the class: Latinx Experiences in the U.S.

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Article on Cuban Cookbooks

Fine Dining: Race in Prerevolution Cuban Cookbooks
Folch, Christine
Latin American Research Review 2008; 43 (2): 205-223.
English summary; Spanish summary.
1542-4278 (electronic)
General Subject Areas:
Subject Literature: Cuban literature
Period: 1800-1999
Genre: prose; cook books
Subject Terms:
1857-1956; treatment of race
Document Information:
Publication Type: journal article
Language of Publication: English
Update Code: 200805
Sequence Numbers: 2008-2-18530
Electronic Access:
DOI: 10.1353/lar.0.0029
This article treats pre-1959 Cuban cookbooks as interlocutors to see how the struggle to define Cuba's racial and national body can be found in efforts to characterize what goes into that body by setting a close textual analysis of the books alongside an account of their historical context. In examining recipes, visuals, and nonrecipe prose, this article explores how later authors attempt to represent Cuba as white and European by ignoring and trivializing the culinary contributions of nonwhite Cubans and particularly Afro-Cubans, a move that encounters resistance in the ongoing persistence and popularity of Afro-Cuban cuisine. As an interface between political economic processes and personal choice, the author argues that cookbooks act as a site for assertions of racial and national identity in which some authors embarked on a racial project to civilize the consumer by civilizing cuisine via the cookbook, thus illustrating social fissures, tensions, and contradictions that climaxed in the 1959 revolution.