Voices in the Kitchen: Views of Food and the World from Working-Class Mexican and Mexican American Women

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Texas A&M University Press, Mar 16, 2006 - Cooking - 240 pages
2 Reviews
“Literally, chilaquiles are a breakfast I grew up eating: fried corn tortillas with tomato-chile sauce. Symbolically, they are the culinary metaphor for how working-class women speak with the seasoning of their food.”—from the Introduction

Through the ages and across cultures, women have carved out a domain in which their cooking allowed them to express themselves, strengthen family relationships, and create a world of shared meanings with other women. In Voices in the Kitchen, Meredith E. Abarca features the voices of her mother and several other family members and friends, seated at their kitchen tables, to share the grassroots world view of these working-class Mexican and Mexican American women.

In the kitchen, Abarca demonstrates, women assert their own sazón (seasoning), not only in their cooking but also in their lives. Through a series of oral histories, or charlas culinarias (culinary chats), the women interviewed address issues of space, sensual knowledge, artistic and narrative expression, and cultural and social change. From her mother’s breakfast chilaquiles to the most elaborate traditional dinner, these women share their lives as they share their savory, symbolic, and theoretical meanings of food.

The charlas culinarias represent spoken personal narratives, testimonial autobiography, and a form of culinary memoir, one created by the cooks-as-writers who speak from their kitchen space. Abarca then looks at writers-as-cooks to add an additional dimension to the understanding of women’s power to define themselves.

Voices in the Kitchen joins the extensive culinary research of the last decade in exploring the importance of the knowledge found in the practical, concrete, and temporal aspects of the ordinary practice of everyday cooking.

  

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Review: Voices in the Kitchen: Views of Food and the World from Working-Class Mexican and Mexican American Women

User Review  - Rose - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me of the times spent in the kitchen with my mother. The way she cooks was like art form for me. As a child I always wanted to follow her and see what she was doing, mimicking the way she would stir a spoon, or the way she would measure with her hands. Read full review

Review: Voices in the Kitchen: Views of Food and the World from Working-Class Mexican and Mexican American Women

User Review  - Yasmin - Goodreads

ok yes, i did read this for class. but it has some great ideas about what roles food plays in our lives. i found i could relate to parts of more than some of the other books we've read because it brings many ideas of hispanic culture and food to head. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Whats for Breakfast? Los chilaquiles de mi amá of course
3
A Place of Their Own Appropriating the Kitchen Space
18
Sazón The Flavors of Culinary Epistemology
50
Homemade Culinary Art El arte culinario casero CooksasArtists
78
Kitchen Talk CooksasWriters
109
The Literary Kitchen WritersasCooks
135
Maybe Dessert First? Charlas Culinarias
164
Notes
171
Bibliography
211
Index
231
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Meredith E. Abarca moved with her family to the United States as a young child. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and is an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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