Food Matters: Alonso Quijano's Diet and the Discourse of Food in Early Modern Spain

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2016 - Cooking - 306 pages

In the second sentence of Don Quixote, Cervantes describes the diet of the protagonist, Alonso Quijano: "A stew made of more beef than mutton, cold salad on most nights, abstinence eggs on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and an additional squab on Sundays."

Through an inventive and original engagement with this text, Carolyn A. Nadeau explores the shifts in Spain's cultural and gastronomic history. Using cooking manuals, novels, poems, dietary treatises, and other texts, she brings to light the figurative significance of foodstuffs and culinary practices in early modern Spain. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Stephen Mennell, Food Matters reveals patterns of interdependence as observed, for example, in how Muslim and Jewish aversion to pork fired Spain's passion for ham, what happened when New World foodstuffs entered into Old World kitchens, and how food and sexual urges that so often came together, regardless of class, ethnicity, or gender, construct moments of communal celebration.

This mouth-watering tour of the discourses of food in early modern Spain is complemented by an appendix that features forty-seven recipes drawn from contemporary sources.


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The Rise of Cooking Manuals in Spain
Privileging Meat in the Early Modern Diet
Salads Vegetables and New World Contributions to Spanish Fare
Jewish and Muslim Influences on Early Modern Eating Habits
Perceptions of Health and Christian Abstinence
The Theatrics of Food and Celebration
Final Reflections on the Discourse of Food in Early Modern Spain
Works Cited
Index of Recipes
General Index

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About the author (2016)

Carolyn A. Nadeau is the Byron S. Tucci Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University.

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