Tag Archives: publishing

Mexico’s Early Cookbooks

Mexico’s Early Cookbooks

This essay is published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History

Summary and Keywords

During the Spanish conquest of Mexico (1519–1521), gastronomic literature was alreadyprevalent in Europe, yet not so in Mexico. The use of the printing press in Mexico was limited to print and disseminate ecclesiastical and legal documents; it was not used for subjects as seemingly superfluous as recipes and food. This is not to say that food was not a source of fascination, or a means of social control.

Kitchen manuscripts written before Mexico became independent of Spain (between 1810 and 1821) show that there was an abundance of food writing before Independence, especially by nuns in colonial convent kitchens. However, the earliest printed cookbooks did not make their debut in Mexico until 1831, a decade after Independence.

Mexican cuisine can be examined beginning from the diaries of conquistadors and missionaries to colonial kitchen manuscripts to the cookbooks published afterIndependence through the Porfiriato (1876–1910) and Revolution (1910–1920). Reading between the lines of the recipes in these sources, one sees the shifting attitudes toward food, as it ceases to be a status marker and a divider of classes and becomes a tool for unifying the country.

Keywords: cookbooks, kitchen manuscripts, Mexican cookbooks, national identity, Porfirio Díaz, culinary history, women in the kitchen, Mexican Independence, Mexican Revolution, colonial cooking

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Influential African Americans in Food History

Influential African Americans in Food History

This article was first featured in Life & Thyme.

A brief introduction to some of the most influential and inspiring African American figures in U.S. culinary history.

Throughout history, cookbooks have been active tools, offering their readers not only recipes but also insights into the time period and lives of their authors. The most successful have been text that impart a sense of intimacy that transcends the printed page. The following cooks accomplished all of the above and so much more. Using food to teach and heal, these strong, entrepreneurial African American women and men helped define American cooking.

 

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