Encarnacion’s Kitchen is more than a cookbook—it is a blend of recipe and identity. The book explores Mexican traditions and native cuisine in contrast to typical American or European approaches, reflecting a more sociological perspective on food. It almost serves as a historical record of 1898 San Francisco, presenting a rare view of Spanish cooking and recipes during that period through a female lens. This reading heavily emphasizes Mexican culture, and how Pinedo used cooking to define her identity and reclaim her cuisine. It showcases the power of defining one’s identity through recipes and preserving culture, illustrating how social and political context can be expressed through food. Encarnacion’s Kitchen serves as a blend of recipes and identities, portraying a love for Mexican food and a desire to share it with a unique female viewpoint.
In the excerpts from Encarnacion’s Kitchen, I learned that it was much more than a cookbook with different recipes. It was a Spanish-language cookbook containing unique cultural recipes with ingredients and styles very different from early American colonial cooking styles and recipes. I thought that it was interesting how the experts talked about the traditions of Mexican cuisine written in Spanish and other native cuisine in comparison to typical American or European cuisine, which was a very typical reference in early cooking in the US. However, the recipes show a great deal of different cooking styles. I tried to apply the reading from last week on how Foodways represents a more cultural or sociological approach to food than just a list of recipes and how to prepare food but as a reflection on capturing the culture of early Spanish cooking.
The second thing I noted was that Encarnacion’s Kitchen represents not only culture and food but also a period of time in history in 1898 in San Francisco. Spanish cooking and recipes were most likely not published at the time. The reading also mentions how women at the time were silenced; thus, having the perspective of a woman for a unique type of cooking is rare. The reading does not just want to show a collection of recipes but references the promotion of the Mexican female perspective, which was not the same as the typical reference defined by men at the time. I learned that Pinedo used her recipes to identify herself, her identity, and how it allowed her and her family’s former dignity. She did this by incorporating Mexican cuisine into her Spanish self. However, her recipes showed more than a collection of ingredients and cooking but allowed her to define herself and not by others.
Overall, I enjoyed this week’s readings and learned a lot about the female Mexican perspective from the cookbooks. Lastly, in Encarnacion’s Kitchen, I found the story and recipes demonstrated their love and passion for cooking and Mexican food and how they would want to share that, along with the techniques of Mexican food with a unique female perspective. I do see the reading as a combination of recipes and identities. Being able to define one’s own identity through a recipe is very valuable and can lead to preserving one’s own culture through sharing recipes. Lastly, the reading shows that Engracia used a culinary insult to denounce others’ cooking as a form of protest for the treatment of the family, hence the reference to tea and potatoes being cursed. The recipes show that social and political context can be expressed through food.
Encarnacions 1: To truly understand what Pinedo and her family went through with the murders and the discrimination that she went through it really translate into her cook book, because of the way it’s so different from the cook books that we use today. It’s straight to the point and unlike today’s cookbooks there are no pictures and there’s about 4 recipes per page with no measurements or any specific brand of ingredient. That’s what makes it so personal because her recipe books is like what a family member would pass onto their children because they know that a family recipe doesn’t need measurements and specific ingredients it’s all by experience and just knowing.
Encarnacions 2: To know what she and her family went through it translates directly into her cookbook especially because of the she created it for her sisters children could keep a direct link to their culture that’s what makes it so much more personal and the fact it’s the complete different look and style of today’s cookbooks because what I said in 1 there’s no pictures or measurements because she made it for her nieces and nephews it’s like a cookbook that’s being shared throughout the different family generations. Another thing she does to spite the anglos that tormented her family for years is by staying true to her specific culture and using authentic spices and ingredients that she personally knows and has cooked with for years.
Cookbooks are used not only to remember and pass down recipes, but to remember memories with relatives and tell stories. The first spanish cookbook was written by Encarnacion Pinedo in 1898, and is not only the first but most extensive spanish cookbook. Scholars have began to read old cookbooks to get a better understanding of history from a different point of view. Many old cookbooks not only have recipes, but also literary texts about different cultures. Pinedo writes all about her experiences, as well as the experiences her family had throughout her life. Pinedo was also the first Californian writer to participate in the culinary formation of romance. Overall Pinedos book served as a first hand document of cultural transmission. Looking through the actual cookbook, it is very detailed and makes sure even the average person would be able to cook the meal to perfection. The other thing that caught my attention was that the cookbook wasn’t bullet points like most are nowadays, but in depth paragraphs. The detail is very unique, stating things like “a very black blackberry” and “a fat finger of beef”.
Blog Post #2
The first chapter we read regarding Mintz’s perspective went into full detail of what defines the word “cuisine”. In the beginning they touched on how food might make someone feel, thinking, and their overall emotional reaction to food. Which lead to the next opinion that how it is an individual idea of what “cuisine” is, for good food is good food whether that be your mom’s mac n’ cheese or a five star restaurant meal. Mintz also touched on the idea that “real cuisine” is regional and “haute cuisine” was simply created as a way to show social status. So cuisine is merely based on where you grew up and what you considered to be “real” cuisine.
Which leads me to Mintz’s second chapter we read which opens with the statement that there is no such thing as American cuisine. I agree completely with his statement, though I know there are many people who would argue that his opinion is incorrect. We, as a country, are such a large melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds. Especially considering that the majority of us are descendants of migrants that came to this country, “American food” is simply all of our individual backgrounds and regional creations placed on the large table that is America.
The third reading is one I found interesting. Ray’s study of restaurants and newspaper ad was a through background check that looked at the recurring theme of the term “restaurant” in papers since our country became recognized as one. At first the number were quite low from 1830-1955, due to the fact of an ever growing nation and that “restaurants” were considered a high class establishment due to the French ideals of fine dining. What they found was they had to change the term restaurant to more current terms of the times such as “tavern and saloon”, which is where they found a more popular response. However, they interesting spike in numbers since the 1960’s to present day are not only ads for restaurants or reviews, but also possibles incidents of crimes or important political meetings.
In the Mintz 2 reading, the term “cuisine” is discussed often in relation to different types of foods. Cuisine could mean different things to different people, but it is discussed in terms of food culture as well as how food is socially constructed. Mintz argues that one can tell one’s social class based on what they eat such as ingredients they use to cook, or food they eat when going out for a meal. With different types of food affecting a person’s status in society as well as their culture, different attitudes toward food can be decided as well. Overall, Mintz decides what cuisine really is and isn’t, and how that affects people and their attitudes toward food.
In Mintz 3, cuisine is discussed once again in terms of actually having one and being secure within one’s own cuisine. Societal standards prove that having a cuisine is important and makes people unique in their own ways, and defines them. Due to people’s social upbringing, food can affect us and make us feel differently about culture and cuisine. It is important to learn and understand other’s cultures and cuisines through their food, as well as accepting different ways of how food is appreciated.
In Mintz #2 it talks about how there is a difference between liking food and knowing food, it could cause a difference in how we see and perceive food. They go on to say that “cuisine” is means kitchen plus some other things, without a cuisine it’s difficult for someone to identify with certain types of food. One of the cooks says that he believes that cuisines is based on regional and local ingredients. In Mintz #3 it goes on to tell us about a students sharing his thoughts on what he believes American cuisine is, if there is any, he made a point on how he believes there is no American cuisine because of how diverse and there is no grasp of how there is food that is specifically tied down to being American. Due to the amount of people coming to America from different country’s that brought tons of different perspectives of food into the mix. There is a lot of mixtures of cultures in America that everything has a foundation from other culture/country which takes into account that there is no base that American food is solely just American.
Mintz 2 and 3 talked about cuisine and how people think of it. In the reading Mintz talks about how people think and feel about food or lack thereof. For instance, when most people eat, they don’t think about the taste, smell, temperature or appearance of what they’re eating because it’s so normal to eat. Theres no easy definition as to what cuisine is, however, the best description is that foods aren’t of the country but of the place. This means that rather than cuisine coming from a country it comes from a place, from a group of people who create the recipes and use the food resources available to them to help make their cuisine unique. Cuisine is the food of the community, not compiled of recipes from a book but made by the community that take pride in their food. Another thing to take into account when looking into cuisines is different regions’ diets. Diets vary vastly on the region, some diets consist of many fish because they are near a large fishing area while someone who lives in the middle of the country might not, making their diets different. Mintz also talks about Americans and what they eat, making a point to show how unhealthy it is compared to other countries. Unlike many other countries the United States does not have a cuisine unique to its country but rather eats commercialized food.
Nation and cuisine, the evidence from American newspapers, argue against Mintz that Americans don’t have cuisine. The basis of Rays argument is that Americans do have cuisine and the proof is in the restaurants, many restaurants may create a certain cuisine of food however more times than not there will be a section of the menu that has a burger, chicken tenders, or grilled cheese. Those are all prominently connected to what Americans may consider their cuisine. Mintz talks about how cuisine is a place and not a country, but America goes against that definition by having many types of food that is eaten all over the country. While the foods might not be specific to the region, they are still a staple in Americans foodways.
Mintz is challenging what the term “cuisine” really means. One of his arguments is that national borders are arbitrary, and food patterns emerge regionally rather than strictly nationality. He also mentions that the United States, even though it is a community of people with unique food creations and culture, is not typically considered to have its own cuisine, instead being considered to be a mix of different nation’s cuisines. Moreover, in many cultures, including the United States, class is a significant distinction in what foods different people eat.
Mintz makes that central claim that the United States does not have a cuisine. The United States is incredibly large, so there are many different geographic regions, each with their own local agriculture and, therefore, types of food. Therefore, the United States has regional cuisines but not an overall national one. Furthermore, the author argues that the pressure to assimilate creates greater homogeneity in food habits, but not a unified cuisine. Moreover, most people in the United States do not eat food based on local seasonal availability and regularly enjoy foods from around the world and different cultures. There are common trends in the American diet, including a high consumption of sugar, fats, and carbohydrates and a frequency of eating out.
In “Nation and Cuisine,” Ray is challenging Mintz’s argument that there is no American cuisine. Ray tracks the mentioning of restaurants in newspapers and finds that mentionings typically go up after wars, except for in 1970 and onwards. Ray argues that this increase corresponds with the development of a national American cuisine. He also argues that real people are discussing American cuisine, and because it is being talked about as a community, it is real.
“Chapter 7 Cuisine: High, Low, and Not at all” focuses on the idea and definition of cuisine. The author points out that the definition of cuisine is very murky, and often very misconstrued. There is a distinction between national, regional, and haute cuisine. The author claims that cuisine in a rational sense is best understood as regional, stating that foods are never the food of a country, but the food of a place. In contrast, haute cuisine is centered around the availability of ingredients, and is a cuisine the author finds less authentic than regional cuisine. In all, the author takes these explanations to dive deeper into the complexity of so-called American cuisine.
Chapter 8 picks right up from chapter 7 and the conversation of cuisine except with the focus on the idea of American cuisine. To start, the author established the strong claim she once too that America did not have any cuisine. This conclusion is partially drawn on the sheer size of the United States, and the inability to establish regional cuisine do to the large and sharply varying areas. In addition, the process of Americanization pressure groups of people to conform and change their lifestyles including their food. This pressure towards sameness leads to homogeneity within these regions. Within regional diets in America class and ethnicity effect eating behaviors in addition to the larger societal eating elements such as time. Due to the obsession over access and time the author concludes that Americans do not have much care about how and what they eat, and there for they do not and probably will not have cuisine.
Nation and Cuisine is a research paper conducted to confront one of Mintz’ four reasons why Americans cannot have cuisine. The point in which the author tries to wrestle with is the idea that people rarely talk about American cuisine. The author does so by searching through decades of newspaper articles for any mentions of the words such as cuisine and restaurant. What is found is that there is some talk of American cuisine, and that the conversation around American cuisine increased over time with it being evenly talk about with French cuisine in 2001. From these measurements the author concludes that American cuisine does exist if cuisine is used in the narrow sense, and if French cuisine is believed to exist.