Encarnacion’s Kitchen

The two reviews of the “El cocinero espanol” cookbook by Victor Valle and Dan Strehl provided very different ways of looking at the writing itself. Strehl looked at the publication of cookbooks (and other books) in general during that time period and compared Encarnacion’s writing to those. He termed her book, “a sociological document that serves as a testimony of a lost culture.” Valle, on the other hand, examined the cookbook as a whole as more of a cultural artifact, even describing it as a “book of recipes and identities.” Both reviews illuminate the conversation. Strehl describes food as “one of the most, if not the single most, visible badges of identity,” and points to Encarnacion’s disdain for Anglo ham and eggs as “juevos hipocritas.” Valle picks up on this same emotion when Encarnacion defines Anglo cooking as merely “tea and potatoes,” calling this a “culinary insult.” I am unaware of this meaning, but perhaps it will be revealed in class. The third reading from the cookbook itself was great, and revealed the “old way” to write recipes, which oftentimes had no measured ingredients, but rather “a good piece” of butter or lard. I want to try my hand at some of these recipes.

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