Week 5 Blog Post

This weeks readings, A Curse of Tea and Potatoes and In Encarnacion’s Kitchen, by Victor Valle and Dan Strehl respectively, are two works centered around Encarnacion Pinedo’s El Cocinero Espanol, the first cookbook written by a Hispanic in the United States. Pinedo was a Californio (descendant of the original Spanish colonists of California) and her cookbook, which was written in 1898, was the first recipe specific documentation of Californio food, which is essentially Mexican cuisine prepared by Hispanics in California. As described by both Valle and Strehl, Pinedo’s cookbook is a testament to her lost culture and is her attempt at keeping that culture alive. Pinedo was one of the few Hispanic women that was relatively prominent in society at the time, as that demographic was largely suppressed, and she was because of her education and familial wealth. This is what allowed her to leave a record of her culture through her cookbook and ultimately leave a lasting impression on how we look at Mexican, Spanish, and Californio cuisine through the lens of the significant cultural segregation that existed at the time.

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