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Antipoda. Revista de Antropología y Arqueología

versión impresa ISSN 1900-5407


BAK-GELLER CORONA, Sarah  y  MATTA, Raúl. Mestizo Cuisines in Mexico and Peru. Keys to Interpreting Multiculturalism in Latin America. Antipod. Rev. Antropol. Arqueol. [online]. 2020, n.39, pp.69-93. ISSN 1900-5407.

In certain post-colonial societies, the metaphor of the successful recipe was and continues to be used politically when it comes to defining national culture, often represented in the form of a pot or kettle, where indigenous ingredients and knowledge are combined, effortlessly and without mediation, with other products and techniques from afar. The result is a product that is superior to any of its parts. This article questions the principles of symmetry, continuity and purity that characterize the culinary stories of the mestizo and multicultural nation, and shows how the presence of certain historical and social actors has been made invisible within the great cauldron. Based on field observations and analysis of historical sources and audiovisual productions, we present two case studies that take place in different periods, in Mexico and Peru. This journey from the 16th century to the present day shows how both nation-states have managed social and cultural differences within their territories throughout their history, using the concepts of mestizaje and multiculturalism as catalysts for control and domination. The stories of mestizo cuisine propose a false symmetry between cultural elements of social groups that were always far from being so. By proclaiming a supposedly balanced, reflexive and consensual fusion of cultures, they erase the historical complexity of culinary cultures, as well as the past and present expressions of colonialism. This paper constitutes a contribution to the studies concerning the nation from the perspective of food cultures. It reveals the conflicts of exclusion, power and hierarchy that run through the discourses on national cuisines, and some keys to interpreting the political agenda of the mestizo nation: neoliberal multiculturalism.

Palabras clave : Historical memory; mestizaje; Mexico; multiculturalism; national cuisines; Peru..

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