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    "Like the Papacy of Mexican Cuisine": Mayoras and traditional foods in contemporary Mexico

    Prieto Piastro, C. and Colas, Alex (2022) "Like the Papacy of Mexican Cuisine": Mayoras and traditional foods in contemporary Mexico. In: Colas, Alex and Ranta, R. and Montersescu, D. (eds.) Going Native? Settler Colonialism and Food. Food and Identity in a Globalising World. London, UK and New York, U.S.: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783030962678.

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    In 2010, UNESCO declared Mexican traditional cuisine as Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The figure of the mayora – the wife or concubine of the Spanish American Hacienda owner and therefore principal cook in the Estate household during the colonial period – has over the past couple of decades been recovered, revalorised and promoted in Mexico as a purveyor of ancestral culinary knowledge among First Nations (pueblos originarios). Native ingredients, techniques and practices, mostly transmitted orally and almost exclusively by women, have been reinterpreted and included in the culinary repertoire of high-end restaurants, with mayoras acting as ‘traditional cooks (never ‘chefs’) and guarantors of the intergenerational transmission of ‘traditional Mexican food’. We seek in this paper to critically explore the political, socioeconomic, and cultural processes by which mayoras have come to represent Mexican culinary authenticity whilst at the same time ‘elevating’ this cuisine to fine dining. In particular, we are interested in explaining how and why First Nation female household cooks so emblematic of Mexico’s settler-colonial past have been recharged with distinctive economic value, cultural authority and political power at the start of the twenty-first century.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: Series ISSN: 2662-270X
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Alex Colas
    Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2022 14:18
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:15


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