CU 351A - Food as an Expression of Culture

"There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk." - M.F.K. Fischer, The Gastronomical Me

As culinary historian Massimo Montanari argues, everything that has to do with food – from the choices made by primitive hunters and gatherers to contemporary habits of consumption – represents a cultural act. In this sense, we understand that Spanish cuisine is not just about nutrition, but also about traditions that have developed over a long period of time and span the country’s political, cultural, and social formation. This interdisciplinary course combines the fields of food studies, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, and contemporary history. We will examine the food traditions that unite Spain, as well as those that are distinctive of regional differences. We will also examine the relationship between global and local phenomena, which have led to new issues impacting food culture and regional/national food identity, based on the assumption that the concept of (personal, cultural, regional, and national) identity is strongly linked to food. We will focus on the evolution of local traditions and the recent boom of Spanish haute cuisine around the world. Current Spanish cuisine (for example, the coronation of Chef Ferran Adrià, by the New York Times, Time magazine and Le Monde in 2004) is an excellent vehicle for exploring the complex relations between local and global culture.

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Cultural Studies

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