Mapping Latinx Foodways

Authors: Natalie Santizo*, UCLA
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: foodways, history, human geographies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

“Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are” –Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

A deeply embedded process of racializing food, and food racializing bodies has occurred throughout American history. The intricate processes of foodways- the production, consumption and distribution of food- gives way to new understandings of how racialization takes place regionally. The relationship between people, place, and food needs to be excavated and discussed. Latinx are hardly ever mentioned as critical players in the establishment of foodways even when we have critically shaped and developed the American diet in Southern California. This paper, focusing on Latinx impact on historical foodways in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California, is closely tied to archives in historical societies, but also the ways in which Latinx have shaped space and created place in the suburbs.

This paper discusses historical Latinx foodways in order to recuperate stories of Latinx farmers that have been omitted and erased from historical society archives. I discuss the value in foodways as a methodology of recovery of stories that attest to the ways we shape and build city identity. Investigating foodways allows me to uncover the story of a farmer-entrepreneur of the 1920s, Cruz Baca, his contribution to developing civic identity in Baldwin Park, and the ways Latinx have critically shaped regional and local foodways over time.

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