Culinary Eros in Contemporary Hispanic Female Fiction: From Kitchen Tales to Table Narratives





Culinary Eros in Contemporary Hispanic Female Fiction: From Kitchen Tales to Table Narratives

This article, written by Maite Zubiaurre employs the concept of food and cooking to develop its main theme. The author addresses how women, food, and cooking are represented in the different culinary Eros in the female fictions of contemporary Spain, and other parts of the world. Apart from Spain, the author argues that the process of cooking, eating, and digestion is highly sexualized even in the erotic arts and literature of other country origins. However, the author dwells on the importance of food, food preparation process, and the kitchen in Hispanic Eros literature by women.

Even though different erotica in different countries use food and kitchen to relay their messages, some of them fall out of agreement with the feminist perspective. Ironically, women develop most of these, yet some of them seem to be not aligned with the feminism expectations. This is primarily because of the way such literature bluntly portray women as sex objects. For instance, some erotica written for both men and women will portray women as an edible dessert after dinner. Their bodies shown covered with champagne or cream. Most feminists therefore find it hard to find the validity in the assumption that women equal food, as this in itself is belittling to the womenfolk. Feminists can also not make anything out of literature that portrays women negatively. Apart from being portrayed as objects in erotica literature, some literature has portrayed women as voracious eaters. This negative presentation of women is not acceptable in the feminist sphere.

The author compares and contrasts a variety of Hispanic erotic literature, which bears heavy culinary eroticism, in order to bring out the different portrayal and representation of women in the literature. However, great reference is made on Laura Esquivel’s 1989 novel, Like Water for Chocolate, which remains influential in the representation of culinary eroticism today. In this literature, unlike others, Laura used culinary eroticism, kitchen, and cooking process to bring out women as capable of liberation from male dominance in society. Only a few culinary erotica literature have a strong feminist approach as the one in Esquivel’s novel. In this literature, Esquivel portrays cooking as a process through which women discover, empower, and redefine themselves.

Maite, in this article also addresses the difference between “table narratives” and “kitchen tales”. The author argues that in table narratives, there is a more positive representation of women as compared to the kitchen tales. The author once more employs the example of a table narrative namely, Aphrodite. A Memoir of the Senses, to justify this claim. Here, women sitting at tables are portrayed as powerful and influential. Unlike most kitchen tales, in table narratives, women are not presented as food for satisfaction of men’s sexual hunger, neither are they shown as nurturing machines that live in the kitchen, with their lives revolving around cooking. This is because today, the kitchen is thought of as a marginalized area, which contributes to the insubordination of women, who become less powerful than men in society, by restricting them from the public sphere. In this article, the author achieves the theme quite clearly by comparing and contrasting as much literature on this issue as possible. What comes out clear is the relationship between women, kitchen, food, and cooking. All these aspects have a psychological connotation, which serves to influence the level of women empowerment in society. Additionally, various social evils directed toward women can be traced to these elements in society.

The author of this article is right on point in describing the symbolisms in the culinary Eros in contemporary female fiction. I agree with the author and to great lengths echo the sentiments in this article. The author has widely used a variety of female literature to back the argument in the article, which is more convincing. It is quite true that culinary practice may be used in erotica to deliberately misrepresent women in society. This mostly rises concerns in the feminist sphere as women dignity and integrity is at the heart of feminism.

Revolucion Interior Al Exterior: An Interview with Laura Esquivel

This is an interview between Loweinstein and Esquivel, the author of  Like Water for

 Chocolate. From this interview, one understands the importance of Esquivel’s book in the society today. For instance, her book is used in Psychotherapy so that patients can learn how to cry. In addition, the book content, including the images therein, is important in forging relationships between mothers and daughters, and as a frame of reference for personal issues.

It is also evident from this interview that Mexicans do not express their intimate feelings publicly, therefore their limited reality television talk shows. The loosening of social ties in society is as also well depicted. In the contemporary world, the economy has forced people to concentrate on moneymaking, and therefore there are limited chances of people getting together and sharing stories of life moments. The children today have been left to get their education from the television, as parents are busy searching for a living.

Laura, in her book, portrayed the family hierarchy quite differently. The woman is seen as dominant while men are presented as gentle. This is an element in feminism, where women are thought to be strong and influential. This is because of the important roles women play in the society, and especially the family, which is the basic unit of the society. Esquivel ties a lot of importance to the mothers in the world. She presents a woman as the head of family because of the roles women play in transmitting societal values in their children. Laura portrays a great feminist approach in both person and in writing, as she portrays the women in her book as revolutionists who struggle to rise above male domination in society.

The role of mother-daughter relationship is essentially brought out in Laura’s book. Both mother and their daughters are women and so this is of great importance to the feminine discourse. Mothers establish the close relationships with their daughters so that daughters grow up into women of integrity, just like their mothers. In this interview, it is quite clear that feminists then must invest in their daughters in order for the future feminism spirit to remain strong.

Esquivel discloses that the act of cooking is an act of love, which happens in the kitchen. Mixing different ingredients to get one thing; that is love. Transmission of emotions according to her, heightens this. Additionally, to her, cooking is the reversed role of the sexual role, whereby the man is the one on the receiving end. This is one of the reasons as to why she chose to include the culinary aspect in her feminine literature.

Nonetheless, this interview gives the reader an insight into Esquivel’s works. Being a feminist, she advocates for a revolution in how women are presented in society. from this one can deduce that the roles women play in the society are regarded as less influential. For instance, the act of cooking by women may not be appreciated much in society, yet Esquivel uses cooking to bring out its strong symbolism in the feminist sphere.

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