Dominant analytical frameworks in critical food studies literature often ignore or underplay the role of the senses for chefs and eaters. This article considers one Peruvian American chef’s efforts to translate Peru’s gastronomic boom and “Peruvian flavor profiles” for New York eaters. Through an emphasis on flavor, this article shows the kinds of binds such dominant frameworks create around chefs, particularly for those who labor under culinary labels such as non-European cooking, Latino food, or ethnic cuisine. Flavor offers more than the binary of virtuous hero or colonialist villain, and instead helps conceptualize taste and power as acts of digestion, highlighting the sensory web created through cooking and eating in gastronationalism. A focus on flavor also points us to the way in which the category itself has become a resource, an embodied sensation that is part and parcel of our social lives, the result of digesting creatures and worlds around us, shaping our selves, our bodies and our national imaginaries in the process.
Digesting Peru in Brooklyn: The Flavor of Culinary Nationalism
Amy Cox Hall is the author of Framing a Lost City: Science, Photography and the Making of Machu Picchu (University of Texas Press, 2017; Spanish translation 2020) and editor of The Camera as Actor: Photography and the Embodiment of Technology (Routledge, 2020). She is currently writing her second book, The Taste of Nostalgia: Women, Food, and National Longing in Peru.
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Amy Cox Hall; Digesting Peru in Brooklyn: The Flavor of Culinary Nationalism. Gastronomica 1 May 2021; 21 (2): 73–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.2.73
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