While many scholars have examined the idea of consumption preferences, also known as taste, in capitalist contexts, they have not explored how taste manifests in socialist or communist societies. In this case study, we query the ways in which two Cuban communities express taste through food choices and consumption patterns. We find that identity influences preferences less than the prevailing discourse around Cuban cuisine suggests. In addition, patterns among subjects’ responses speak to the ways in which local custom and larger structural forces intersect in respondents' lives. Instead of simply reflecting the notion of class differentiation through consumption, our subjects reveal the significance of gender roles and individual relationships to food production in their discussions of preferences. Thus, this study demonstrates that, while food preferences appear in this resource-constrained context, taste and actuality do not always align.
Food Access, Identity, and Taste in Two Rural Cuban Communities
Krystyn R. Moon is a professor in the Department of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington. Her teaching and research focus on the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including foodways, critical race theory, and public history.
Jennifer Rhode Ward is a full professor in the Biology Department at the University of North Carolina Asheville. She is a member of the Sustainability Committee at UNC Asheville and helped develop the college’s Sustainability Certificate.
José Vazquez Rodriguez is senior faculty in the Centro de Investigaciones Marinas at the Universidad de Habana. His scholarly work has included environmental sustainability, “sun and beach” tourism, and freshwater fisheries.
Jorge Foyo is an emeritus faculty from the Departamento de Geología at the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar. His work has included environmental sustainability and marine environments.
Krystyn R. Moon, Jennifer Rhode Ward, José Vazquez Rodriguez, Jorge Foyo; Food Access, Identity, and Taste in Two Rural Cuban Communities. Gastronomica 1 February 2022; 22 (1): 66–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2022.22.1.66
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