Que Vivan Los Tamales Chapter Summary

569 Words3 Pages
Collin Brennan
Professor Warner
Freshman Tutorial
30 October, 2015

The mestizo recipes are famous for the combination of new and old world spices to make famous food. Que Vivan Los Tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identiy by Jeffrey Pilcher uses food to discuss the history of Mexico. Pilcher ties connections between the history of food and Mexico’s developing national identity. The book never really has a central thesis. Towards the end of the book, Pilcher describes more on French and European cuisine, rather than Mexico’s. However, in the beginning Pilcher describes the pre-Columbian stage consisting of the market of Tenochtitlan, or what is known as Mesoamerica. Pilcher describes, “every morning sixty thousand shoppers and shopkeepers, dayworkers and dignitaries gathered at this monument to commerce” (Pilcher 8). The first chapter really sets the tone for the book, introducing where everything takes place and discussing early history. Sacrifices were being made to gods in hope for abundant crops. Productivity of chilies, tomatoes, avocados, and squash didn’t even reach their modern day form until 5000 B.C. Maize was domesticated in 1500 B.C.; corn could be produced at large and stored for long periods of time. Plants such as these allowed populations to grow and cities fall. Pilcher ends his introduction with the siege of Tenochtitlan. Fernando Cortes arrived in March of 1521, smallpox had taken over and Tenochtitlan’s food was cut
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The colonials of New Spain brought animals such as horses, cattle, goats, sheep, chicken and pigs. Here Pilcher describes the importance of corn and wheat. He uses very descriptive to show Mexico’s elites love towards dishes based on wheat. He also discusses Mexico’s oldest documents of cookbooks, however, the Europeans heavily influenced them. Mole poblano turned out strangely similar to European cooking and wouldn’t have been considered from the
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