The culinary arts of Mexico, considered one of the world’s four greatest cuisines by experts and enthusiasts alike, vary across geographic borders, temporal lines and cultural boundaries. De Atole a Cuitlacoche … De Panuchos a Tlacoyos: Los Sabores de Mexico, the Shields Library exhibit scheduled for October 2010, will display many of the library’s food ethnographies, cookbooks and culinary histories that showcase Mexico’s varied cuisines. Based on indigenous foodways and ingredients, contemporary Mexican food reflects the varied ethnicities of the country’s native populations and its vast ecological diversity. Flavored with foodstuffs, seasonings and cooking techniques introduced by European, Arab, Asian and North American settlers and neighbors, recipes for tempting dishes ranging from the traditional to the nouvelle reflect the social, political and economic history of Mexico.
The Library’s interdisciplinary exhibit includes works by Mexican and North American food writers, cookbook authors, culinary historians, chefs and cultural ecologists, as well as teachers both renowned internationally or regarded as local experts on regional foodways. Topics range from the pre-Hispanic foundations of Mexico’s culinary table, to the popular regional dishes and family meals enjoyed today. The extensive Cocina indígena y popular series documents the culinary diversity that exists throughout Mexico among its many different cultural groups and the infinite variety of uses for foodstuffs like maiz (corn), nopal (cactus pads) and flores (flowers). Facsimiles of 18th and 19th century books of recipes complied by members of religious orders and copies of early Mexican cookbooks, Novisimo arte de cocina (1831) and Nuevo y sencillo arte de cocina, reposteria y refrescos (1836), the first Mexican cookbook compiled by a female author, reflect the increasing fusion of indigenous and European cookery. Publications highlighting Mexican and North American chefs such as Ricardo Muñoz Zurita and Rick Bayless, whose vision and style promote the indigenous heritage infused with contemporary culinary techniques and aesthetics, look at the global exchange between Mexican and international cuisines. Representative works by dedicated food historians including Diana Kennedy, Cristina Barros, María Stoopen, and Jeffrey Pilcher add regional and historical flavor to the exhibit. Noteworthy reference resources, including historical dictionaries and cookery manuals, further whet one’s appetite to sample in more depth the library’s rich menu of resources.
De Atole a Cuitlacoche … De Panuchos a Tlacoyos: Los Sabores de Mexico will be on exhibit from October 1-30, 2010, in the Shields Library Lobby. On Thursday, October 28, from 10am-5pm, the Special Collections Department, located on the 1st Floor, Shields Library, will host a one-day viewing of some of its select holdings on the food and beverage of Mexico.
Shields Library Lobby Exhibit prepared by Myra Appel, Head, Humanities, Social Sciences and Government Information Services Department/Bibliographer, Latin American Studies
Special Collections Department Exhibit prepared by Daryl Morrison, Head, Special Collections Department