restricted access Fine Dining: Race in Prerevolution Cuban Cookbooks

This article treats pre-1959 Cuban cookbooks as interlocutors to see how the struggle to define Cuba's racial and national body can be found in efforts to characterize what goes into that body by setting a close textual analysis of the books alongside an account of their historical context. In examining recipes, visuals, and nonrecipe prose, this article explores how later authors attempt to represent Cuba as white and European by ignoring and trivializing the culinary contributions of nonwhite Cubans and particularly Afro-Cubans, a move that encounters resistance in the ongoing persistence and popularity of Afro-Cuban cuisine. As an interface between political economic processes and personal choice, the author argues that cookbooks act as a site for assertions of racial and national identity in which some authors embarked on a racial project to civilize the consumer by civilizing cuisine via the cookbook, thus illustrating social fissures, tensions, and contradictions that climaxed in the 1959 revolution.