Eating Puerto Rico: A History of Food, Culture, and Identity

by Cruz Miguel Ortíz Cuadra and translated by Russ Davidson

From the publisher: Available for the first time in English, Cruz Miguel Ortíz Cuadra’s magisterial history of the foods and eating habits of Puerto Rico unfolds into an examination of Puerto Rican society from the Spanish conquest to the present. Each chapter is centered on an iconic Puerto Rican foodstuff, from rice and cornmeal to beans, roots, herbs, fish, and meat. Ortíz shows how their production and consumption connects with race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and cultural appropriation in Puerto Rico.

Using a multidisciplinary approach and a sweeping array of sources, Ortíz asks whether Puerto Ricans really still are what they ate. Whether judging by a host of social and economic factors–or by the foods once eaten that have now disappeared–Ortíz concludes that the nature of daily life in Puerto Rico has experienced a sea change.

Cruz Miguel Ortiz Cuadra is senior lecturer in the department of humanities at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao, and author of Puerto Rico en la olla, among other books.

University of North Carolina Press, 2013