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Religion in the Kitchen"Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions"$
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Elizabeth Pérez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479861613

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479861613.001.0001

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Kitchen, Food, and Family

Kitchen, Food, and Family

Chapter:
(p.53) 2 Kitchen, Food, and Family
Source:
Religion in the Kitchen
Author(s):

Elizabeth Pérez

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479861613.003.0003

Chapter 2 enters the “kitchenspace” of the ilé and teases apart the ways that members’ relationships with the orishas are shaped by the act of consumption. It opens with the construction of divine hunger in Lucumí mythology and its satisfaction as organizing an awareness of the orishas’ personhood and subjectivity. After underscoring the fact that many sacred objects in Black Atlantic religions have their origins in vessels used for food preparation, the chapter then turns to the foundational characterization of Lucumí cuisine by the twentieth-century historian and self-taught ethnologist Fernando Ortiz. It pivots off of a reconsideration of his claims to examine Ashabi’s kitchen as a matrix of tradition—with reference to both African roots and routes to Cuba—as well as innovation in pedagogy. It explores the role of memory, sensory experience, and corporeality in teaching cooking to the uninitiated. The chapter describes some of the dishes served to the orishas on ritual occasions and remarks on the care taken to prepare them. With an eye toward the classification of food offerings as sacrifices and their use as media for the absorption and dissemination of divine energy, the chapter elaborates on the idea that eating makes for kinship.

Keywords:   kitchenspace, mythology, personhood, consumption, cuisine, sensory experience, pedagogy, sacrifice, media, kinship

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