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Pathways: A Journal of Humanistic and Social Inquiry

Abstract

This research explores contemporary Latinx literature to examine the way discourse about food is presented as a form of socio-cultural control through the demand for culturally regulated forms of consumption. Judgmental discourse in what is said about food, how it is said, and expected behaviors of consumption are tied to the creation of a collective Latinx cultural identity. This cultural identity and its expected authenticity revolve around eating foods that are considered static segments of Puerto Rican cultural tradition. It works to assess expectations of identity which are forced upon individuals. This investigation looks at how the refusal of cultural foods and the consumption of cross-cultural foods is linked to the crossing of cultural food borders and thereby physical borders. It examines the concept of cultural loyalty through food and the creation of new Latinidades through consumption in Esmeralda Santiago’s, When I Was Puerto Rican.

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