Critiquing the Elite in the Barataria and 'Ricote' Food Episodes in Don Quijote II

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In Don Quixote II the multiple food episodes revolve around Sancho Panza who experiences and discusses the changing face of Spain's gastronomy. From simple peasant food to elaborate noble banquets, from a village wedding celebration to spontaneous roadside meals, and from detailed food preparations to post prandial conversations, the visceral Sancho experiences fully sensual pleasures of consumption. Characters in the novel, specifically Don Quixote and the doctor Pedro Recio who attends to Sancho while governor of Barataria, reveal cultural assumptions that consuming certain foods was a sign of social identity and maintained proper social equilibrium. In addition to confronting this indoctrinated social elitism, the Barataria episode and the "Ricote" episode when Sancho shares lunch with travelers after he leaves the "insula," bring to light strains of nationalism in the dishes Cervantes includes. Through Sancho's exaggerated culinary moments, Cervantes introduces regional and international dishes that reveal culinary trends of inclusion and exclusion. This paper, then, explores social stratification that occurs both at the table and in society at large as exemplified through the dining scenes in Barataria and later, on the crossroads of Spain. Drawing from the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Massimo Montanari and Juan Cruz Cruz as well as sixteenth-century food manuals I hope to illustrate food's role in the changing social climate of early modern Spain.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature
  • Spanish Literature

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