KITCHENSPACE, FIESTAS, AND CULTURAL REPRODUCTION IN MEXICAN HOUSE-LOT GARDENS*

Authors


  • *

    I thank Gregory W. Knapp, Karl W. Butzer, and William E. Doolittle at the University of Texas for their support and encouragement over the years and Clarissa T. Kimber for the privilege and pleasure of working together on this special issue of the Geographical Review as well as her helpful comments on this article. I am grateful to many people in Xochimilco, Ocotepec, and Tetecala who shared their kitchenspaces, food, and friendship.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. The house-lot garden in central Mexico is gendered space where changing cultural identities are negotiated, re-created, and celebrated as “tradition” is continually redefined. No clear boundary separates the kitchen from the house-lot garden or the private space of the household from the semipublic space of the community. During collective food preparation for religious fiestas, gendered reciprocity networks strengthen community relations and foster alliances between traditional neighborhoods and between communities in the region. At the intersection of everyday life and fiestas, food-preparation spaces, or kitchenspaces, in the house-lot garden are fertile areas in which to explore the cultural reproduction of nature-society relations. They are vital to understanding gender, place, and culture in this region and represent people's symbolic connection with the land in increasingly urban contexts. This article analyzes the sense of place that Mexican women derive from their house-lot gardens.

Ancillary