The Fat Studies Reader

By Esther Rothblum; Sondra Solovay | Go to book overview

28
The Fat of the (Border)land
Food, Flesh, and Hispanic Masculinity in
Willa Cather's
Death Comes for the Archbishop

Julia McCrossin

“There are nearly a thousand years of history in this soup,” Bishop Latour proclaims as he complements his fellow French missionary Father Vaillant's culinary skills near the beginning of Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop (1990a, p. 299). Toward the end of the narrative, Latour urges his newest priests “to encourage the Mexicans to add fruit to their starchy diet” (p. 438). In the spaces between these two statements, spaces that span time and country and culinary habits, lies an undiscovered portion of the Southwest in Death Comes for the Archbishop. In this text these two Catholic priests often lament the state of indigenous diets in mid-nineteenth century New Mexico. This diet, a mix of European and Mesoamerican influences dating from the sixteenth century, is now one of the more popular modern cuisines in the United States. Although we do not get any lessons on creating the perfect corn tortilla in Death Comes for the Archbishop, we do get a cooking lesson of a different sort: a lesson on how food can serve as a secret language of history and nation forming, of masculinity and desire, and of how Cather's text mediates between larger historical discourses and the everyday lives of a heterogeneous population. Looking specifically at food (and the subsequent conflation of Hispanic men and fat) allows us to explicate some of the troubling characterizations that have adhered to the Hispanic subject since the beginning of American colonization. I use the descriptor “Hispanic,” instead of “Latino” or “Chicano” or “Mexican American,” to discuss Cather's characters because I feel that it most clearly describes the fact that some of the characters included in my analysis perceive themselves as Spanish, a belief that John M. NietoPhillips (2004) describes as “hispanidad”—a rhetorical move to help encourage acceptance of New Mexico into the union by stressing the “European” heritage of New Mexican residents.

One may be tempted to wonder why food in Death Comes for the Archbishop is an area worthy of such specialized attention. As Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik explain in the introduction to their text Food and Culture: A Reader, “Food marks social differences, boundaries, bonds, and contradictions. Eating is an endlessly evolving enactment of gender, family, and community relationships” (1997, p.

-241-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Fat Studies Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 365

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.