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Book Cover for: The Poetics of Fire: Metaphors of Chile Eating in the Borderlands, Victor M. Valle

The Poetics of Fire: Metaphors of Chile Eating in the Borderlands

Victor M. Valle

In The Poetics of Fire, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and Chicano author Victor M. Valle posits the chile as a metaphor for understanding the shared cultural histories of ChicanX and LatinX peoples from preconquest Mesoamerica to twentieth-century New Mexico. Valle uses the chile as a decolonizing lens through which to analyze preconquest Mesoamerican cosmology, early European exploration, and the forced conversion of Native peoples to Catholicism as well as European and Mesoamerican perspectives on food and place. Assembling a rich collection of source material, Valle highlights the fiery fruit's overarching importance as evidenced by the ubiquity of references to the plant over several centuries in literature, art, official documents, and more to offer a new eco-aesthetic reading--a reframing of culinary history from a pluralistic, non-Western perspective.

Book Details

  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publish Date: Nov 15th, 2023
  • Pages: 312
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.90in - 5.98in - 1.02in - 0.90lb
  • EAN: 9780826365545
  • Categories: Americas (North Central South West Indies)Agriculture & Food (see also Political Science - Public Poli

About the Author

Valle, Victor M.: - Victor M. Valle is a professor emeritus at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He writes extensively on urban politics, economy, and food for a variety of media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies. He is the author of Recipe of Memory: Five Generations of Mexican Cuisine.

Praise for this book

"Valle's work makes resounding contributions to the fields of food studies, ethnic studies, Mesoamerican history, and philosophy. This book is bound to become essential reading for scholars, chefs, and chile eaters alike!"--Joseph Tuminello, contributor to Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together
"In this brilliant analysis, chiles emerge as protagonists in the multicultural wars that date from the sixteenth century to the present. Victor M. Valle calls out all the contradictions that entangle culinary practices of heat and flavor with prejudice, misunderstandings, and derision and offers instead erudite theorizations of meaning and power through a taste-based methodology that respects the botanical product as much as its fiery eaters--both equally qualified warriors of memory and dignity."--Maribel Alvarez, coeditor of Hungry for Change: Borderlands Food and Water in the Balance
"A deep exploration into chile's ontology, mythology, epigenetics, and indigenized place-making."--Enrique R. Lamadrid, coeditor of Water for the People: The Acequia Heritage of New Mexico in a Global Context