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A Tortilla Is Like Life: Food and Culture in the San Luis Valley of Colorado
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A Tortilla Is Like Life: Food and Culture in the San Luis Valley of Colorado (Louann Atkins Temple Women & Culture Series)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  18 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Located in the southern San Luis Valley of Colorado, the remote and relatively unknown town of Antonito is home to an overwhelmingly Hispanic population struggling not only to exist in an economically depressed and politically marginalized area, but also to preserve their culture and their lifeways. Between 1996 and 2006, anthropologist Carole Counihan collected food-cente ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by University of Texas Press
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Susan Albert



"My great-aunts used to say that a tortilla is like life. Nothing is ever going to be exactly the way you want it to be. However life is, that is how your tortilla comes out. So however you rolled out your tortilla, maybe it wasn't quite round, but you ate it because you made it." —Monica Taylor on learning to cook from the Latina women in her family

A Tortilla is Like Life is a valuable, imminently readable book that deserves a place beside such currently popular food-centered books as Michael
...more
Jeremy
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, history
I decided to check this book out because I'm spending most of the year in the San Luis Valley and I wanted to understand the history and culture a little better. I wasn't quite prepared for this spare but effective work of oral history. The author does a remarkable job of drawing out and together the voices of her subjects and creating a deeply compelling and memorable portrait of lives and culture in this somewhat isolated part of the world. Highly recommended.
Caroline DeCunzo
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This ethnography focused on Colorado Mexicanas in the town of Antonito and the role of food production, preparation, distribution and consumption in their lives. Counihan uses polyphonic testimonios to capture the stories of 19 Mexicanas over the course of 10 years, between 1996 and 2006. She explores typical diets, gender roles in relation to food and domestic responsibilities, challenges to societal norms surrounding gender, the role of capitalism and the ways Mexicanas use their agency as foo ...more
Emily
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Counihan's ethnographic research on the women of the San Luis Valley of Colorado was collected over 10 years and then distilled into this marvelous book, exploring every element of these women's lives through food. Sometimes the ethnographic sections slow down the reading, but Counihan's argumentative sections are very strong and clear.

Overall, it provides an excellent example of Counihan's trademark methodology of using food-centered life histories to learn about the socio-cultural context of
...more
Danielle
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this ethnography. The writing is descriptive, moving, and accessible. The background and methodology sections are clear. I was also touched by the women of the San Luis Valley. To me, a good ethnography conveys information and connects the reader with individual or individuals its about. This ethnography did both.

Also, a great book for food studies in Southwestern United States.
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