FEMALE KITCHEN NARRATIVES: THE ELEMENTS OF THE LATINA BILDUNGSROMAN THROUGH SELF-EXPLORATION AND PROTEST
The following chapters access kitchen narratives through the lens of the Bildungsroman to help bridge an important gap in the reception and criticism of the theme. In particular, I examine the trope of food and the kitchen space in texts that also deal with coming of age, and how the criticism surrounding these texts has helped or hindered critical understanding of female experiences.
In my Introduction I conduct a survey of the way literary criticism has approached culinary texts and women’s writing about kitchen spaces. I propose that viewing kitchen narratives in Latina authors’ texts as a form of female Bildungsroman serves as a platform for women to communicate their own stories in a way that highlights their contribution to a literary genre through their own personal experiences. In parts 1 and 2 of Chapter 2 I investigate further into the history of culinary writing in Latin America as well as how the Bildungsroman and the kitchen intersect in women’s writing respectively. In Chapter 3 I conduct a critical analysis of one of the most widely studied culinary fictions, Laura Esquivel's Como agua para chocolate (1989), and examine how this text and its scholarship have set the stage for food narrative criticism for women across Latina texts. Chapter 4 focuses on kitchen narratives in texts and how they can be viewed through the lens of the Bildungsroman utilizing Judith Ortiz Cofer's Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood (1991).