Food, Taste, and the Body: Ingestion and Embodiment in Santiago de Cuba


Using a Black feminist embodied approach, this article analyzes the ways in which people in Santiago de Cuba draw on their own embodied practices, sensory experiences, and popular knowledge to determine what forms of ingestion (food, drink, etc.) are good for the body. Influenced by historical ideals of food consumption and colonial entanglements, Cubans use a combination of knowledge gleaned from biomedicine, official nutrition guidelines, and humoral medicine, which are not always in agreement, to ensure that they are taking care of their bodies appropriately. In addition to these external sources, they also continuously assess their own embodied responses to ingestion (e.g., pain, illness, headaches, or other bodily sensations) to determine which foods and drinks should be consumed. Practices of healthy ingestion may also vary between people and circumstance, which people learn over time and from one another, layering on another interpersonal dimension of embodied knowledge. [Cuba, food, embodiment, health, ingestion]