Alimentary Dignity: Defining a Decent Meal in Post-Soviet Cuban Household Cooking

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As the contemporary Cuban food system changes, household consumers must adjust their daily food consumption habits. This article demonstrates the ways Cuban consumers use the category of the “decent meal” to maintain the boundaries of “real” food. I introduce “alimentary dignity” as a framework for understanding why Cubans consider some consumption practices decent, while others are “not real.” The notion of alimentary dignity is a way of giving social meaning to particular forms of consumption as the availability of everyday food shifts with larger scale socioeconomic change. Categorizing meals in particular ways thus becomes a form of mediated affect, deeply entangled with desires to live in idealized ways in the face of change. The concepts of alimentary dignity and the decent meal contribute to broader understandings of how people make meaning out of shifting life circumstances. [Cuba, food, globalization, identity, markets, nutrition].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-442
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology


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