Accepted paper:

A taste for tapatio things: a changing city, a changing palate

Authors:

Melissa Biggs

Paper short abstract:

This paper combines ongoing ethnographic fieldwork in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and interviews with residents to examine the idea of palate particular to the city. As Guadalajara grows, and food choices change, what happens to the flavors unique to the city?

Paper long abstract:

How does a city taste? For the past year, I have served on the citizens' advisory board for the weekly food section of one the major newspapers in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The advisory board critiques each week's issue, offers suggestions for stories, and tips about new restaurants and other food-related businesses and events. Frequently, discussion turns to changes in local foodscapes: aromas, tastes, and textures remembered and no longer available, and the introduction of new culinary offerings and flavors, some more welcome than others. Many of the participants identify a particular "paladar tapatio," a palate specific to Tapatios, as natives of Guadalajara are called. Based on interviews and ongoing ethnographic fieldwork begun in 2016, I explore the notion of the "paladar tapatio." Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city; between 1990 and 2017, the population grew from three to five million. It receives migrants from other parts of the state and country, and is also home to many international businesses. The centrally located neighborhood in which I live is heralded for its traditional market, taquerías, and restaurants; it is also home to a pho restaurant, multiple sushi outlets, pizza franchises, and stores stocking kombucha and quinoa. As choice has increased, what changes, if any, do residents perceive in their own food-related practices? What connections do they make between shifts in food preferences and the changing flavor of the city?

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Stream:
Body, Affects, Senses, Emotions
Tracking changes in the city through food and the senses [P+W]