Literature and Cuisine: Read, Write, Cook, Eat

Universidad de Sevilla

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Literature and Cuisine: Read, Write, Cook, Eat

    Course Closed
  • Host University

    Universidad de Sevilla

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, Literature, Spanish

  • Language Level


    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course is designed as a way to approach the world of cooking and food through literature in
    different periods throughout history. It is not intended to cover all aspects of Spanish cooking, but
    rather as a humble appetizer that should whet the appetite for the great banquet of literature in its
    relation to food, cooking, and gastronomy.

    The course consists of two distinct parts. A theoretical part in which we will read and analyze literary
    texts in which cooking and food have a relevant role. The other part will be practical, and consists of a
    series of recipes related to some of the texts and to Spanish culture.

    INTRODUCTION: Why literature and cuisine?

    Topic 1 The awakening of cooking
    Baking and brewing in Sumer (bread and beer in the “Poem of Gilgamesh”)
    Bread in Ancient Egypt (Hieroglyphics: “The bakery of Ramses II”)
    Food and symbol: The Bible (Old and New Testaments)
    Gastronomic activity: Baking bread

    Topic 2 Some notes on the classical world

    Homer’s Odyssey: The first barbeque?
    Marcus Gavius Apicius, the exaggerated gourmet.
    Lucius Junius Moderatus “Columela”, from Gades to Rome
    Petronius’ Satyricon, those Roman.
    Viewing of scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalipse now”
    and Federico Fellini’s “Satyricon”
    Gastronomic activity: Cooking with Apicius and “torrijas.” Tasting of pickles and salted fish.


    Topic 3 From compliments to “alboronía” to fried eggs “nostalgia”
    Heritage of Abu l-Hasan Ali ibn Nafi “Zyriab“
    Al-Yahiz, Amr. “The Book of Misers”
    Ibn Razin al-Tuyibi “A book of recipes from Al Andalus”
    Ibn Rushd “Averroes.” Al-Adwiya wa 'l-aghdhiya ("Drugs and Foods")
    A couple of notes from the “Talmud”
    Ben Sira on gluttony
    Maimonides on wine and food (from the “Guide for the Perplexed”)
    The battle of Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma in Juan Ruiz’s “El libro de buen amor.”
    Gastronomic activity: Spinach with garbanzo beans, alboronía and fried eggs.
    Viewing of scenes from Tassos Boulmetis’s: A Touch of Spice


    Topic 4 “A Golden Age in which not everything glitters”
    "The gastronomic sorrows and joys of the austere Don Quixote and the greedy Sancho Panza"
    Lope de Vega, the pot in “El hijo de los leones”
    Baltasar Del Alcázar’s Dinner,
    Francisco Delicado en la Lozana Andaluza
    Gastronomic activity: “Duelos y quebrantos” and “cottage cheese with quince jelly”

    Topic 5 Eating or not eating, that was the question: "in which is recounted the very close relationship
    between hunger and rogues"
    El Lazarillo de Tormes
    “El Buscón” de don Francisco de Quevedo
    Viewing: El Pícaro
    Gastronomic activity: lentejas, y kalatrava.

    Topic 6 François Rabelais’ “Gargantúa y Pantagruel:” The extreme scatological
    Gastronomic activity: Ratatuille, and duck.
    Eating in modern times

    Topic 7 from Realism to Naturalism
    Galdós and Madrid
    Emilia Pardo Bazán: “Aristocrat and gourmet”
    Juan Valera: “The exotic South”
    Gastronomic activity: A "upper case" “COCIDO”

    Topic 8 Escritores y gourmets
    Julio Camba and his gourmet writings
    Víctor de la Serna: Journalist and gourmet
    Néstor Luján: The gourmet as a novel writer
    Viewing: Babette’s banquet.
    Gastronomic activity: Espárragos trigueros or tagarninas (wild asparagus)
    Estofado de toro (bull’s meat stew)

    Topic 9 Gourmet flashes in Manuel Vázquez Montalván’s “Galíndez,” Alejo Carpentier’s “El Siglo de las
    Luces,” and Eduardo Galeano’s “Días y noches de amor y de guerra”
    Reflexiones sobre un plato vasco
    Exuberance in the Caribbean: El bucán de bucanes de Carpentier
    Going up the market with Galeano
    Gastronomic activity: “Cooking fish Veracruz style” and rice pudding

    Topic 10 Isabel Allende: On erotica and cuisine
    Visionado: Como agua para el chocolate
    Actividad gastronómica:
    - In search of the perfect “maridaje”:
    Spinach “à la crème” with raisins and pine nuts
    Fried eggplant with molasses,
    Deep delights: chocolate truffle

    Topic 11: Notes on food in the detective novel (Four cases, plus one from the riffraff))
    Bas, Juan. Modesto homenaje a Ferrán Adriá: la deconstrucción de la tortilla en “Alakranes en su tinta”.
    Camilleri, Andrea: the flavor of the Mediterranean sea
    Himes, Chester: Soul food in Harlem
    Mankell, Henning: cold from the Baltic
    Vázquez Montalván, Manuel: the continuos “homage”
    Gastronomic activity: Escalibada y fideua

    Topic 12 Eating in movies (para abrir boca)
    The table as a stage, selected scenes from
    Almodóvar, Pedro. “Women at the edge of a nervous breakdown” (1988)
    Buñuel, Luis. “Viridiana” (the irreverence) (1961)
    Byrne, David. “True stories” (eating in Texas) (1986)
    Cavani, Liliana. “La Pelle” (1981) (la indigestión)
    Chaplin, Charles. “The gold rush” (1925) (tender)
    Chaplin, Charles. “A king in New York” (1957)
    Coixet, Isabel. “El mapa de los sonidos de Tokyo” (2009)
    Del Toro, Guillermo. “El laberinto del fauno” (la tentación) (2006)
    DeVito, Danny. “Matilda” (the cake) (1996)
    Edwards, Blake. “The Party” (1968)
    Molinaro, Eduard. “La cage aux folles” (el humor) (1978)
    Rafelson, Bob. “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1981)
    Walsh, Raoul. “Thief of Bagdad” (1924) la expresión

    A selection of succulent movies
    Akın, Fatih. “Soul Kitchen” (2009)
    Arau, Alfonso. “Como agua para el chocolate” (1992)
    Axel, Gabriel. “Babette’s Feast” (1987)
    Barreto, Bruno. “Doña flor y sus maridos” (1976)
    Boulmetis, Tassos. “A touch of spice” (2003)
    Ferreri, Marco. “La Grande bouffe” (1973)
    Greenaway, Peter. “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover” (1989) (amor/horror)
    Ephron, Nora. “Julie and Julia” (2009)
    Jeunet, Jean-Pierre. “Delicatessen” (1991)
    Lee, Ang. “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” (the oldest cuisine?) (1994)
    Payne, Alexander. “Sideways” (2004)
    Taylor, Tate. “The help” (2011)
    Zwick, Joel. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (2002)
    Gastronomic activity: El gazpacho de Carmen Maura, playing with the “Spanish tortilla” y las
    migas manchegas

    Topic 13 Wine in traditional music
    Flamenco singing and wine, an inevitable marriage
    Gastronomic activity: Wine tasting
    Audición: Nuevo Mester de Juglaría: Cantes del vino and selección de cantes relacionados con el
    Topic 14 Thanksgiving/Xmas special (in the Fall)
    Bulwer-Lytton, Edward. “The Last Days of Pompeii”: A Roman banquet.
    García Lorca, Isabel. “Memoirs.” Christmas dinner with Federico and Manuel de Falla.
    Kelly, Jacqueline. “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate”: A thanksgiving banquet in Texas.
    Gastronomic activity: Thanksgiving/Xmas dinner

    10% Active Participation in class
    15% Cook book/Portfolio: 10 recipes from class, including: ingredients, how to make it, and the literary
    context + report on visit to the market
    25% Midterm
    20% Paper based on one of the literary works or film from the list recommended
    15% Oral presentation
    15% Final exam

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.


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