Literature and Cookery: Writing, Reading, Cooking and Eating
Universidad de Sevilla
Area of Study
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
This Course is designed as a way of approaching the world of cuisine and food through literature in
different periods and throughout history. It is not intended to be either exhaustive nor all-embracing,
but rather a humble hors d'oeuvre that aims to whet the appetite for the great banquet of literature in
its relations with food, cuisine, eating habits, and gastronomy.
The Course is made up of two distinct parts. A theoretical part wherein literary texts in which cuisine
and food play a relevant role will be read and analyzed. The other part will be practical, and consists of
preparing dishes from a range of recipes related to a series of texts, as well as to Spanish culture as such
Introduction: Why literature and cuisine?
Topic 1: The Dawn of Cuisine
-Cuisine in Sumer (bread and beer in the poem of Gilgamesh).
-Bread in Ancient Egypt (hieroglyphics).
-Food and symbol: The Bible (Old and New Testaments).
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Bread making.
Topic 2: Notes on the Classical World
- Homer’s Odyssey: The first barbeque?
- Marcus Gavius Apicius, the first gourmet.
- Petronius’ Satyricon; those Romans!
- Lucius Junius Moderatus “Columela”, the agriculture correspondent from Cádiz.
- Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial) and his Epigrams.
A screening of sequences from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.
A screening of scenes from Federico Fellini’s “Satyricon”.
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: A pickles and salted fish tasting. Cuisine inspired by the Apicius
recipe collection. How to prepare marinade and French toast (‘torrijas’).
The Middle Ages
Topic 3: From the Eulogizing of Vegetable Stew (“alboronía”) to the nostalgia for fried eggs
- The legacy of Abu l-Hasan Ali ibn Nafi “Zyriab“.
- Al-Yahiz, Amr: The Book of the Greedy (Libro de los avaros).
- Ibn Razin al-Tuyibi and his Table Titbits (Relieve de las mesas).
- Notes on the Talmud collection of doctrines and laws.
- Ben Sira on the subject of gluttony.
- Selection of Maimonides' commentaries on wine and food in his Guide for the Perplexed.
- Ibn Rushd “Averroes”. Al-Adwiya wa 'l-aghdhiya (medicine and nutrition).
- “The Battle between Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma (Lent)” in Juan Ruiz’s The Book of Good Love (El
libro de buen amor).
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Spinach with chickpeas, vegetable stew (alboronía), and fried
A screening of scenes from Tassos Boulmetis’ A Touch of Spice.
Topic 4: A case in point: The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel by François Rabelais, eschatology in
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: soufflés, pâtés, filloa pancakes, and mousse.
Topic 5: To Eat or Not To Eat, That Was the Question: Where What Is Told About Is the Very Special and
Close Relationship that Existed between the Picaresque Rogue and Hunger
-Francisco Delicado in The Lusty Andalisian Maid (La Lozana Andaluza).
- An entertainment piece: “The Dinner” by Baltasar del Alcázar.
-Lazarillo de Tormes.
-Quevedo’s The Rougue.
A screening of: The Rogue.
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: A Passover supper.
Topic 6: A Golden Age in which not All that Glitters is Gold
-The gastronomic sorrows and joys of the austere Don Quixote and the plump Sancho Panza.
-Lope de Vega and the role of the stewpot in his play entitled The Lions’ Son (El hijo de los leones).
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Fry-up (“Duelos y quebrantos”) and cottage cheese with quince
Eating in Modern Times
Topic 7: From Realism to Naturalism
-Between down-to-earth chickpeas and stews, on the one hand, and gallicization/frenchification, on the
other hand, in the Madrid of Galdós.
-Emilia Pardo Bazán: aristocrat and gourmet.
-Juan Valera or sybaritism down south.
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: High-stakes stew or lamb stew and vegetables Jewish style
(Cocido con mayúsculas o adafina)
Topic 8: Gastronomic snatches in Galíndez by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, in The Century of Lights (El
siglo de las luces) by Alejo Carpentier, and in Days and Nights of Love and War (Días y noches de amor y
de guerra) by Eduardo Galeano
-Reflecting upon Basque cuisine.
- Carpentier’s “grill to beat all grills,” or Caribbean exuberance.
- Going around the marketplace with Galeano.
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Fish stew Veracruz style and rice pudding.
Topic 9: Jorge Amado and Isabel Allende, humor and love among the cooking stoves, or erotica and
A screening of: Like Water for Chocolate
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Spinach “a la creme” with raisins and pine nuts, fried eggplant
with molasses, zucchini ravioli and aubergine stuffed with duck and mushrooms; mille-feuille custard slice B.C., chocolate truffle.
Topic 10: Notes on Good and Bad Eating in Noir Detective Thrillers (Four Gastronomic Cases)
- Camilleri, Andrea: the taste of the Mediterranean.
- Himes, Chester: soul food in Harlem; A Strange Case of Murder.
- Mankell, Henning: the cold Baltic.
- Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel: the ongoing “tribute”
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Grilled vegetable salad (escalivada) and noodle fish-stock
Topic 11: Wine in Popular Folklore
Flamenco singing and wine, the inevitable hook-up.
Audio track: The New Mastersinger School (Nuevo Mester de Juglaría): their wine songs
Audio track: a selection of songs about wine
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: A wine-tasting session
Topic 11 Eating in the Movies
The food-table as scenario; a selection of sequences from:
- Almodóvar, Pedro. Women at the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
- Bertolucci, Bernardo. Last Tango in Paris (1972)
- Buñuel, Luis. Viridiana ( Irreverence) (1961)
- Byrne, David. True Stories (Eating in Texas) (1986)
- Cavani, Liliana. La Pelle (Indigestion) (1981)
- Chaplin, Charles. The Gold Rush (So Tender) (1925)
- Chaplin, Charles. Modern Times (1936)
- Chaplin, Charles. A King in New York (1957)
- Coixet, Isabel. Map of the Sounds of Tokyo (2009)
- Del Toro, Guillermo. Pan’s Labyrinth (Temptation) (2006)
- DeVito, Danny. Matilda (The Cake) (1996)
- Edwards, Blake. The Party (1968)
- Jones, Terry. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
- Michell, Roger. Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
Idem… Le Week-End (2013)
- Molinaro, Eduard. Birds of a Feather (La cage aux folles) (screwball comedy) (1978)
- Parker, Adam. Angel Heart. (El huevo y el alma) (1987).
- Rafelson, Bob. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
- Scorsese, Martin. GoodFellas (1990)
- Idem. The Age of Innocence (1993)
- Spielberg, Steven & Lucas, George: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
- Vinterberg, Thomas. Celebration (Festen) (Dirty linen is washed within the family.) (1998)
- Walsh, Raoul. Thief of Bagdad (expressiveness) (1924)
Gastronomic activity to be undertaken: Gazpacho Carmen Maura style, Spanish potato omelette,
and crumbed bread Manchego style (las migas manchegas).
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.