eHumanista/Cervantes is an online, open access journal published by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California Santa Barbara,


Food metaphors, culinary motifs, and gastronomic inquiry play a significant role in the development of Cervantes most renowned novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. Readers may immediately recall the second sentence of the novel that portrays Alonso Quijano by his weekly diet to know that food and identity are inextricably linked. Additionally, food representations enliven the pages with semiotic clues that reveal the characters’ state of being; themes of ethnic, class, and social identities; and cultural norms of breaking bread, sharing meals, and lively post prandial discussions. These representations often serve to destabilize the text and bring into question notions of fiction and truth and appearance and reality. In this way, these rich food motifs lend themselves to many of the major underpinnings of the novel. In this essay and in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the publication of Part 2 of the novel, I hope to reveal the culinary structure–a gastronomic map of sorts—that is embedded in Don Quixote Part 2, highlights Cervantes’ creativity, develops characterization, and complements many of the major tenets of the novel, including hospitality, celebration, modern art forms, health, class and social identity, ethnicity, and the tension between fiction and truth.


Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature | Spanish Literature