“What Else Happened in the Early Modern Kitchen? Reading Celestina’s Kitchen through the Manual de mugeres.”


Using both Fernando de Rojas’ Celestina and the anonymous Manual de mugeres en el qual se contienen muchas y diversas reçeutas muy buenas as primary sources, this article explores products women regularly prepared in their domestic space in addition to daily meals. Specifically, it examines items that deal directly with cosmetics for the skin, aromatics, products for the hair and mouth, and remedies for common ailments, including relief for women after childbirth. Responding to the research of Peter Russell and others on Celestina’s witchcraft and drawing from that of Alicia Martínez Crespo and Jesús Terrón González on cosmetics and concepts of beauty in the early modern era, this work illustrates the domestic chores expected of women beyond those related to food production and consumption. Through a close reading of Pármeno’s inventory of Celestina’s home in Auto 1 of the novel and the recipes provided in the Manual, we learn that a woman who ran a household in the early modern era had extensive knowledge of a wide variety of herbs, flowers, bark and roots; and that she was capable of fabricating a wide range of domestic products from volatile cleaning agents, like lye, to aromatic hair rinses to stimulate hair growth. In addition we learn that food items are intimately tied to products of health and beauty as they often call for identical ingredients and are created in the same domestic space.


Other Arts and Humanities | Spanish Literature

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