Sor Juana’s kitchen – La Jornada State of Mexico

And you believed that Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz did not cook? Well, she was wrong. The genius of geniuses and leading figure of eighteenth-century letters did.

In a work written on paper, the original manuscript was found. “This recipe book, whether or not it is Sor Juana’s holograph, has a great value in itself, because, on the one hand, it reveals new interests of her multifaceted personality, and, on the other, it is a document that shows another aspect of the novohispanic culture that is its cuisine.

It is very interesting for us to find that the State of Mexico itself has taken care to redo Sor Juana’s work. This little book to which we will refer, is not a simple cookbook, it is the permanent testimony of the humility and multifaceted personality with which she once lived in the center of the Convent, which, after all, was herself.

“She is a woman of her time, therefore, with evident and mocking humility, she says: ‘But, Madam, what can we women know if not cooking philosophies? ‘.

“All this shows us that, although Sor Juana’s interest in the kitchen went beyond the mere preparation of a delicious dish, since the simplest of culinary actions elevated her to that “second consideration of things that is the philosophical reflection, she practiced by herself, and surely with the help of her slave, the art of cooking.

“…this allows us to know that Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz participated in the art of cooking”, Josefina Muriel de González Mariscal tells us. With a brilliant intelligence, the author, Sor Juana, ends by saying “… she could not be trapped in the delights of sugar, nor in the smell of stews, one after another they took her back to the abstract.”

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On the other hand, in the book “El Universo de la Cocina Mexicana” it is said: “If we admit that cooking made man, as the science of Biology and Anthropology maintains, we accept the importance that this activity has had for the development of the species, not only biologically, but also economically, politically, socially, religiously, culturally, artistically…, since all matters that concern human beings pass through the universe of cooking.” Thus, the kitchen is the unifying center of human development.

Politicians and students; scientists and teachers; the artists and the peasants; the workers and the merchants, the rulers and their ruled; in short…the most important part of the human race, makes the most important decisions of their lives by eating.

The most important events of the human species are around a plate of food. Thus, eating becomes an intimate act, a generous act: it is only shared with those closest to us.

Let us therefore remember Lázaro Cárdenas in an image in which you can see the closeness he had with the peasants, when he shared a taco with them.

Let us also remember that, among the oldest traditions of the Mexican people, the act of eating represents a symbol of their society. Parties, stewardships, weddings, baptisms, compadrazgos, all of them revolve around sharing something, and this something is bread and salt.

This is not everyday nonsense. It is a real part of our everyday life.

Manchamanteles, recipe by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Chiles deveined and soaked overnight, ground with toasted sesame seeds, and fried all in butter, you will add the necessary water, the chicken, slices of banana, sweet potato, apple and its necessary salt.

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