Seasoning for the Soul: Empowerment Through Food Preparation Among Mexican Women in the Texas Colonias Academic Article uri icon


  • This article examines the idea of empowerment through food preparation and applies it to a specific context-that of the life of immigrant Mexican women from two South Texas settlement areas, or colonias. Based on ethnographic data gathered through participant observation by bilingual research teams of promotoras and formally educated health professionals embedded with participant families, we analyze the living situations of low-income Mexican women in the South Texas colonias, particularly their food procurement, storage, and preparation practices for their families. We acknowledge the existence of hegemonic gendered, economic, and racialized structures of domination that surround the women's role in food preparation. However, we also recognize food preparation as the domain in which otherwise oppressed and marginalized women, living a life of isolation filled with severe problems and uncertainties, exercise some degree of power and control within their lives and the well-being of their family members. Included are implications for further research on communal empowerment. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Sukovic, M., Sharf, B., Sharkey, J., & John, J.

complete list of authors

  • Sukovic, Masha||Sharf, Barbara||Sharkey, Joseph||John, Julie

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM