1st Edition

Cooking and Coping Among the Cacti Diet, Nutrition and Available Income in Northwestern Mexico

By Roberta D. Baer Copyright 1999

    Using data collected from 105 households in Sonora, Mexico, the author combines detailed ethnographic research with quantitative analyses of income, diet, and nutritional status to examine the dietary patterns of residents who "cook and cope among the cacti." Employing a new analytical concept of "available income" - which can differ greatly from total income and provide valuable insight into why people eat what they do - the work explores a variety of social and cultural factors that affect food expenditure and consumption. Home production of food and the extent to which women are employed outside of the home are just two of the many variables discussed that influence available income and how it is used. But even among groups with similar available incomes, variables of ethnicity, prestige, nutritional knowledge, and the desire for consumer goods come into play.

    1. The Basic Recipe: An Introduction 2. The Critical Ingredients: The Ethnographic Context 3. Trickling It In: Variables Affecting Available Income 4. Out of the Fire...and Into the Frying Pan: Conclusions 5. Dishing It Out: Allocation of Available Income


    Roberta D. Baer