Demedicalizing health: the kitchen as a site of care

Attention to culinary care can enrich the framing of health within medical anthropology. We focus on care practices in six Latin American kitchens to illuminate forms of health not located within a singular human subject. In these kitchens, women cared not for individuals but for meals, targeting the health of families and landscapes. Many medical anthropologists have critiqued health for its associations with biomedicine/biocapitalism, some even taking a stance ‘against health’. Though sympathetic to this critique, our focus on women’s practices of caring for health through food highlights dissonances between clinical and non-clinical forms of health. We call for the development of an expanded vocabulary of health that recognizes health care treatment strategies that do not target solely the human body, but also social, political, and environmental afflictions.

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