Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

April Mayes

Reader 2

Samuel Yamashita

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An analysis of the history of Puerto Rican cuisine from first contact between Indigenous Taínos and Spanish explorers to present day Chicago-Puerto Rican cuisine. This thesis will examine the development of Puerto Rican national cuisine as part of growing nationalism in the late nineteenth century and again in the early twentieth century. As Puerto Rican migrants settle in Chicago, they bring their cuisine with them and Puerto Rican national cuisine changes in their new context to become Chicago-Puerto Rican cuisine. This new cuisine grows along with the Chicago-Puerto Rican community and is impacted by transnational forces as well as gentrification and changing understandings of Puerto Rican identity. The analysis of Chicago-Puerto Rican cuisine is based largely in the oral histories of restaurant owners and workers who play a major role in defining this cuisine.