This edited volume breaks new ground in critical food studies by exploring the allure that Africans, Indians, and Europeans held for ingested commodities such as alcohol, chocolate, peyote, sugar, and tobacco in Mesoamerica. The ability of these commodities to seduce peoples across racial and socioeconomic lines grants them a level of agency in their own right. Using consumption as an analytical tool helps the volume’s contributors illuminate the social meaning embedded within sensorial experiences. The book’s six chapters are grouped thematically into two sections, with the first foregrounding seduction and the second emphasizing substance.

In the first section, Martin Nesvig considers how the meaning ascribed to hallucinogens such as peyote, teonanacatl, and ololiuqui changed over time, eventually leading to “a process of creolization” in the way that they were consumed in mainstream society (28). Although ritual specialists originally used hallucinogens to...

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