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Wilson, E 2010, 'Beyond beans and cheese: representations of food, travel and Mexico City in the Australian Gourmet Traveller', Text, vol. special issue no. 9.

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The Australian Gourmet Traveller (AGT) positions itself as ‘the country’s premier food and travel magazine’, speaking to those ‘who aspire to the good life’ (ACP magazines). This paper explores the role of food travel writing in Australian Gourmet Traveller. Specifically, critical discourse analysis is used to explore the representations and constructions of Mexico City in a short travel piece—‘New Wave Mexico’—which was featured in AGT’s November 2009 edition. Drawing on post/anti-colonial theories and my own reflexive experiences as a reader of Gourmet Traveller, the paper examines the extent to which this story reinforces simple assumptions of the exotic Other, and how food is intrinsically bound to this construction. Essentially, I argue that pieces such as ‘New Wave Mexico’, within upmarket magazines like the Gourmet Traveller, are powerful media which appeal and speak to the aspirations of privileged groups by differentiating them—in food and in travel—from the ‘everyday’. Ultimately, ‘New Wave Mexico’ leaves little room for readers or travellers to engage meaningfully with the city, its people and its local food. Instead there is no choice but to buy in to simple and imaginative geographies of what Mexico and Mexico City represent. Conclusions are then drawn which might help us move beyond this dilemma.

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