First Advisor

Martha Works

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Food -- Transportation, Peruvian cooking, Cooking -- California -- San Francisco, Culture and globalization, United States -- Commerce -- Peru



Physical Description

1 online resource (100 p.)


In a setting of increased movement, communication, and flows across space, commodity chain networks bring valued cultural commodities to transnational communities. This research examines the networks bringing foreign cuisine ingredients to Peruvian transnational communities in San Francisco, California. It seeks to answer three inter-related questions: 1) What are the origins and transportation networks bringing Peruvian food items to San Francisco; 2) Who controls and benefits from the movement of this food and resulting capital; and 3) How do networks vary for different classes of end consumers?

Chefs of ten Peruvian restaurants and ten Peruvian migrants in the San Francisco area are interviewed to determine primary imported Peruvian food items and their cultural value. Interviews with representatives of major importing companies as well as searches of import/export databases are used to trace network flows. Flow maps follow the food items from the point of origin to the point of consumption and visually demonstrate the flow of resulting capital. Additionally, network maps are divided into three categories determined by end consumer: expensive restaurant, moderate restaurant, and home cooking. Maps are analyzed for differences between these categories. Finally, a narrative analysis discusses the role of migrants' cultural eating habits in San Francisco and its connection to transnational commodity networks.

The research offers commentary on the role of food as a cultural marker for Peruvian transnationals and on the relations of power within the commodity network. This research unites economy and culture at the local and global scales while showing how “things” are imbued with cultural meaning during the processes of production to consumption on a transnational network.


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