College of Liberal Arts

Lecture Examines History of Mexican American Food

Thursday Mar 24, 2011 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM | ATT Education Room, Long Center for the Performing Arts

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Mexican food has joined Chinese and Italian as one of the three most popular ethnic varieties in the United States, although many people know that the tacos and burritos they eat are no more representative of the cuisines of Mexico than chop suey and pizza are of Chinese and Italian. Moreover, the American version of Mexican food has spread around the world, to the chagrin of Mexicans who find Tex-Mex wherever they travel. This lecture will follow the history of Mexican American food from the “chili queens” of San Antonio and the taco shops of southern California to contemporary global versions.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Jeffrey Pilcher, a professor of history at the University of Minnesota, has been studying Mexican food since a life-changing encounter with gorditas in Anthony, New Mexico. He is the author of several books on the subject, including the award-winning "¡Qué vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity" and "The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City." He is currently writing about the globalization of Mexican cuisine and editing the Oxford Handbook of the History of Food.

The event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow at 7:30 p.m.

The Mexican Center of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies has organized the speaker series "Foodways of Mexico: Past, Present, and Future." It explores lesser known aspects of Mexico’s rich culinary history, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. The series was organized by Claudia Alarcón, an Austin-based food writer who is a native of Mexico City and has written extensively on foodways topics for a variety of publications, including the Austin Chronicle.

Additional talks in the Foodways of Mexico series will take place later in 2011. Check the LLILAS website for updates.

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