Meso’s Reads

Here are a few things Meso has read/listened to recently:

We enjoyed making (and eating) our Chicago Mixed popcorn recipe. NPR tells us a little more about the history of popcorn. Apparently the Aztecs had a word for the popping sounds of popcorn – totopoca.

In preparation for our Mole Brownie recipe (stay tuned), we stumbled across this wonderful souvenir book created by the Board of Lady Manager’s of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. The board was headed by Bertha Palmer, the wife of Chicago business man and hotelier Potter Palmer. Bertha was also the spark for the invention of the brownie. Check out this digital version of the book, which is a compilation of autographed recipes by the female representatives from all over the United States. There are some interesting (and odd) recipes. We were especially  interested in the recipes coming from New Mexico, like the recipe for Tamales de Dulce, which was written in Spanish!

We have been listening to a lot of NPR recently, and Scott Simon recently interviewed conjunto musical legend Flaco Jimenez about his recent musical collaboration with Max Baca. Conjunto is a wonderful mixture of Mexican and German music. As Scott Simon says, conjunto “can be as American as cherry pie.”

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, most known for La Pocha Nostra and The Couple in the Cage with Coco Fusco. Recently we read his essay, Multicultural Paradigm: Open Letter to the National Arts Communitywritten in the early 90s. It’s an interesting commentary on the emergence of Latino culture into the public sphere and the development of what he calls “border culture.”  The essay analyzes the collision, opposition, and fusion of cultures in the United States, a topic we are also wrestling with here at Meso. While written over twenty years ago, much of Gómez-Peña’s essay still resonates with current events.

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