Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Manlio Argueta & Jorge Argueta: Book Presentation


Saturday, October 26 at 2 PM – 4 PM
2969 Mission St. San Francisco


Bay Area Family,

Please join as we celebrate legendary Salvadoran author Manlio Argueta’s latest novel, Así en la tierra como en las aguas.


His published works include A Place Called Milagro de la Paz, Little Red Riding Hood in the Red Light District, Cuzcatlan: Where the Southern Sea Beats, and One Day of Life, which has been translated into 12 languages and is fifth on the list by Modern Library of the 100 best Latin American novels of the 20th century

Caravan To The North, Misael’s Long Walk, by Jorge Argueta, narrates the story of a young boy and his family who decide to join a caravan fleeing to El Norte.


Surprise guest poets, music and light refreshments!


Querida familia del Área de la Bahía. Acompáñenos a celebrar la nueva novela del legendario escritor, Manlio Argueta, Así en la tierra como en las aguas. Dr. Manlio Argueta, es el autor de la novela clásica, Un día en la vida, traducida al menos a una docena de idiomas. Única presentación.

Caravana al norte, la larga caminata de Misael, de Jorge Argueta, narra la historia de un joven salvadoreño que junto a su familia decide unirse a una caravana que sale de El Salvador para llegar al norte.


$10 donation (no one turned away for lack of funds)


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Voices from the Ancestors at Ave50. Gluten-free Chicano cooks. Autry Mural Update

Rigor, Received Knowledge, Learning to Think

Review: Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales, Eds. Voices from the Ancestors. Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices. Tucson: UArizonaPress, 2019.

Michael Sedano


Beatrice Villa was born in Pomona, California in 1898. As a girl, she herded sheep in the Crystal Springs Pass area, where today, Redlands and Yucaipa shake hands along Interstate 10. Grampa grew up in La Barranca somewhere in the Chihuahua monte. Grampa could cure any ailment with herbs and ointments and magic fingers. Gramma told me she knows where the lost gold mine of Crystal Springs is located. Both she (English) and my Grampa (Spanish) were storytellers whose knowledge and wisdom are handed to me through stories, beliefs, practices, and the continuity of generations.

And my other gramma, from Michoacan, who knew herbs and plants and food and taught me the difference between de la casa and del monte, and who made caldo from the rooster that beat me up one day, I know languages and stories from her, too.

Like every Chicana or Chicano, I'm a product of what these abuelos taught me, even if I can remember only a fragment of what they told me. Were I to formalize my memories and turn them into expression, invent new knowledge from received knowledge, I would unlock immense spiritual resources in words, and connect across generations into ancestral knowledge. All of them, not just mine. In reading, others would do likewise. If there were such a book.

Such a book would be literature anyone could use in practical ways, and specialists like students, can use professionally. But there'd be a caveat to the latter. To certain members of the academy, the spiritual content of cultural identity comes with suspiciously tenuous conceptual rigor.

Get over it, as the parlance goes. It's been done. There's a book. Voices from the Ancestors. Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices. 

Editors Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales collect the work of eighty-five writers investigating, documenting, teaching spiritual practice and theory as indigenous gente have done, would do, could do, will do. "Xicanx and Latinx Spritual Expressions and Healing Practices," the subtitle of the collected knowledge Medina and Gonzales compile, makes clear how Voices From the Ancestors(link) comes with its own audience along with an enhancement of curricular impact for its exogenous readers. "Decolonization" looks like this.

Editors Medina and Gonzales and la portada arte by Emilia Garcia, back: Prisoner art
Medina and Gonzales debuted the thirty-dollar book at Highland Park's gallery of record, Avenue 50 Studio,(link) almost within sight of the Native people of the Americas mural the gallery's helping restore. Gonzales debuted the work recently in Europe.

There's an interesting dual layout at work. The lineal table of contents flows along a topical agenda but also reflects the flow of a day or a person's growth, from morning ritual to evening prayer, from birth to sexuality to death. Chapters on altars and sacred spaces, dance, writing, painting, meld with chapters on death and dying, dreaming and cleansing, curanderismx and health.

The x in some words conveys attitude more than grammatical precision. Writers elect x's use or not, throughout. I don't recall reading "wymyn" or variants. Gender topics range through, male, female, transitional, queer, joto. Rape, recovery and identity occupy important roles in the impact of the collection. Sexuality-related topics, and food, will be the book's most accessible elements. There's not a lot of Spanish in the text. Interestingly, the introduction, which Medina read at Ave50, italicizes "conocimiento" but when Medina reads it, she substitutes "knowledge" for it. The editors state their use of language and parlance is not a hang-up. That's a method of ensuring its widest possible readership.

Voices From the Ancestors exemplifies the value and importance of material culture in spiritual subjects by including a nicely-printed set of eleven color plates on coated stock. Medina mentioned the pages, naming contributors who sponsored the pages. These plates, and the how-to content, make the book a solid addition to anyone's library, though I'd check any used copies to make sure it still has those gorgeous plates.


Raza and allies come to this knowledge eager for a book

Raza already know how to read this book. Its knowledge is what we heard, or were prepared to hear, as we grew up. There's a montón of unknown material here for us, variants of what we grew up with, thoughtful essays articulating shared experiences for us. This is what we send our kids to college to learn.

Beyond that, there are woman-specific topics like the essay on recovering from sexual trauma. Don't give me "men get raped" egalitarian crud. That ritual is for women punto.

Still, everyone will benefit from understanding trauma while not diluting the horror of sexual trauma and the assholia of men. Generational, medical, cultural trauma is shared together alone. Victims of epistemicide don't know it.

In Voices From the Ancestors readers endeavor to recover what got killed and what nearly died off, in getting colonialized. Some is recovered, some is made up as they go along and there's nothing wrong in that. Gramma improvised, too.

Some of the anthologized writers believe the ancestors possessed infinite wisdom about divinity and that the act of writing helps encounter its extant forms. While Lauren Francis Guerra is the one who articulates that, the attitude is a clarion throughout the work. Becoming decolonized requires deliberation and deliberate effort, in lak ech doesn't happen by itself even if it's universally true. This is the foundation urgency of the work, the being-in-becoming from reading.

I don't know if Lara and Martha can expect pedo from fusty old-line professors, if any still exist. In my day, this material could not have been considered. Rigor and spirtuality are mutually anathema in some ways of knowing. People have learned to think better nowadays, even the hard liners on curriculum committee should be open to new audiences, if not new ideas. Besides, they're not the only audience.

Does the Academy have the critical acumen to understand this material? If they cannot or will not allow us to create our own knowledge, they'll have to get over it. There were the authors at Avenue 50, reading from the book. Independent booksellers, college bookstores, the publisher, will get your copies to you quickly.

TopL:Jacqueline Garza Lawrence, Omar Gonzalez
BottomL: Linda Vallejo, Marta López-Garza
TopL: Yreina Cervantes, Trini Tlazohteotl Rodriguez
BottomL: Maritza Alvarez, Marisol Lydia Torres

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks
Gluten-free Apple Cheese Quiche
Michael Sedano


Mother Hubbard overextended herself, lived in a shoe along with her dog Tighe and so many mouths to feed, her cupboard invariably stood empty. She made bulgogi.

The Gluten-free Chicano was mother hubbarding the other day. Having grocery-shopped ineffectively, he got home with a bag of apples and whole milk. He went to his cupboard where he found butter and cheese, so The Gluten-free Chicano made custard.

1/3 cube butter melted (.03g carbohydrates)
1 cup loosely packed jack cheese grated (.77g)
2 peeled apples rough chopped (32g)
3 eggs (1.2g)
1 cup milk (11g)
Approximately 45g in the entire dish.

El gluten-free chicas patas used the Honeycrisp apple. Any variety with dry solid flesh whose juice doesn’t run down your chin when you bite into it is ideal for this naturally gluten-free recipe.

Preparation time is however long your oven requires to get up to 375º, plus or minus a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 375º
Grease a standard pie pan and set it aside.

Grate Monterey Jack cheese or Mozzarella. Loosely fill a measuring cup. Do not pack the cheese, it needs to be loose.

Microwave the butter if it’s not room-temperature, when it melts and slumps it’s ready for later.

Peel 2 Honeycrisp or other dry-not juicy-apples. You can use 3 if they're smallish. This should leave the mouth wanting apple, and leave no confusion with apple pie. But that's up to the cook and the crop.

Rough cut them into chunks and slices and chops. You want distinct texture and flavor bites. Use as much apple as you can cut and trim away.

Get a deep bowl so you can work vigorously in it without splashing.
Have the eggs room temperature, and break them into the big bowl.
Use a wire whisk to whisk eggs to a uniform color and consistency. Tilt the bowl and form a pool of liquid to whisk into.

Whisk in the milk and get the uniformity back.
Whisk in the soft melted butter. Work vigorously to make a smooth mixture.

Stir the cheese into the egg mix.
Stir the apples into the egg and cheese mix and be sure everything is coated.

Pour the bowl into the pie pan to just below the rim. The volume is enough to fill an 8" pan.

Pull out the oven rack and place the filled pie pan, uncovered, on the rack. If you wish, place a cookie sheet on the rack first. Gently slide the rack into the oven and keep the door closed for 40 minutes.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

The custard is done when it doesn’t jiggle but wobbles a bit. If you use a juice apple, your dish will be wet and need an hour, might never fully thicken. Quiche is ready when a butter knife emerges mas o menos dry from the center. If your oven is uneven, 45 minutes. An hour is not unheard of. Experience will give you timing with your set-up.



Allow the quiche to sit for a few minutes so it comes out of the pan solid. The appearance loses its fluffiness right away. (In the foto notice the high-water line). It nonetheless makes an elegant presentation at the table, served from the pan.

This apple-cheese combination will be a hit. Maybe serve a crisp green salad, or a pungent Caesar salad with champagne—that’s good friends or courtship comida gente. The GFC cooks for one, so this dish was dinner and breakfast. (It saves, reheating is simple.)

El GFC discovered what Mother Hubbard knew, when life gives you eggs, milk, cheese, and apples, make quiche.


Update: Autry Museum, Highland Park, Califas


This wasn't in her contract but Pola Lopez did what any responsible community artist does, she worked with local gente to assure long-term protection for the mural. It's the kind of ground-based "activism" that produces results. People-to-people always works, that's gente, that's not "activism."

Week after week, Lopez invested hours under unusually harsh conditions restoring the Highland Park landmark. One morning she finds it tagged. Kids, Pola shook her head recounting the morning. After years painting murals in schools, confinement walls, public places, working with local young people, Lopez knows communities invest love in murals and do not tag them, out of honor and self-respect. 

HP tagged the mural.


The artist welcomed the visitor who parked and ran across busy Marmion Way to meet the artist. The fellow knew Chicano arte and talked about its presence in the community. Lopez bemoaned the fact some kids had tagged it. The fellow said it wasn't us, we don't do that.

Keen to the "us", Lopez asked and the vato identified himself as HP. Sensing her visitor affronted that the muralist accused HP people of disrespecting the art, Lopez showed him the fotos of the repainted wall. The gentleman excused himself. He walked across the street, made a phone call, and returned to assure the muralist it had been taken care of.


Los Angeles enjoys a lengthy rich mural history. Seeing Daniel Cervantes' landmark mural restored to vibrancy illustrates important dimensions of that mural history: Indigenous cultures and semiotics, today's Chicano Renaissance, chemistry and surface technology, fund-raising and the business of public art, painting as an industrial work site. Then there's art people and their arte.

There's a concrete, hard-edge to arte. Someone has to pay to restore the Autry's property for them. Stretched thin and at the limits of their once-prodigious fund-raising capacity, the museum has done what it will do and thrown itself upon the kindness of committees to secure grants to fund ladders and brushes and stuff.

Efforts fell shorter than vision and Lopez labors under industrial conditions that alarm this retired corporate safety officer. I worked in an ISO9000 environment with low tolerance for worker conditions like those Lopez has to put up with. The Autry's standards are a lot looser.

Ni modo. That's a popular actitud when there's nothing to be done but do what you do. It's obviously the artist's flexibility to ignore the hardship, solve the problem, get the job done.

She is fund-raising independently, however. The committees and city councilmen and arts commissions and the Autry are tapped out or have moved on to other phases of the project. They're done. (A spokesperson for the Autry offered to update La Bloga's Update but has not followed up).

Protecting the mural, longterm, was the next task before the institutions behind the project. Now the most critical element needful of protection from, tagging, has been dramatically removed without spending a cent, using capital no committee was going to produce. Gente do it right.

Giving directly to the project allows Lopez to hire a qualified professional muralist to join her in the unrelenting sun and finish the Autry's landmark.


Friday, October 18, 2019

San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival November 2019

Melinda Palacio






Next month, I have the honor Of being a featured poet at the 36th Annual San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival. November is a busy month. However, I would love to see some La Bloga subscribers at the festival’s finale. I will be reading some new poems and might throw in a song. Gather your tortillas and make a weekend out of it. See you on Sunday, November 17 at 1:30 pm at the San Luis Obispo Library.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Long Journey Home, Part 2

                                                                          

                                                                             
Yndalecio's work pruning knives, as sharp as the day he made them

My uncle, born in 1898, never told me, explicitly, the route he took as teenager from Jalisco to reach the United States. In 1943, his documents show him living in Tijuana. My aunt, born in 1910, traveled with her family to the U.S. from their ranch in Jalisco. I can only imagine what it must have been like to travel thousands of miles across war-torn Mexico between 1918 and 1925. Historians tell us Indians, Spaniards, and Mexicans have followed the trail north for more than two hundred and fifty years ago, before the existence of Ellis Island. In 1771, Jalisiences were among the soldiers in the first expeditions into Alta California. What I learned of my relatives' experiences was culled from numerous conversations over many years, with them and with older members of our family, sadly, all now departed, waiting for us to call them back on el dia de los muertos. What will never die are their words. I hope their story bring some insight into their lives and the lives of many Mexican immigrants who made the journey north, the long journey home.
                                                       
Certificate from government of Baja California verifying Yndalecio an honorable man
     Yndalecio Gonzales met Josefina Gonzales (same last name) at Armacost Nursery in West Los Angeles where they both worked. It was the mid-1940s. Green houses covered acres of land along Bundy Drive and Olympic Boulevard a few miles from Santa Monica’s Sorrento Beach. Each afternoon, a soft breeze would blow up Olympic Boulevard cooling down the entire Westside.
     Yndalecio specialized in pruning roses, Josefina in separating and repotting orchids. Each performed the delicate operation with a surgeon's precision. One wrong cut, and the expensive produce could be damaged.
     Armacost was one of the principal commercial rose and orchid growers in the United States. Buyers from across the country and from around world purchased its plants. The nursery’s management learned early that its predominantly Mexican immigrant work force was not only responsible and reliable but knowledgeable about agriculture. Many had come from farms and ranches throughout Mexico.
     In 1947, Yndalecio proposed to Josefina. She accepted. She was in her late thirties and he pushing fifty. As the oldest daughter, when she wasn’t working, she stayed home with her mother to run the house. Her Americanized younger sisters, who called her Josie, had already married and moved out of the family home in Santa Monica. Though born in Mexico and reared in the U.S., Josie saw herself as more American than Mexican.
     Yndalecio’s bachelor years had taken their toll on him. He was drinking and gambling too much. He’d been a "dandy," dressing up and spending many nights in Los Angeles’ dance halls, but it wasn't an easy life. He recalled how he had once lain alone in his rented room in agony during a violent illness. When no one had seen him in days, the woman who owned the boarding house came looking for him. When she saw his condition, she scolded him for not seeking help. Then, she brought him water and soup, and nursed him back to health. It was then he realized he needed a companion.
     He remembered happy times, also, like when he entered a dance marathon sometime in the early 1940s, where hundreds of couples started at Ocean Park and danced east on Venice Boulevard heading to downtown Los Angeles, a grand prize awaiting the winning couple.
     Following a band's blaring music from the back of a flatbed truck, Yndalecio and his dance partner still had a lot of energy as they reached La Cienega Boulevard. But his shoes had begun to unravel, heels first then the soles. His bare feet could take no more. They had to stop.
     After they married, Yndalecio, whom everyone called Andy, and Josie rented a shack at the bottom of 22nd Street in Santa Monica from a woman named Chavela. Early each morning, they both rise, have their coffee and pan dulce, and ride the bus to work at the nursery.
     My mother, Josie’s baby sister, always on the prowl for a real estate bargain, found a house for them on 12th Street and Michigan in Santa Monica. They purchased the home for $3,000 in 1955, a one-and-a half bedroom home on a lot roughly 150x50 feet. The half-bedroom they dubbed the "little room."
     Their neighbors were a mix of Mexican, Anglo, Japanese, and African-American families. It was a time when everyone met on the sidewalk and talked after dinner. They borrowed sugar and eggs from one another. The neighbors also served as their own neighborhood watch. Kids filled the streets.
     Andy learned to drive when he was in his fifties, Josie in her forties. They bought their first car, a used powder blue 1953 Chevrolet. They drove their car to work slowly, and cautiously, following the bus route they’d taken for so many years.
     Andy drove only when necessary. He never got used to it. After all, this was a man who in the 1920s drove a team of mules to haul the first bricks to build UCLA’s Powell Library, one of the new Westwood campus’ first structures.
     Josie, on the other hand, loved to drive. She sped around the Westside well into her eighties, when nobody would dare ride with her. She would slam on her brakes at the last second, smile, and turn to look at her horrified passenger.
     In the late 1950s, an African-American man from their church, St. Anne’s, a contractor, Mr. Leduff, convinced them to build a triplex on the long stretch of lawn in front of their house. Neither knew the first thing about construction or real estate development. Josie figured if she couldn’t trust a Catholic, she couldn’t trust anyone.
     Mr. Leduff completed the work in six months to the exact specifications. He had told them the rental income would supplement their weekly pay, and later it would become the pension plan their jobs didn’t provide. He was right on both counts.
     In 1964, the construction of a new Santa Monica Freeway would take all the neighbors’ homes to the north of them. They decided to rent their Santa Monica property and purchase a Spanish style home in West L. A., two blocks from where Josie’s mother, Eusebia, had moved after selling the family’s 22nd Street home, where electronic companies were buying and demolishing homes in the old barrio to make room for factories and office buildings.
     In her new suburban house, Josie could walk to visit her mother. Since Eusebia never learned to speak English, she couldn't talk to the mostly middle-class Anglos in her area. One Mexican family lived up the street from Eusebia, and the young mother would stop by to chat. With many of her friends gone, Eusebia spent her final years watching television, going to movies at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown L.A., and enjoying her American born grandchildren, most who could barely communicate with her.
     Andy and Josie sold the Santa Monica property in the 1980s at a considerable profit. Westside real estate values had skyrocketed. Unfortunately, she allowed her realtor complete control of the transaction. He ended up purchasing her property, flipping it, and reselling it at a significant profit. She complained about his backhanded maneuver, this man she had come to trust.
     I once asked if she could ever imagine herself returning to Mexico. She answered with an emphatic, “No!”
                                                                             
Josie's original birth certificate, dated 1910, Municipio de Jalostotitlan, Jalisco
     Though born in Mexico, Josie became an American citizen, fully integrated into American life. She said she really knew no other home. As a child, she had attended St. Anne’s Catholic School. She spoke, read, and wrote English and Spanish.
     She made friends at her new church, St. Joan of Arc. Her neighborhood, beneath the flight path of planes landing at the Santa Monica Airport, was mostly Anglo. With their light skin, she and Andy easily blended in and became close friends with many of the neighbors.
     Children on her street visited her, sometimes stopping by on weekends to watch television and eat cookies. Andy stayed outside working on the garden or piddling around in the garage. He could speak only Spanish. Still, for many of the neighborhood kids, he exuded a kind and tranquil spirit. Always the wise elder, he taught the kids how to plant bulbs, rake leaves, and prune roses, of which he always kept in abundance along the driveway. He built Josie a green house where she raised various strains of orchids.
     After they retired, earlier than many of the friends at work, they joined a Westside senior citizens club and traveled to Descanso Gardens, the Huntington Museum, and Las Vegas, a favorite trip of theirs. Neither gambled much. Andy once hit the $50 jackpot and walked away, determined to go home a winner. Both enjoyed Las Vegas, more for the commotion, the lights, and glitter than for the gambling or shows.
     Each month, they stashed their Social Security checks in a savings account. They had invested wisely in real estate and bank securities. Neither was a big spender. After forty years, Josie’s 1950s Sears furniture looked like it had just come off the showroom floor.
     Andy rarely drank. His brother, Nicandro, and friends, would come to the house, usually on Sundays to visit. He dressed modestly, khakis during the week and on Saturdays, slacks, shirt and tie on Sundays. His only vice, an occasional beer and a Stetson hat he kept in a box, bringing it out of the closet only on Sundays. There frugal lifestyle allowed them a comfortable retirement.
     As prices on the Westside soared, fewer Mexican families could afford to remain in the neighborhoods of they youth. If they hadn't bought homes and rented, they were priced out of the Westside market. Many moved in with adult children, who had moved to places like the San Fernando Valley, Westchester, Hawthorne, or farther east, where money went further.
     Saving and investing weren’t always easy. It often meant sacrificing a new car, a vacation, restaurants, or expensive clothes. Andy said he was glad he had listened to Josie. She decided how to spend their money and how to invest it. He admitted if it wasn’t for her, he would probably have had nothing at all.
     Time passed quickly. It was 1991. I stood beside Andy’s hospital bed. We were alone He had suffered a stroke. At 93 years old, he was still a handsome man, an aura of peace surrounding him. He had suffered previous strokes and always recovered. I figured this time would be no different. He knew better.
     He spoke softly. He said, "Hijo, pienso que aqui voy a ser la ultima rueda. No salgo mas." (“I think this will be the final turn. I won’t be leaving this place.”)
     He made me promise to take care of Josie. That night the call came. Josie was on the other end, crying. "He's gone." Andy was granted his final wish, to be buried in the United States.
     Josie lived another fourteen years. When the rest home could do nothing more for her, my mother insisted they bring her home. Five days later, she died. My parents, siblings, and I by her side. We watched her final journey.
     Close to midnight, the people from the coroner’s office came to take her away. Wrapped in a white cloth, less than five feet in length, she fit neatly into the man’s arms as he placed her onto a gurney. I could hear her voice, telling me about Mexico, about their difficult life there and why they had no choice but to flee.
     In 1918, she was eight years-old, and felt responsible for the welfare of her five younger siblings during the journey north. They lost only one, Juanito.
     Though Andy and Josie had no children of their own, we, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, considered ourselves their descendants, and we are proud of the legacy they left behind, truly, the long journey home, their story, an immigrant's story.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tomás Rivera Book Prize


A massage from Alex Espinoza


Esteemed Friends and Colleagues:

I hope this finds you all well and thriving. I'm writing about an exciting and new venture that I hope you will share with students and/or fellow writers. 

As one of my first acts as Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair, I'd like to announce the call for submissions for the first Tomás Rivera Book Prize. Through a new partnership between the Los Angeles Review of Books, the winning manuscript will be published by LARB Libros. Additionally, the winner will receive $1,000 and a stipend to travel to UC Riverside to read from their work. 

Our first judge is writer Luis Alberto Urrea. 

My hope is that this contest will provide new and emerging writers a unique opportunity to showcase their work, that it will cultivate the next generation of Chicanx and Latinx writers, and that it will continue to honor the rich literary legacy of Tomás Rivera. Submission guidelines can be found in the announcement and by following this link

If you have any questions, please reach out.

Yours:
Æ

--
Alex Espinoza
Associate Professor 
Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair
Department of Creative Writing
INTN 3046 |

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Gluten-free Chicano Bakes Breads, teatro news

The Gluten-free Chicano Bakes
Banana Raisin Oat Bread
Michael Sedano

The first food a Celiac or gluten-sensitive person gives up is bread. Desperate, you buy a loaf of gluten-free bread. Once or twice, then rarely. Analogs satisfy only in desperation, with rare exceptions, so diners opt for work-arounds.

Work-arounds satisfy in their own way. The zucchini tortilla, for example, makes its own side dish. Lettuce burgers are fun. Tortilla de maíz isn’t the same as tortilla de harina, but darned good.

As exceptions to the analogs-don't-work rule, the Gluten-free Chicano offers a pair of breads with their own satisfactions. There’s a dessert-snack bread analog that’s beautifully-textured and keeps for a week. There’s a stretchy chewy dinner bread that's its own genus, not a make-do. Plus, you can bake it for puffy goodness, or fry it for immediate gratification.


The Gluten-free Chicano’s Banana Bread
1 old soft banana
2 eggs
1 cube butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup almond flour
½ GF baking flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon ground
½ cup walnut halves
¼ - ½ cup raisins
¼ cup oatmeal rolled
1 tbs granulated sugar / sprinkle cinnamon

Have butter and eggs room temperature.
Grease a glass baking pan, set aside
Preheat oven Bake setting to 350º F
Bake 50 minutes~1 hour then test

Diabetics will consume this advisedly.

The Gluten-free Chicano uses a KitchenAid stand mixer whose powerful motor turns the ripe banana smooth and creamy, and works equally effortlessly to completely blend the ingredients.

Banana hint: put an old banana in the freezer overnight. Defrosted, it’s half-smooth already.
Brand: I use Bob’s Red Mill flour blend and Simple Truth almond flour.

Cream the banana on medium to high speed.
Add two eggs, continue blending.
Add softened butter in quarters.
Add the cinnamon.
Add baking powder and baking soda.
Stop. Scrape the beater and sides of mixing bowl into the mass.
Reduce speed.
Add the almond flour and blend for a few seconds.
Add the GF baking flour and blend for a few seconds.
Scrape the bowl and beater. Scrape the bottom and corners of the bowl.
Add the walnuts, raisins, oats.
Blend for a half minute.
The batter has a thick smooth texture that flows easily off the beaters. Beat in a teaspoon of warm water if you think the batter doesn’t flow easily.
Scrape everything into the greased baking pan.
Sprinkle granulated sugar across the top. Dust the top with cinnamon.

Depending on the heat of the oven, 50 minutes should be enough for the first test. If the top of the loaf jiggles, you’re twenty minutes from done. If the top is solid enough, put a knife blade into the deepest part of the bread. If the blade isn’t coated with wet dough, it’s done.

There will be crumbs, but no coating. Be patient and give a still-wet-but-crumby bread another ten minutes in the closed oven with the heat off.

Let the bread cool for half an hour to an hour in the pan. Leave it there or invert it on a platter or board to slice. Wrap or bag tightly what’s left.

Eat it plain, with a cold lemonade or leche on the side.
Spread a bit of cream cheese on warm Gluten-free banana bread and serve.
À la mode your warm Gluten-free banana bread with vanilla ice cream.

Dinner Bread: “Brazilian Bites”

Yuca. Manioc. Cassava. Boba. Tapioca. Tapioca flour.

That’s what caught The Gluten-free Chicano’s eye the other day. Desperate for a breadlike substance, el GFC sprung for La Brea Gluten-free analog bread and after one grilled cheese sandwich, la chickenada got the remainder of the loaf. el GFC should know better. Analogs don't satisfy. Tapioca isn't analogous to anything. Yuca belongs in its own world and in the gluten-free kitchen.


Then el Gluten-free Chicano remembered this Brazilian steak house that served gluten-free bread puffs. They were made in the restaurant's kitchen. No wheat, the puffs are yuca. These orts have that chewy consistency of fried yuca wedges, and so delicious you over-eat and take home half your unfinished entrée.

Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour comes with the recipe on the heavy gauge plastic wrapper. The Gluten-free Chicano had jaula-fresh eggs so he doubled them, and world-class olive oil. Ingredients always enrich a manufacturer’s recipe.

A half cup of tapioca flour has around 50g of carbohydrates. That's about six mini-puffs, a whole meal's allotment, so take it easy.

The Gluten-free Chicano’s Version of Bob’s Red Mill Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread

Spray-coat a mini-muffin pan (2 dozen holes)
Heat the oven to 400º F

2 eggs
¼ cup extra-fine olive oil (Canto Sol Arbequina, from here link)
2/3 cup whole milk
1 ½ cups tapioca flour
½ cup grated asiago cheese
(cheese has lots of salt so el GFC omits the package recipe’s salt)

Bake 20 minutes or until suitably browned. They will be puffy and beautiful.

This recipe is like mixing super putty when you were a kid: Corn starch, white glue, viscosity.

That’s this dough. Make it thin so it pours generously out of a ladle into the pan, not drip in globs. Fill each hole in the mini-muffin tin nearly to the top. You have to move the filled pan to the oven!

The package recommends a blender. Good idea. The Gluten-free Chicano used a wire whip and that was fun--use a deep bowl. The key is getting a homogeneous mix that pours easily into the vessel. Play it by eye and by feel. Add a bit of powder if it’s too thin, a dribble of milk if too thick.

Any cheese will do. Dried parmesan. Yellow cheddar. El GFC is thinking minced garlic and parmesan next time, or pouring half a pan, mixing savory herbs into the batter, pour the remainder.

Left-overs are fabulous treats. Refrigerate for several days. Some will puff out like a Yorkshire pudding or a profiterole, if you're fancy, a pop-over for us regular gente. Others will be a delightful spongy globe.

Take a cold one, slice halfway, split it. Daub grape jelly into the middle. Microwave on High for 6 seconds. Careful. Too long a reheat converts them to greasy searing menaces and ruins the texture.

Alternative to Baking: Treat the batter like Arepa dough. Get a cast iron pan or griddle greased and really hot. Pour the masa and fry it like a tortilla or an arepa. Experiment and eat the results.

Left-over batter goes into a jar where it will get thick. It’s really soluble, so a drop or two of milk is all required to get the consistency to where you can pour the jar into a pan and fry up a few Arepas. You’ll love it.


"Many May Not Return" Vietnam Drama by El Sereno Playwright Comes to Long Beach

Back in the 1980s, I directed Teatro a la Brava. We worked out of El Sereno and Cal State LA. David Trujillo was the teatro's creative heart, the playwright who gave the actors their thoughts. Trujillo continues to craft theatrical work, with "Many May Not Return." The staged play comes to Southern California in Long Beach.

The Long Beach teatro box office has a website, link. As noted, tickets will be advertised here next week.