Saturday, July 01, 2017

Chicano Soul Food, ire'ne lara silva Workshop and News!


During the mid-nineties, I lived in Guadalajara, Oaxaca and D.F.  

Food. Amazing food, made fresh each day without preservatives. I think the best meal I had was at a stall in the Oaxacan central market. I remember sitting on a red leatherette stool at a grandmother's gray formica counter eating caldo de res - clear, slightly golden, with supple meat falling off the bone, pale green chayote, electric orange carrots, golden cob of corn, chopped onion and verdant, herby sharp cilantro. 

Grandmother gently placed a tower of fat handmade corn tortillas, wrapped in a thin, white, cotton towel. The scent of wet ground and grain wafted through the air. Icy agua mineral con limon sat next to the tortilla, glistening in its bottle, sweat trickling down the side of the glass.

When I finally finished, she presented me with hot, steaming chocolate in a oceanblue bowl, foamy and fragrant with vanilla and canela.

You must understand now, how I feel about food, our food, in particular. 

It's a love affair. Which brings me to today's interview, Chicano Eats and its author and food lover, Esteban Castillo.

Tell us about your relationship to food, its significance and what made you decide to do the blog?

Food has always been a central part of my community, culture, and traditions and how my maternal grandparents (and most of my family on that side) have always made a living, so it has always played an important role in my life.  I decided to start the blog to not only document my work and share my experiences but to also take hold of the ill-informed narrative that ‘influencers’ outside of our culture keep pushing.

What do think are the core elements of Mexican cuisine both ingredients and preparation?

I think the core elements of Mexican cuisine are simply fresh ingredients, and years of tradition.

You have such a strong visual style in the blog, how does your eye marry the dish? 

I treat my dishes and garnishes like pieces of a puzzle, it’s all about trying to figure out which piece bests fit where and what colors work best with what is happening in each composition.
4. What would you like to say about high cuisine versus abuelita's kitchen, or street food?

I think Enrique Olvera’s award winning restaurant “Pujol “in Mexico City has done a great job of kick-starting a movement in redefining the way others see Mexican food.  The US seems to have a tough time around the idea that Mexican food can be more than ‘street food’.

Your take on the cultural appropriation of food discussion  - Rick Bayless, et al?

Anyone looking to profit off another culture needs to make sure they are well researched, honoring the community they are actively taking from, and constantly giving back to the communities who have willingly shared their stories, traditions, and recipes with them.

Last meal on earth - what would it be?
My last meal on earth would be a plate of sopes, accompanied by an ice cold Mexican Coke.

If you're still not convinced to make a cybervisit, take a look at what Esteban wrote about elote.

One of the things I miss the most about living with my parents, believe it or not, are the copious amounts of street food venders that used to roam the streets of SanTana. Not only were we fortunate enough to have paleteros walking by, but we also had hardworking brown men and women walking the streets selling fruta picadaelotesempanadas, and tamales. The eloteros where my favorite of the bunch. They’d usually walk by ringing their bells when ever I’d be out in the yard miserably helping my dad mow the lawn, and it was always a quick break from having to deal with my dad’s last attempts at trying to butch/toughen me up through manual labor. But, I’ll stop right there and save the rest of the details for when I share my coming out story.Protip: If you want to earn a little street cred with your Mexican friends, don’t refer to this as “Mexican Street Corn”, “Elote”, or “Mexican Corn”–call them what they are, elotes preparados. đŸ˜‰With summer coming up, and with tons of sweet corn starting to flood local supermarkets, elotes preparados are the perfect effortless side dish for your next carne asada gathering/novela binging. If you weren’t aware already..Maria la del BarrioRBDRubiLa Usurpadora and tons of other good classics are up on Netflix now…you’re welcome! đŸ˜‰

Bio: Esteban is a Queer Chicano living in Southern California with his life partner and two dogs. He is a communications professional and graphic designer by day, and avid home cook by night. He is also the author of the food blog, “Chicano Eats” where he gives Mexican food a minimalist and colorful treatment and explores his identity as a Chicano through stories and food. 

  ire'ne lara silva  

Write Well, Be Supported 

ire'ne lara silva Knows What You Need

November 11-12, 2017 (12 noon Saturday-3pm Sunday):Building a Writing Life: Getting Out of Our Own Way.

  • Are you a writer struggling to create or maintain a writing life while also living life-life (job, family, self-care)? 

  • Are you a self-taught writer or a writer years out of an MFA program trying to map a road for yourself through a writing project? 

  • This weekend retreat is focused on various issues that I see come up again and again in workshops but that are never the prime focus: How do we handle our time and energy resources to write? 

  • How do we take care of ourselves while writing? 

  • What is our relation to ‘a writing life’ or to the label of ‘writer’?

  • What are successful strategies that are helping us move forward–and how are we getting in our own way? 

  • Along with writing exercise, we will have plenty of time to discuss all these issues and help ourselves as we help each other. 

  • Price $225 with overnight accommodations/$175 without.
    Loma Linda, Maxwell, TX.
    Email to register:

    Poetry Submissions Wanted

    I curate and edit a jazz inspired website, Love You Madly, showcasing the work of poets throughout the US and UK., with illustrations by Lance Tooks, of  Marvel Comics and Narcissa fame

    I'm opening submissions  - Easy Directions

    • Pick at jazz artist not already in the collection.
    • Pick 3 songs by that artist.
    • Write a poem about each selection.
    • Word docs ONLY to

    No comments: