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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Campus

¡Ask a Mexican! columnist to visit campus


Author Gustavo Arellano, columnist of ¡Ask a Mexican! run in the Orange County Weekly, will visit campus at 5 p.m. Thursday for this year’s first lecture in the Food for Thought Lecture Series. The event will be held in room 104 of the Roy G. Cullen Building.

“Mexican food is a multi-billion dollar industry,” said Arellano. “Salsa had more sales than ketchup in this country.”

“Mexican food influences all Americans, not just Southwestern Americans,” Arellano said. “Nobody has really bothered to examine the history of Mexican cuisine.”

Arellano’s new book, “Taco, USA. How Mexican Food Conquered America” will be discussed in the lecture as he explores the American people’s affinity for Mexican food, and how they’ve taken it and made it their own. He cites the Mexican population of California and Texas as the fathers of this preference.

“Eating, eating and eating. I did archival research, looked in university libraries and oral histories,” Arellano said.  “I just had to go out and find the story and figure out what’s important.”

The Food for Thought Lecture series is co-hosted by the El Paso Lecture Series, the UH Center for Public History, and the UH Center for Mexican American Studies and Latin American Studies.

“Arellano’s work appeals to us because he brings his signature humor to questions of authenticity, skewering gatekeepers and reminding us of the centrality of Mexicans to the preparation of American food and the interesting process of making American food Mexican,” Todd Romero, UH associate professor of history and co-director of the series, said in an official press release.

“He addresses the topics that animate our interests in studying food in wonderfully entertaining ways.”

“(The Food for Thought Lecture Series) focuses on the scholarly study of food and encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration on the many ways that food shapes business, economies, nutrition and health, the environment and social relations,” said the press release.

Additional reporting by Julie Heffler.

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