In his new cookbook, Houston chef and food writer Adán Medrano writes, “Food was the cultural activity that held us together.” Will that sentence, and the chapters about Native American cooking, cause his book to be banned in Arizona schools?
During a planned interview on KPFT’s weekly radio show, “Nuestra Palabra,” the chef and author will discuss the implications of Arizona state law, HB 2281, that enacted a ban on ethnic studies in 2010. The long-running radio show airs live this Tuesday, January 13, at 6:00 PM on KPFT, 90.1 FM.
The Arizona law bans K-12 courses that “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” Medrano plans to present high school readings and cooking demonstrations during a 2015 book tour that includes Arizona.
“Food is memories,” says Medrano, quoting from the recent feature film, “The 100 Foot Journey,” starring Helen Mirren, that deals with food and ethnic solidarity. Liana Lopez, who hosts the show with well-known arts leader and activist, Tony Diaz, says that the interview will focus on “the importance of cultural history.” The show air-date, January 13th, is one day after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in a legal suit contesting the constitutionality of the Arizona ban on Mexican American studies courses.
“During the book tour I just plan to read history and recipes, and cook delicious ‘gorditas’ (corn cakes) and ‘nopalitos’ (cactus) with students,” says Medrano who has already done so at Harvard University and at Palo Alto College in San Antonio as well as at the University of Houston, invited by the Center for Mexican American Studies. His book, “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes,” is published by Texas Tech University Press.
Tony Diaz is the founder of “Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say” the organization that produces the radio show. The mission of “Nuestra Palabra” is to promote Latino literature and literacy.
“Nuestra Palabra” Radio Show schedule:
KPFT 90.1 FM
January 13 at 6:00 PM