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Chili

Posted By maresde@usc.edu On April 23, 2018 @ 8:21 pm In Foodways | Comments Disabled

Main Piece: Chili

The following was a story told to me by a college of mine, RD, and I am DM. The story was about a family recipe that was passed down that she learned to do on her own.

RD: Every Christmas Eve we have tamales and it’s just a tradition we’ve weve for as long as I can remember we eat tamales but uh her specific salsa she told me always had to go on her tamales otherwise I would be cursed so um to this day even if its not one of her tamales I need her salsa to put on it otherwise I can’t eat it cause I don’t know I feel like something is going to happen to me.

DM: Do you know what’s in her salsa?

RD: Yes I do.

DM: Can you tell me?

RD: Sure so its uh a couple different kinds of chiles she puts um jalapeno then she put habaneros and then she puts cilantro and tomato and onion salt and pepper. I think that’s it. Yeah I think that’s it.  

Background/Context:

The participant is twenty-eight years old. She is a Mexican American assistant principal at a high school. One day she posted a picture on instagram of her making her grandma’s recipe from scratch. I wondered how long that family recipe was passed down in her family, so I asked her about.   

DM:Why do you like sharing this recipe/Why do you know this recipe/ Where/who did they learn it from/ Why is this repice important to you?

RD: Cause he salsa is the best salsa I’ve ever  had in my life um even when I go to Mexican restaurants I want it know. I don’t know if its because she’s convinced me that it has some special power or just because I think it is really good. She was also really important to me and she’s has alzheimer’s so um it’s like definitely not the same person as when she kind of gave me the story so I feel like it’s kind of a way to keep that part of her.

Analysis/ My Thoughts:

I think this story was actually very similar to what we were debating in class about oral versus written folklore. Her grandmother’s recipe book in her head with becomes something authored by her. She won’t be giving it to another else but her family. Instead of being an oral book it will now become something physical that can be passed down within her family. It raises the question of who the recipe book belongs to. The recipe book is hers, but the recipe book is her grandmothers. As it gets passed down, will it raise the question of where these recipes came from.  


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URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=39803