description

Historias: Stories of El Paso
A virtual exhibition curated by our community

Courtesy of: Rubi Orozco Santos
Title: Nixtamal in the Borderland
Historia type: Photograph & Poem

In 2019 with support from the City of El Paso and Museum and Cultural Affairs Department's Artist Incubator Program, I released a bilingual book of poetry inspired by the history of nixtamalization and interviews with practitioners of this ancient indigenous culinary innovation in the El Paso area. One woman I met personally brings her corn from Mexico every year for her family's Christmas tamales; another one shares her cooking knowledge with people in her neighborhood; some had their hand mills for decades, others had recently gotten theirs on the internet; more than one had husbands who made them custom tables on which to permanently mount the molino (hand mill). Like many El Pasoans, these women navigate increasing border militarization even as they carve out spaces to maintain and share nourishing traditions. In this respect, their lives are the continuation of those of indigenous peoples who maintained the tradition of nixtamalization even as they endured state violence in the late 1490s and beyond. This is the final poem in the collection:

Teocintle


In the beginning, there was Corn.
And the Corn said:

Know me.
Evolve with me.
Choose my starchiest seeds for planting.
Build tools for grinding.
Built structures for these tools.
Sing the song of my existence.

Uploaded on 06.03.2020 by El Paso Museum of History

Central / Downtown, (2020 - 2029), Cultural Heritage

  • Historias
  • women
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