Food is much more than sustenance – it can provide a community, a connection to loved ones, or a tie to one’s own history and ancestry.
So when taco journalist and Tacos of Texas podcast host Mando Rayo heard about a two-day, anthropological culinary event in Houston, he just had to be there. Rayo joined the Standard to talk about Encuentro, an event that examined native food and its connections to the Texas landscape and familial stories. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
The Texas Standard: You’re going to have to tell me about this anthropological culinary event. I’m trying to picture what that actually means.
Mando Rayo: Yeah. No, I mean, it was quite an amazing event.
It’s called, “Encuentro” or “Encounter,” like how we kind of come together around food, but also history and as well as the stories behind the food. It was put on by the Texas Indigenous Food Project and Adán Medrano, you know him from our previous episodes on redefining Tex-Mex and his book “Truly Texas Mexican.”
It was a lot of food writers, some scholars, chefs and cooks that gather to really go over some of that history of what was part of this region – the land of Texas and northern Mexico – pre-colonization. Like, what were some of those cooking methods? What were some of the foods that were eaten?
And then really thinking about, the transition post-colonization, of how some of that food was either adopted, some cooking techniques – and then post-colonization around, really going deeply into some of the cooking methods around, say, with introduction of cabrito or goat or beef or pork, as well.