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New Orleans con Sabor Latino

New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking

Zella Palmer Cuadra
Photography by Natalie Root
Foreword by Adolfo Garcia
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    New Orleans con Sabor Latino
    Book Description:

    New Orleans con Sabor Latino is a documentary cookbook that draws on the rich Latino culture and history of New Orleans by focusing on thirteen New Orleanian Latinos from diverse backgrounds. Their stories are compelling and reveal what for too long has been overlooked. The book celebrates the influence of Latino cuisine on the food culture of New Orleans from the eighteenth century to the influx of Latino migration post-Katrina and up to today. From farmers' markets, finedining restaurants, street cart vendors, and home cooks, there isn't a part of the food industry that has been left untouched by this fusion of cultures.

    Zella Palmer Cuadra visited and interviewed each creator. Each dish is placed in historical context and is presented in full-color images, along with photographs of the cooks. Latino culture has left an indelible mark on classic New Orleans cuisine and its history, and now this contribution is celebrated and recognized in this beautifully illustrated volume.

    The cookbook includes a lagniappe (something extra) section of New Orleans recipes from a Latin perspective. Such creations as seafood paella with shrimp boudin, Puerto Rican po'boy (jibarito) with grillades, and Cuban chicken soup bring to life this delicious mix of traditional recipes and new flavors.

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-984-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-ix)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiii)
    Adolfo Garcia

    New Orleans always takes the best of people’s culture, be it African, French, Spanish, Italian, German, or Caribbean, and Latinos are considered the new wave of immigrants coming to the city. Latinos came to New Orleans during the 1800s when there were revolutions in Cuba and Haiti, and Cubans then came again in the 1940s way before Fidel Castro entered the world stage. Mexicans also came to New Orleans before the Mexican War (1846–1848). Latinos historically were drawn to New Orleans to make a better life for their families and due to the fact that New Orleans was, and...

  4. About the Book
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-1)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-7)

    In a chapter on the Spanish Period in their book Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans (1988), authors Joan B. Garvey and Mary Lou Widmer stated, “The City of New Orleans was never Spanish, in its customs, culture, or language. Throughout the period of Spanish domination, it remained tenaciously French. The French language was spoken in schools and in business. There was never a Spanish newspaper printed in the city. The people of New Orleans never became Spanish speaking people until the Cubans began arriving in the 1960s.”

    My friend and colleague Rafael Delgadillo dispelled Garvey and Widmer’s argument...


      (pp. 11-15)

      Mike Martin (April 30, 1941, St. Bernard Parish), a retired port captain for twenty-seven years and a carpenter, was born at his family home in St. Bernard Parish, a historic Isleños community. Mike’s father, Andre Martin, came from a small fishing village of three hundred people in Granada, Spain. After fighting against the Franco regime, he left Spain and moved to New Orleans, where he married a woman of French and Canary Island descent, Mike’s mother. They had six children.

      We were poor back then and there was no such thing as a free lunch for poor kids. I came...

      (pp. 17-25)

      Edgar M. Sierra Jimenez (May 29, 1961, Medellin, Colombia) is a poet, photographer, and waiter at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in the French Quarter. He moved to New Orleans in October of 1975 as a teenager with his three brothers and three sisters to join his father, who was working as a machinist at Avondale Shipyards. Since the 1990s, Edgar has worked as a waiter at many New Orleans restaurants such as Castillo’s, Sante Fe, Brennan’s, Broussard’s, and Emeril’s.

      I was fifteen years old when I came to New Orleans from Colombia. I started working as a teenager in the...

      (pp. 27-30)

      Chef Adolfo Garcia (April 26, 1961, New Orleans, Louisiana) was born to two loving Panamanian parents and grew up in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, during the 1970s. As a teenager, he washed dishes for Pancho’s Mexican restaurant in Metairie. Garcia recognized his passion for the culinary arts and moved to New York, where he graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. After graduation, he experienced other cities as a chef but was determined to return to New Orleans to cook the food that he grew up eating, Latino and New Orleans cuisine. Today, Chef Garcia is...

      (pp. 31-35)

      Margarita Sanchez Garcia (March 23, 1954, El Seibo, Dominican Republic) is an accountant for Rio Mar, A Mano, and La Boca, a stay-at-home mom, a volunteer cook for orphans, and the wife of Chef Adolfo Garcia. Margarita moved to New York when she was twenty years old, after her father died, to help her mother care for Margarita’s eight siblings.

      My mother had to feed us so she moved to New York to work in a factory. All of us were scattered when my mother left, living with family and one of us living in an orphanage. I was one...

      (pp. 37-39)

      Executive Chef Jack Martinez (Querétaro, México) says that his great-great-grandparents lived in New Orleans during the 1800s and returned to México during political unrest in New Orleans. Mexican migrants to Louisiana fled to México, Haiti, and France. In 1860 the New Orleans Daily Delta newspaper ran an article discussing the exodus to México. As fate would have it, in the 1980s, Martinez migrated from México as a young man and moved to Houston, Texas, where he worked in restaurants from the bottom up. He then moved to New Orleans after closing his restaurant for personal reasons. Martinez was hired as...

      (pp. 41-46)

      Roman Castillo (October 18, 1984, New Orleans, Louisiana) grew up in the French Quarter during the 1980s. His father, Carlos Zwinglio Castillo, from Sabinas, México, taught Roman how to cook from an early age at the once-family-owned restaurant, Castillo’s, in the French Quarter. Roman’s first memories are of his father teaching him how to make eggs and a roux. Castillo Sr. settled in New Orleans after many years of working as a merchant marine. He opened Castillo’s restaurant with his wife, Maria Ines Castillo, from Copán, Honduras. Castillo Sr. made homemade chorizo daily and traveled yearly to the Yucatán Peninsula...

      (pp. 47-51)

      Kid Chef Eliana (June 15, 2000, New Orleans, Louisiana) had, by the time she was eleven years old, written two cookbooks, Eliana Cooks! Recipes for Creative Kids (2010) and Cool Kids Cook: Louisiana (2012). Kid Chef Eliana was greatly influenced by her Cuban grandfather, who passed down his family recipes and wisdom to his beloved granddaughter. Eliana’s passion for cooking is attributed to her diverse family members: Cajun, Cuban, Honduran, Filipino, and Spanish. She has a gumbo of family recipes, and Kid Chef Eliana’s sole mission is to teach kids that cooking is fun!

      He always made Cuban sandwiches, tostones...

      (pp. 52-57)

      Nancy Gonsalves (Monterrey, México) moved to New Orleans in 1996 with her husband and two daughters. Gonsalves sells tamales, jars of fresh salsa, and vegetables at Gretna’s farmers’ market every weekend. Her oldest daughter helps her sell on Saturdays and helps her plant okra to be sold at the market. Gonsalves used to help her comadre (godmother) sell tamales until she learned from her how to make tamales New Orleans style.

      New Orleans–style tamales are different from the tamales I grew up eating in México, but they are still good and my customers always come back. Back home we...

      (pp. 59-62)

      Carlos Hernandez (August 9, 1940, San Salvador, El Salvador) moved to New Orleans with his mother and siblings when he was a small boy. They resided in the Iberville projects, and he went to St. Joseph Catholic School on Tulane Avenue. In 1967, the New Orleans Saints football team was founded, and Carlos worked as part of the cleaning crew for the first Saints game. In 1969, Carlos was drafted and served in Vietnam. Because he had grown up in the Iberville projects during segregation, spoke limited English, served in Vietnam, and saw the first Saints game, the 2010 Saints...

      (pp. 63-66)

      Alexey Marti (December 9, 1975, Havana, Cuba) migrated to New Orleans from Cuba in 2008. An accomplished composer and percussionist, he played with Irvin Mayfield, Los Hombres Calientes, Louisiana Philharmonic, Regeneration, and other New Orleans artists. Marti currently has his own band called Urban Minds. On his life in New Orleans he had this to say:

      Men cook in Cuba the same as in New Orleans. They love sports like we do; they love the Saints like we love baseball. We are the same roots from the same plant, just in different places. They eat a lot of rice like...

      (pp. 67-71)

      Rubens Leite (January 11, 1964, São Paulo, Brazil) migrated to New York City in the 1990s. In New York, he had a flourishing mobile food truck business that served street food to New York’s five boroughs. Then Katrina struck in 2005 and a friend from New Orleans called Leite for help. Many of the construction workers who helped rebuild post-Katrina New Orleans were Latino. Leite recognized the need to feed the Hispanic workers food that was familiar to their palates. His menu changed from New York street food to Mexican food with a Brazilian touch. This type of street food...

      (pp. 73-77)

      Anna Frachou (December 14, 1982, Los Angeles, California) is the former director of marketing at Amerigroup Louisiana. Prior to joining Amerigroup, she served as the executive director of Puentes New Orleans, Inc., an organization focused on building assets and creating access for the Latino community in the greater New Orleans region. Within her three years at Puentes, Frachou founded the Puentes’ Youth Leadership Initiative in the summer of 2009, organized a statewide U.S. census campaign in 2010, and spent her last year developing a regional Gulf Coast Leadership Academy for Latinos in the nonprofit sector in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana....

      (pp. 79-82)

      Marva Garvin (Bay Islands, Honduras) came to New Orleans as a young woman with her husband, Millet, when he was offered a job working for Tidewater Oil. They lived in the Ninth Ward on Gallier Street with Garvin’s aunt when they first arrived. Garvin was a housewife for many years until she became a community activist for the largest Hispanic population in New Orleans, Hondurans. She is a member of the Honduras Association of Louisiana and the Bay Islands Committee. She has cooked for and organized several benefits, dinners, and dances, with money being donated to Honduras for medical clinics,...

      (pp. 83-90)

      Margarita Bergen (April 24, 1946, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) came to New Orleans via New York in the 1980s. Bergen is a local celebrity and socialite. She is known for her flamboyant hats, her larger-than-life personality, and her love for New Orleans society. In January of 2012, she invited to her house her closest friends, myself, and Rafael Delgadillo, a local community organizer who made national headlines in September of 2010 after an attempted carjacking almost blinded him and left him with a bullet in his head. Bergen, with her love for life, and Delgadillo, with a renewed sense of...

  8. LAGNIAPPE: Additional Recipes by Zella Palmer Cuadra

  9. Resources
    (pp. 130-130)
  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 131-132)
  11. Index
    (pp. 133-136)