Kentucky, Kentucky Kentucky, University Of Kentucky discussed on The Splendid Table


And learn about communities talking to people and writing about their food. And yes, the homework involves eating tacos. But what really struck me about this class was where he taught we joined my conversation with Stephen as he's answering the question. Why did he teach that class at the university of Kentucky? Sure. Well, I before I taught taco literacy, I was actually teaching a class called Mexican Kentucky. Then that Klaus was really exploring. The demographic changes happening in Kentucky Kentucky has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the country at this point. I believe they're tied for number three. Most of these states are located in the south. So the south itself is also experiencing a Chuck house sort of Latin ization or transformation took the students were local area. And I realized how excited they were. They were so happy they're so curious. And at that point, I was thinking I could do a class that will do basically the same kind of general framework for exploring Latin Kentucky. Through food so food became the kind of prism by which we would still explore some of these social and demographic changes you noted that the population is growing really quickly. Why? Duckie primarily the horse industry. And also the agriculture industry, and really it's it's happening between the areas of Lexington and to the west Louisville Louisville. Sometimes I catch myself saying Louisville pardon. And area of Lexington. That's to the west side relatively close to Keeneland race track. And also the airport is worthy primarily Mexican population concentrated, and that's the area that pejoratively referred to as Mexican. However when I arrived. Growing kind of Kentucky. Mexican identity has emerged Mexican has become a place to be proud of a place even honored and a place where folks feel a sense of pride is that's their neighborhood. So I would say it's not only just the agricultural kind of poor and the horse industry. But there is also other states where Latinos felt less. Welcome and migrated to Kentucky after learning about the the cost of living and the opportunities available. And but you also say that Mexican Kentucky identity is a merchant because you're studying is through food. How how do you see that in the food or or do you what happens in a couple of different ways? I would say on one hand there is the large regional varieties of Mexican food. That have been popping up more in Kentucky that is food from Veracruz from the Yucatan from Aguascalientes from the northern states of Mexico and also from the southern states Oaxaca Puebla those coming from all over Mexico coming to Kentucky. But you're also seeing this kind of exploration of using local ingredients to enrich Mexican food. And by that, I mean, for example, there's a place called the. Doc at Louisville that has bourbon marinated guard nita's, and it's as good as it sounds. Also, another one of my favorite spots in Lexington. Right in the heart of Mexican is the meters the users Weisenberger mill corn from midway Kentucky so famous for their grits. So these are Kentucky tortillas with local corn and attention also to the rich agricultural wealth of Kentucky for the kinds of ingredients. That are available that also creates this kind of hyper entity. I remember reading about your work from a terrific writer Gustavo audio who is newspaper columnists, and he's written a column for a long time called ask a Mexican which is an amazing name for newspaper column. And he said that you are a student of how not just the south is changing Mexican immigrants, but how Mexican food is changing the south. So now, we know about the bourbon marinated Canada's tell us about the other side of that, Colin how are these Mexican community changing the south? I think Gustavo is probably one of the forefront. Not only just Mexican food writers in the country and even the world, but really at the forefront of exploring the transfer. Nations happening in the south some of the stuff that the work. He's done for southern food ways alliance, including some of the oral histories and profiles of different restaurant owners and restaurants have been incredible. And really opened up a way of thinking about exploring. The local lived experiences of folks in Kentucky in my own experience in my research. I really explore immigration largely. And by being in Kentucky. I think connecting with food has been something that's enriched my research that is due. I usually explore literacy in bilingualism exploring that through food has been way for me to think about how literacy is connected to care care. And also social connection to care which strikes me is the same as the food that I think food and literacy are deeply wound together. And especially the story surrounding both food and how we learn language. So I would say for me that's been really rich point in terms of my own research. But no doubt about it Gustavo has been a huge influence. He's probably the one of the only Mexican American folks, I knew who actually actively vacations to Kentucky every year. It's a pilgrimage be also makes it a point to try some of these. I guess you would see places where you order Mexican food by the plate number and some of the very very rural areas, and it's really interesting. I mean, you can go out and holler parts of eastern Kentucky. And you will always find a Mexican restaurant. And that's I think that's telling because that's many places some of these rural communities, especially in Appalachia where folks are getting their taste of Mexican culture through the food, and it may not be necessarily the folks that would consider quote unquote, authentic, although it has its own real nece and that beats off them to that. But it's also that social connection I think that you know, even harsh political times that food can bring people to.

Coming up next