We know cooking best as an act of nourishment, love, and tradition—but it can also cut as sharply as the knives that chop an onion. In Sinaloa, Mexico, a group of relatives of desaparecidos (the tens of thousands of people who have disappeared from the country), have banded together to fight back against government indifference and complicity. Dubbed Las Rastreadoras del Fuerte, the members’ main method of resistance is to search for the bodies of those they love. But they have also brought their battle to the kitchen, where they cook missing family members’ favorite dishes, preserving their memories and reminding the world of the void their absences create. What makes feeding people an act of protest? How do the families of the disappeared continue to find communion, hope, and joy at the table? And where else can cooking be a potent weapon in the face of a fight that feels never-ending?
An exhibition based on Recetario para la memoria, a cookbook that collects recipes and remembrances from these families in collaboration with photographer and creator Zahara Gómez Lucini, is currently on view at LA Cocina de Gloria Molina, a first-of-its-kind museum dedicated to Mexican gastronomy. Zócalo and LA Cocina host Gómez Lucini and culinary historian and Hungry for History podcast co-host Maite Gomez-Rejón to cook pozole in the museum’s demonstration kitchen and discuss what happens when the kitchen becomes a battleground. Afterward, Pez Cantina will cater a reception using the cookbook’s recipes for pozole, mole, and flan. Zócalo and LA Cocina will send online participants the recipe in advance so they can prepare pozole at home.
Zócalo and LA Cocina will send online participants the recipe in advance so they can prepare pozole at home. Pozole is a hominy stew with Aztec origins, evoking the mythical creation of humanity from corn. Today, this classic Mexican dish is prepared and enjoyed throughout the country, and is beloved for its cultural significance (and even as a cure for hangovers).
This program is part of Zócalo Public Square’s 20th birthday celebration. We’re marking two decades of connecting people to ideas and to each other with special experiential programs throughout the year.
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