Tacos Dorados de Papa

Tacos Dorados de Papa

My mother use to make tacos dorados de papa (fried potato tacos) a lot for us when we were children. I remember that the people from church would always ask her to make them for the parish festival or for parish food sales. She would also change it up a bit and add chicken to the potatoes or make them of ground beef. She would roll them up and called them flautas (some people call them taquitos), but I found it easier just to fold the tortilla in half and make a quesadilla shape and not have to worry about or deal with the flauta coming undone. Some people put a toothpick to make them stick, but I think that looks disgusting, plus, taking it out is not that easy and biting into one is not fun. I just make my tacos dorados stick with the melted mozzarella cheese. Although the tacos are delicious, I try not to make them too often because, for some reason, I always manage to get myself burned. After making them for so many years, you’d think I’d have it thought out by now – go figure! Another subconscious reason I may not like making flautas is because when we were kids, my mom made ground beef flautas and they were just coming out of oil and had to cool down before we could eat them. Well, I’m guessing my older brother was quite hungry because he picked one up and was trying to cool it off by blowing into it and he blew a little too hard and the hot ground beef came flying in my face! Of course, I got burned by the hot meat and I was not at all amused. It was not a pretty moment for me, but my siblings had a great laugh and I also got a glimpse of my mother trying to hold back her laughter. Even though it was not a great experience for me, we are reminded about the incident when my mom makes flautas and now we just laugh about it. My family and coworkers are fond of my tacos which makes me feel good because I don’t cook too often, but when I do, it’s big and most of the time it’s good. Over the years, I have added toppings or different seasonings to my tacos, but it all started watching my mother make her delicious flautas. This is a meal she has passed down to me and a meal I can pass on to my children.

I would like to focus on one of the main ingredients – the potato. The potato is originally from the Andean mountain region in South America – the mountains are located on the western part from top to bottom. Spanish explorers discovered it and took it to Europe. Irish immigrants brought it to the United States in the 18th century, but large scale cultivation didn’t occur until the 19th century. Today, China, Russian Federation, Poland, India, and the United States are the main producers. Potatoes are grown commercially in 30 states, but Idaho grows much more than any other state. Although China is the top producer of potatoes in the world (95,987,500 tons), the United States is above many others in fifth place (19,843,900 tons). It is considered a healthy food only when you lay off the fattening toppings, and oil. I don’t think too many Americans eat the healthy version. Although Mexico is not on the map (at least not on the list of the top 25 countries) for being know to grow potatoes, flautas are said and known to be a Mexican dish.


I present to you now, my recipe for making tacos dorados de papa. I usually make a big batch of about 30-40 and takes about an hour and a half. I begin by boiling the water for the potatoes. While the water is boiling, wash and scrub about 6 russet potatoes, stick a knife into them a couple times and then toss them in. While they are in the pot, heat up the oil in another pan and begin to crumble the cotija cheese or queso fresco and cut up the lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado into slices (or make guacamole). When the potatoes are soft, drain them (keep the skin on) and put in the mozzarella cheese (there really isn’t a ratio to the potatoes so you can use as much cheese as you like – I usually use a bit more than half of the 16oz bar or use it all if I won’t be using it for something else), mash them together into a paste (you can use the bean masher for this) and add seasoning (For this recipe, I use Malher or Maggi – Central American seasonings for chicken stew, but feel free to change it up and use what you like – salt and pepper will also work). There are recipes where the tortillas are warmed by putting them in the microwave – that’s a no no, tortillas should be warmed on a comal (flat griddle) and then the potato paste is put on one side of the tortilla, folded in half and in they go into the hot oil. Caution: Please remember that the oil has to be hot, otherwise, the taco gets soggy and will not cook very well. Also, don’t throw the tacos into the oil – you will get burned! Use the spatula to slide them into the oil. Have a plate ready with a couple paper towels over it and when the tacos are a golden-brown color on both sides, take them out and let any excess oil run off. Once they have cooled, they are ready to eat with the desired toppings. I recommend that you eat them while they are warm, otherwise they don’t taste too great. The good thing about tacos de papa is that you can reheat them on the comal or toaster oven.

My salsa verde is usually done in advance, because I make big batches and freeze the excess in Ziploc bags. Although this is a recipe for tacos dorados, I will throw in my recipe for the salsa that is drizzled on top of the tacos. This is super easy and ANYONE can do it – takes about 10 minutes on high heat. Before giving you my recipe, I would like to tell you a bit about where salsa originated. The history of Salsa (combination of chilies, tomatoes or tomatillos and other spices) can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas as far back as 3000 BC. It was first called salsa by the Spanish priest and missionary Alonso de Molina in 1571. I move on now to my salsa recipe. I make my salsa quite spicy, so if you’re not comfortable with the heat, use different chilies. Begin by boiling the water. While the water boils, peel and wash about 15-20 tomatillos, cut off the ends of 8-10 habanero chilies, and peel a whole garlic. Toss all that into the pot of boiling water and wait until everything is boiled. You can let it cool before draining to avoid any burning, and then put all the ingredients in the blender and add salt to taste.


Although I always get burned some way or another from making these tacos dorados, I continue to make them because it reminds me of home, my childhood, and because they are very good – they’re a comfort food. If you are having a gathering, these tacos are a great meal – they are also inexpensive to make. If you are pressed for time on the day of, you can also prepare the tacos the day before and put them in the refrigerator and cook when you are ready.

Ingredients for the Tacos de Papa



Mozzarella Cheese

Vegetable Oil




Sour Cream


Avocado or Guacamole (optional)

Shredded Chicken, Ground Beef, or Ham (optional)

Grated or Fresh Cheese (optional)



Ingredients for Salsa Verde


Habaneros Chilies





Alena Bosse and Michael Boland, Kansas State University. Potato Profile. Revised April 2014 by Shannon Hoyle, AgMRC, Iowa State University AgMRC (Agriculture Marketing Center). http://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/vegetables/potato-profile/. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016.


Food Editorial Co. The yummy food guide. http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/snacks/dips_and_sauces/history_of_salsa_sauce_the_mexican_connection.html. Accessed 19 Nov. 2016


Garcia, Edith. “Boiling Potatoes.” 2016. JPEG file.


Garcia, Edith. “Golden Brown Tacos Dorados.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Ingredients for Spicy Green Salsa.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Main Ingredients for Tacos de Papa.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Potato Paste.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Spicy Green Salsa.” 2016. JPEG file


Garcia, Edith. “Tacos Dorados de Papa.” 2016. JPEG file


Jackie@WifeLifeKitchen. Mexican Potato Tacos (Tacos de Papa). https://wifelifekitchen.com/?s=tacos+de+papa. Accessed 19 Nov. 2016


Potato Pro. Top 25 Potato Producing Countries

http://www.potatopro.com/world/potato-statistics. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016


SalsaShack.com. The History of Salsa Sauce. http://www.salsashack.com/History-Of-Salsa/. Accessed 19 Nov. 2016.


The World’s Healthiest Foods – Potatoes

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=48. Accessed 15 Nov. 2016

Pasta with my Grandmother’s sauce presentation

I decided to do my presentation on pasta with my Grandmother’s sauce because it is the food that takes me back to my childhood more than any other food. I remember that as a child we would gather every Sunday around my grandmother’s dinner table after mass and enjoy this dish. Although I love the flavor of it, its flavor alone is not the reason why I enjoy eating it so much. Every time I have this dish I relive a certain memory or feeling. It gives me the sense of family. The food is just the trigger to these memories and emotions. As a child, I did not care much for vegetables, so my grandmother would always try to find new ways to get me to eat my vegetables. One day, she decided to add pureed carrots, celery, and onion to the sauce she usually made and her recipe was born. To prepare her sauce you will need a quarter cup of olive oil, five garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, three carrots, two to three stalks of celery, one onion, seven to ten tomatoes depending on the size, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of butter, some basil, some nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Start by cooking the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes together in a large pot. Be careful, these ingredients cook fast. This should only take about 15 seconds on high heat. Next, Blend tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrots and add to the pot. You want to add these immediately to the oil to avoid burning the garlic and red pepper. After that, add a pinch of nutmeg and the 2 bay leaves. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper taking into consideration that the pasta is cooked in salted water. Finally, remove from heat and stir in the butter and basil. To cook to pasta, start with a pound of your favorite dry pasta. There are many excellent brands out there that are usually only available at smaller specialty stores, but one of my favorites is the De Cecco brand and it can be purchased at most supermarkets. Add the pasta to pot of boiling salted water and cook for about ten minutes. The texture of the pasta should be “Al Dente,” this basically means that the pasta is cooked through but not mushy; there should be some resistance when biting into it. Once the pasta is cooked it is time to drain it and toss it with the sauce. To plate, scoop into a bowl and top it with more sauce, cheese, olive oil, and cheese. I like to refer to pasta as one of the original fusion foods because it took ingredients from all over the world to make a traditionally Italian dish. The noodles originated in china but Italians created many different shapes to better carry different sauces. Tomatoes are native to the Americas, but they were introduced to Europe by Spanish conquistadors and the spices were available because of the Indian spice trade. So, it took ingredients from all over the world to create this quintessentially Italian dish.

Americas’ Favorite Dessert


Graciela Martinez

November 17, 2016

California State University Dominguez Hills

IDS: 336 Food and Culture

Dr. Perez

                                                            Americas’ Favorite Desert

            Even though Gelatin has a rich history dating thousands of years; it was advertising that made it possible for Jell-O to become Americas favorite dessert.  Jell-O has evolved and transformed to appeal to a wide range of people.  From children to the elderly community, Jell-O is Americas’ dessert.  While my reason for choosing gelatin as my research paper was sentimental and very personal, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered what a rich history gelatin has.  I hope to help my fellow classmates learn a little bit about history of gelatin, why I chose gelatin for my research paper, and of course I will provide a simple family recipe.  Finally, I will write about how brilliant marketing helped raise Jell-O to the status it holds today.

            Gelatin goes all the way back to the 15th century, Denis Papin a French man discovered it.  Gelatin in its raw nature stage has no color let alone flavor.  It is made from pure protein from animal bones.  “His experiment resulted in a method of removing the glutinous material from animal bones and boiling them” (Wulffson, 1999).  Even though gelatin was first discovered by Papin, he never patented gelatin under his name.  It was not until 1897, when Pearl B. Wait improved the gelatin formula; by adding fruit syrup, it made the gelatin more appealing to a wider number of consumers. He also named his invention Jell-O. “The New business had no completion, but unfortunately, not enough people wanted to try Jell-O. Wait sold the business to Orator Francis Woodward, a neighbor, for $450” (Wulffson, 1999).  Becoming an American favorite dessert was not an easy road for gelatin.  It had more than a few struggles along the way.  Jell-O was popular for a few elite in the early 1900s, it was served as an elegant meal.  By the Great Depression in the 1930 Jell-O had become an affordable meal in most American households.  Brilliant Marketing made it possible for Kraft Foods to catapult into an afortable dessert.

            Woodward was the driving force that made Jell-O a house hold name.  He created a very successful advertising campaign. Poster, picture, and ads in magazine provided fabulous Jell-O recipes.” Over 15 million Jell-O recipes booklets were printed and distributed into American household” (What is cooking America). In the early 1900s immigrants arriving to Ellis island were greeted with a bowl of Jell-O.  This simple act of kindness provided new faithful consumers, guaranteeing Kraft Food increases sells and popularity.  In 1904 the Jell-O girl was introduced to America, in 1934, Jack Benny oversaw advertising Jell-O in the radio airwaves.   Radio jingles was a common practice, they were catchy and memorable.  In 1964, Kraft Foods came out with one of their most successful slogan “There’s always room for Jell-O” (hat is cooking America).  Kraft Food sales were profitable for the most part of the 20th century until 1974. where for the first time they started to decline.  House wives no longer wanted to buy Jell-O for their growing children.  Kraft Food needed to reinvent the company and introduce more creative advertising, for the first time they hired a public figure to promote Americas favorite dessert. 

Gelatin has a few nutritional values, which continues to appeal worldwide sales. For example, sugar free Jell-O is a healthy dessert, it has 60 calories per serving, 10 of the 60 calories are from fat. Another great benefit is that Gelatin is cholesterol free, it has 170mg of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiver, 1 gram of protein, 10% of calcium, and 4% of Iron. Strawberry Jell-O only has 250 calories in a cup, 90calories are from fat.   Strawberry Jell-O has 5mg of cholesterol, 190mg of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 190 mg of sodium, 21 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, vitamin A and C, 2% calcium, and 2% iron. Gelatin has come a long way from it early origins.  Gelatin beginning was flavorless and colorless, it was meant to be serve to a few elite. Today their Jell-O has several flavors from strawberry, lime, lemon, orange to chocolate and vanilla.  Today Jell-O is served in every household, regardless of social economic status.  Hospitals serve Jell-O to their patients after any minor or major surgery, it is a light meal.  In the United States of America Jell-O is an affordable easy to make dessert in third world countries. The sale of homemade gelatin is a source of income.  Women like my mother and my grandmother have provided food and clothes for their children by selling gelatin in local mom and pop stores.   

My love for homemade gelatins began very early in life.  One of my first childhood memories was my mother preparing a hole batch of gelatins.  She would make a few of every flavor and colors, and on very special occasions she would make gelation made with milk.  As I got older I started questioning my mother how and who had taught her how to make my favorite dessert.  As it turns out my father was the one that taught her how to make them.  My mother had to provide for her young daughters, because even though my father did provide for the family at time he felt just a little short.  He was groomed to be a machista by my grandmother and his sisters.  There was no question he cared for his young wife and girls but when he was influenced into drinking, he would waste the rent money.   By learning how to make homemade gelatins my mother found a way to bring money to the house hold.  My father learned how to make gelatins from his mother.  My grandmother is 84 years old and till this day she continues to deliver her gelatin to a few mom and pop stores.  In the afternoon, she sets up a table outside her house and sells her home-made gelatin to the neighborhoods’ kids.  She has kept her independence by continuing to sell gelatins every morning and every afternoon. 

Now a day one never stops to think how much history there is behind the food we enjoy every day.  We take it for granted, it is as just another thing one must do to stay alive.  The fact of the matter is that food has a rich history behind it.  It has different levels of nutrition and every culture appreciates food to different degrees.  Jell-O was my selection entry for my cook book, I chose it because, every time I eat Jell-O it reminds me of my lovely mother and my grandmother. I go back to my childhood in Mexico, I began to remember my mother and myself in the kitchen. I am sitting on the kitchen table watching my mother boiling the gelatin, adding sugar to it.  Poring it to another pot, adding food coloring and vanilla flavor.  Poring it to a least 100 molds, letting them set through the night.  Getting up in the morning to enjoying my favorite, milk gelatin. 

                                    My mother’s homemade milk gelatin

This recipe would make 50 eight ounces’ milk gelatins

250 grams of grenetina

1 gallon of water

1 gallon of whole milk

2 lbs. of sugar

Sticks of cinnamon

½ spoon of vanilla extract



Barksdale, Nate. “Jiggle it: The history of Gelatin, as and Jellies.” Hunry History, 5 Sept. 2014.

Buzz, Matt. “The fascinating, Untold story of Jell-O Gizmodo.” Today I found out .com, 24 Jan. 2014.

Grey, Sara. “A social history of Jell-O salad: The rise and fall of an American Icon.” Seriouseat.com, 2015.

Hallock, Betty. “The cocktail you eat.” LA times, 10 Oct. 2007.

“History of Gelatin, Gelatine, and Jell-O.” Whats cooking in America.net, .

Polis, Carey. “The state of Jell-O salad in America.” Huffington Post, 18 Sept. 2012.

Spackman, Chris. “Mormonism’s Jell-O Mold.” Slate, Aug. 08.

 “The Jiggly history of Jell-O.” Today I found Out Feed your Brain, 24 Jan. 2014.

Wulffson, Don L. “Fascinating facts about the invention of Jell-O by Pearl B. Wait in 1897.” 1999.

Wyman, Carolyn. “In Utah, it’s good to be green (Jell-O).” LA times, 13 Feb. 2002.





















Zuppa Toscana


I have a confession. I have no specialty dish that I can claim to master. I’m spoiled rotten when it comes to cooking traditional meals. I’m blessed to have both my parents and my mother law to cook our traditional Latino foods; Pozole, Menudo, Tamales, Carnitas are all made by them on holidays and special events. All I get tasked with is bringing a side dish, dessert or drinks. And even then, it’s just easier for me to buy the item than to make it. Don’t get me wrong I have a family and I cook but because I work full time and attend school full time, we go out to eat most of the week. (Don’t judge me, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).

My immediate family consist of my husband, myself and our four kids. Its considered a large family by today’s standards. A night of eating out is not always the healthiest, our usual is Pizza (my picky 4-year-old child’s favorite), hamburgers or tacos. Cheap, fast and easy. Every once in a while, we splurge. One cold winter night we decided to have dinner at Olive Garden. My husband and I had been on plenty of dates to Olive Garden but never with the kids. This was a whole new experience for them. As we arrived the waiter asked how many? Under what name? As we sat for 20 minutes waiting to be called, I looked around at the décor, the grapevines decorating the restaurant, the waiter toting a wine bottle and serving. The colorful words on the chalkboard announcing the lunch and dinner specials. I could tell my 6-year-old daughter thought it was fancy. The server called my husband’s name and and then we were seated.

As we waited on the waiter to take our order, we discussed our visit to the restaurant. Sometime children like to play 21 questions and ours were no exception. We confessed to the kids this was not our first-time visiting Olive Garden. They were a little upset to find out we go to restaurants without them. I’m not sure why they were so shocked. That night we ordered the chicken fettuccine alfredo, the tour of Italy and the lasagna al forno. The entrees included a soup or salad. We all opted for soup. Chicken gnocchi or Toscana. We’re not Italian and I wasn’t sure what gnocchi was so I chose my usual Zuppa Toscana. It translates to “Tuscan Soup”.

I’d describe it like a creamy potato soup loaded with flavorful Italian sausage, kale, and bacon. It is a warm creamy soup consisting of Spicy Italian Sausage, potatoes and kale. It warms your heart and soul. It is so hearty and satisfying. Its served piping hot and every mouthful contains potatoes and Italian sausage with a hint of bacon that melts in your mouth.

As our soup came we all dug in. While we sat with our faces nearly buried in the soup bowls, devouring this soup with an endless supply of breadsticks of course. It was so good in fact, my 6-year-old daughter started choking in the middle of eating her soup. At least 3 people and the waiter ran to help. We could not believe she was choking as I stated earlier the soup melts in your mouth. My husband was about to pick her up to start the Heimlich maneuver when she said she was alright. A piece of Kale had not fully made its way down her throat. Even the waiter remarked, “Wasn’t she having soup?” That night we wrapped up dinner with a new story and a new family favorite comfort food. It’s been 7 years since that incident and we still poke fun at her about it. Who chokes on cooked mushy kale… my daughter Josie that’s who. Would Josie’s experience always come to mind when we visit Olive Garden? But most importantly would we only have our creamy, hearty Zuppa Toscana during rare visits at Olive Garden? Could I duplicate their decadent recipe at home? Everything and anything is on the internet, right? The search was on. It was 2011 and all the information in the world was in the palm of my hand.

I Googled the recipe for Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden and I got hundreds of results. I found the recipe I currently use on Copykat.com however I modified it a tad. It is quick and easy and I save myself a ton of money but most importantly cooking it is a breeze and my family loves it.

Zuppa Toscana

On a cold night, this soup will keep you and yours warm and cozy. It’s a guaranteed hit and best of all clean-up is a breeze because it’s a one pot meal.
Serves 4-6 people
1 lb of Italian Sausage (hot or mild, I prefer “hot” to add a tiny kick)
½ small onion diced
1 small garlic clove finely chopped
1 tbs Knoor chicken Bouillon
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup bacon bits
8 russet potatoes sliced width wide
Shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
Brown the Italian sausage in a large soup pot.
Mix the sausage with ½ onion and diced garlic clove, Sautee the onion.
Once the onion is transparent, add 4 cups of water.
Then add the potatoes and bacon bits.
Once the potatoes are soft add the heavy whipping cream, kale and the chicken Bouillon.
Bring to boil. Use the parmesan cheese to garnish the soup.

Enjoy, try not to choke on the Kale.

As I was researching the origin of this tasty soup, I was finding it incredibly difficult to find information. I was certain the soup was considered a “peasant” soup. A soup made by Tuscany’s poor people since Medieval Times with inexpensive ingredients. Capatti and Montanari extensively explored the subject and stated “Medieval culture was finely attuned to the differences communicated through behavioral code, among which eating habits were of primary importance. Within this scheme of things vegetables were clearly identified as the food of peasants and the impoverished.” They illustrate this point they cited a story of a monk, whom encountered an elderly pilgrim returning from Rome, travelling with a sack the stinky garlic, onions and leeks. There are countless stories during history that associate vegetables with poor or lower class.

Scholars note, throughout the centuries vegetables have gained “social success”. In the 16th Century, Italians first encountered Potato’s in the America’s and described them as tasting like “chestnuts.” The Potato would remain suspicious to the Italians. It would be another 200 years before Italians would incorporate them into their diets. This was partly due to necessity. Famine struck Italy in the 18th century and a massive propaganda campaign was launched by Public Officials that finally convinced peasants and farmers to incorporate the Potato to their daily diet and crops. Some even suggested using it as a replacement for wheat flour in baking. Potato were also used to prepare dumplings, a dish favored by many in Middle Ages. By the 19th Century the potato had reach the “high” culture. This import was now an ingredient found in many recipes for the “cultured” class.


Dickie, John. “Tuscany: Don’t Tell the Peasants.” Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food. London: Sceptre, 2007. N. page. Print.

Http://www.facebook.com/copykatrecipes. “Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana.” Restaurant Recipes – Popular Restaurant Recipes You Can Make at Home: Copykat.com. N.p., 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Capatti, Alberto, and Montanari, Massimo. Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History : Italian Cuisine : A Cultural History. New York, US: Columbia University Press, 2003. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 10 December 2016.

Weaver, William Woys, and Solomon H. Katz. Encyclopedia Of Food And Culture. New York: Gale Division of Cengage Learning Inc, 2003. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

“Zuppa Toscana.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016

Birria! It’s time to Party.

Birria is a Mexican dish from the state of Jalisco. The dish is a spicy stew, traditionally made from goat meat or mutton, but occasionally from beef or chicken. It is garnished with finely chopped onions and cilantro, a hint of lime and salsa, and it is usually accompanied by a side of rice and beans. The dish is often served at celebratory occasions, such as weddings and baptisms, and holidays.
Birria is synonymous with Party. It is a food commonly served in many of my family’s major celebrations. This is why I chose it as the subject of my presentation. My parents served it for my Quinceaῆera, my parents Wedding, my brother’s Wedding. My husband and I served it at our daughter’s Quinceaῆera. It is tradition, it is undoubtedly Mexican, it is a food that represents who I am and it also denotes Happiness. It’s a food that connects my past to my present.
It is also touted as a hangover cure. Although that may be the result of having partied all night long with too much liquor and warming the Birria to eat the next day. Warming the Birria is also known as the “recalentado”. But what’s in the Birria that may provide a hangover cure? Our family usually opts for Beef Birria and not goat as the main component of the dish. Beef is a protein. Protein is essential to any diet. The body needs it to build muscle and maintain organs. Beef is also a rich source of many minerals including including Iron and Zinc. Minerals are needed for the proper function of all the body’s sytems. Beef is also rich in several vitamins such as B12, B6, and riboflavin. B12 is essential for normal digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also plays a role in other processes like sleep, mental functioning, and immunity just to name a few. However, Beef is not a food to eat every single day. Studies have shown, eating beef can significantly expand your waistline and cause other health issues such as heart disease, some studies even say cancer. Harvard researchers found that people who consumed three ounces of red meat everyday were about 13 % more likely to die than the people that didn’t. Although this information may appear to put you off on beef, remember Birria is reserved for special occasions. Eat birria, get drunk and enjoy another bowl at the recanlentado the next day.
While we are on the subject of getting drunk, you may need a drink after I provide the following statistics on Beef. According to BeefUSA.org ;
• U.S. commercial slaughter total was 28.74 million head (fed steer and heifer & non-fed cow & bull; 2015)
• U.S. beef production (commercial carcass weight) was 23.69 billion pounds. (2015) The total U.S. beef consumed was 24.807 billion pounds. (2015) Average annual U.S. retail Choice beef price in 2015 was $6.29/lb.
• Value of total U.S. beef exports (including variety meat) equaled $6.302 billion down from $7.135 (billion)
That’s an impressive amount of beef. There are many sources of information that make case for Meatless Monday’s not only for health benefits but also to reduce the greenhouse gases that are affecting our environment. The environment is a different subject from my Birria, but it is related. The number of cattle produced is due to demand. The increased population is requiring more food and resources to supply the demand. In meeting these demands, there is massive deforestation occurring, which also affects our environment. Its cause and effect… Let the drinking begin!

 Birria de res - Fernandez Restaurant and Catering | by mmmyoso https://www.flickr.com/photos/mmm-yoso/12514213393

Jello Chocolate Pudding

Jell O Brand Chocolate Pudding


As a child growing up, my Mom would make my brother and I chocolate pudding as a treat. You can buy pudding already prepared or you can make pudding by just adding cold milk to a box or cook it up on the stove top. My mom used the stove top and we loved to eat ours warm with a little bit of whipped cream.

To make this simple dessert you need a box of Jell O chocolate flavored pudding and 3 cups of whole milk. You put the milk in a pot on medium heat and add the pudding contents. Stir mixture until it boils being careful not to scorch the milk. Put the pudding into small bowls and refrigerate or you can eat it warm.


Chocolate Pudding Mix

Bring Pudding Mixture to a boil

Chocolate Pudding – Bon Appetit

Nutrition Analysis

Some history on Pudding – The original pudding was formed by mixing various ingredients with a grain product or other binder such as butter, flour, cereal, eggs, and/or suet, resulting in a solid mass. These puddings are baked, steamed or boiled. Depending on its ingredients, such a pudding may be served as a part of the main course or as a dessert.

Boiled or steamed pudding was a common main course aboard ships in the Royal Navy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Pudding was used as the primary dish in which daily rations of flour and suet were prepared.

Some history on Jello- In 1897, in LeRoy, New York, a carpenter and cough syrup manufacturer, Pearle Bixby Wait trademarked a gelatin dessert, called Jell-O. He and his wife May added strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon flavoring to granulated gelatin and sugar. Then in 1899, Jell-O was sold to Orator Francis Woodward of Genesee Pure Food Company.

In 1925 The JELL-O Company merged with Postum Cereal, Inc, that would eventually become General Foods Corporation.  Today Jell-O is owned and manufactured by Kraft/General Foods.

In 1927 Chocolate Jell-O was introduced and not long after discontinued.

In 1936 Chocolate returned to the Jell-O lineup as an instant pudding made with milk. The pudding became so popular that other pudding flavors were added such as vanilla, tapioca, coconut, pistachio, butterscotch, egg custard, flan and rice pudding.

Milk and dairy products provide essential nutrients your body needs to build strong bones and healthy teeth. Milk helps keep bones strong by providing 9 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamins A, D and B12, protein, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and phosphorus.

These essential nutrients do more than just build strong bones. Studies have shown that drinking milk can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-crippling disease that affects 28 million Americans, aid in weight loss, help lower your risk of colon cancer and more.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the dried and partially fermented seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), a small, 4–8 m tall (15–26 ft tall) evergreen tree native to the deep tropical region of the Americas. Recent genetic studies suggest the most common genotype of the plant originated in the Amazon basin and was gradually transported by humans throughout South and Central America.more.

Now that I’m a mom eating chocolate pudding with my kids brings back memories of my childhood and having this special treat made by my mom. With life these days I opt for buying pudding already prepared, but this class has taught me to reflect on my childhood and to appreciate the little things that my mom did for me and my brother. I hope that one day my kids will have some of these same memories about me that I have about my mom, I better get into the kitchen and start making some memories.

Works Cited

“Jell-O Chocolate Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie Filling 3.4 Oz. Box.” Recipes. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

“Jell-O.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

“Alta Dena.” Alta Dena. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

“Chocolate.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Https://whatscookingamerica.net/author/brenda/. “History of Gelatin and Jell-O, Whats Cooking America.” What’s Cooking America. N.p., 04 June 2016. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Christmas Shoofly Pie

Margot Lavell
Shoofly Pie

Top Layer

Bottom Layer

Pre Oven

Final Product

Piece of Pie 🙂


Shoofly Pie
Being from New York but living in California, it has become pretty normal for me to miss holidays with my family. Although Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday I usually end up with a friend’s family as it is pretty difficult to get back to New York during this time with work and school. But Christmas is the one holiday in my 25 years I have only missed once. Although my family does cook, we are not the most avid cookers or chef’s out there. But, there is one dish that we have every year that is one of my favorites. Every Christmas for breakfast we do the normal eggs, bacon, cinnamon rolls, grapefruit, and shoofly pie. Everything about the dish is a pretty basic breakfast dish, except for the shoofly pie. I don’t think I’ve ever had shoofly pie with any other family other than my immediate or extended family. The only Christmas morning that I have not eaten shoofly pie was the one Christmas that I missed. Every Christmas morning, we exchange gifts with one another and then we all sit down to eat breakfast. Although I have never actually made shoofly pie myself until now. Writing this paper, I realized I literally knew nothing about the origin of shoofly pie. All I knew was that it was a tradition on my father’s side of the family to make it every Christmas and that tradition was passed down. So, looking up the origin of the pie has been pretty interesting to me. I first looked up the origin of molasses which is essentially what the pie is (along with sugar, carbs, and fat) and found that it kind of holds a dark past. Cane is pressed to produce Cane Juice, then boiled until it crystallizes and forms molasses. This technique was actually used in India as far back as 500 B.C. The term molasses is English but came from a Portuguese term melaco which came from a Latin term mel which actually meant honey. The Japanese also call it Kuro Mitso (Black Honey). When traders started carrying slaves from Africa to the Caribbean they would sell humans for barrels of molasses. The molasses was then brought to England and made into rum, so this trade actually became extremely profitable. In the mid 1700’s the British Parliament added large taxes to the molasses trade to all of its’ colonies that were involved. This was a considerable livelihood for some New Englanders so they were not pleased with the tax, which would become something that was boycotted, petitioned and another thing that encouraged the Revolution.
Molasses has long been used for a sweetener and was actually a primary sweetener before sugar. Sugar was quite expensive in the 1800s and it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that people started using sugar more as it became cheaper. Molasses was used for almost anything in the United States, both by Southerners and Northerners. It was used anywhere from sweetener for drinks, marinating meat, for baking, and even to make alcohol. Now molasses is almost double the price of sugar which is probably a big reason that it isn’t used as much. Although there are specific recipes that call for molasses it seems that it is mostly some kind of sweet or baked good that molasses is used for.
After doing some research I found that Shoofly Pie is a Pennsylvanian Dutch food. In 1730 the Pennsylvania area was settled by various religious followers such as the Amish and Mennonites, and other off shoots. Many of whom emigrated from Germany and Switzerland. As far as I know, I do not have any Amish or Mennonite relatives, but my ethnic background is a mix of a few things, one being German. Many of the settlers in this area apparently had a major sweet tooth. A word that I came across a few times was actually “addicted” to sweets and baked goods, especially pies. I found this entertaining as I have such a sweet tooth and not for candy but for things like cake, cookies, and other baked goods. I guess it’s just in my blood. They would eat pies often at any time of the day either as meals or along with most of their meals.
In one of the articles I read, the author stated that the earliest recipe of Shoofly Pie that was found was in 1876. The pie was supposedly made as a result of farm wives making due with what they had in the middle of winter. Left with molasses, lard, and flour they were combined and Shoofly Pie came about. A big question is how did the name Shoofly Pie come about – as it doesn’t sound very appetizing. One story is that the pie was actually French and looked like cauliflower or “cheux-fleur” in French, which then turned into Shoofly. The probability of this being true is pretty slim especially considering that Shoofly Pie is not usually seen in French Cuisine. The more likely story is that pools of molasses would form on top of the pie as it was left to cool which would then attract flies because of its sweetness, hence the flies having to be shooed away. Shoofly Pie became a favorite of the Pennsylvanian Dutch. Although it is not seen in many bakeries across America, it is still very popular in Amish country and in a lot of restaurants in that area. There’s a few different ways the pie can be made, some being more wet at the bottom and some more dry (personally I like it dry), as well as different toppings that people put on it. Some people put whipped cream on it while others put chocolate on top. In my opinion it is fine alone or at most a little butter on top. People fear Shoofly Pie which I get because it seems like it could be really heavy, or even excessively sweet, but it’s not and an interviewee in one of the articles compared it to the sweetness of Pecan Pie which was a great comparison. Although people are a lot more health conscious then they used to be so I don’t see this ever becoming a popular dish across America, but, continuing to be well liked in the areas that it originated.
For my project, I asked my parents if they had any pictures of the pie and somehow there were none! So instead of getting pictures online I decided that it would be fun to make the pie myself and get my own pictures (I also included ingredients and directions below!). As I said before I had never made this pie, or actually even helped make it so I was a little nervous but figured that if I had a recipe for it, how could I go wrong? Although my mom makes the pie crust herself, I thought that seemed a little too ambitious as I am not the best cook and cooking the rest of the pie itself would be challenging enough for me. So, I recruited my best friend to help me. We thought it sounded like a good time. I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients, got home and also recruited my roommate to help out. What ended up happening was them just hanging out with me while I made the pie-which I did not mind. Although I’m not the best cook, I actually really enjoy it. I find it pretty fun to grab my speakers, put on some Led Zeppelin and attempt to cook. So that’s what I did. We hung out, listened to music and I made the infamous Shoofly Pie.
As I took the pie out of the oven I realized a lot had actually spilled out all over the oven – oops. This was a lot to clean up as molasses is extremely sticky. I let the pie cool for a little then gave some to my friends to try, excited to see their reactions. They loved it! Or so I thought. I turned around to hear them giggling and realized they didn’t like the pie, they were just trying to be polite and not hurt my feelings! They actually hated it. We all got a good laugh out of it. I was pretty baffled though because it’s one of my favorite pies. I have some health issues and am supposed to stay away from sugar but, had to try the pie to see what they were talking about. It was pretty bad. I was baffled as to what I did wrong, but it was definitely a fun experience. My thought is that I didn’t mix everything in well enough because as I kept forcing them to eat more, they claimed that some bites were super “nutmegy”, some were very sweet, and some were indescribable. I have decided that when I go home for Christmas this year I am going to help my mom with the pie so I can see how it’s done correctly and maybe someday I’ll be able to make it again and actually have my friends enjoy it.

Pie Crust Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup of butter or shortening
5-7 tablespoons cold water
Put the flour into the mixing bowl and add the butter. Use a pastry cutter or pastry blender to mix the flour and the butter. Add the salt and water. Mix until the dough is formed. Roll out the dough on a flat surface. Place the dough in a pie plate. Bake the dough at 375 degrees for about 15 Minutes until Brown.
Shoofly Pie Ingredients
1 Pie Shell
1 Cup Molasses
¾ Cup of Hot Water
¾ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Egg Beaten
1 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Shortening
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bottom Layer (Molasses): Combine the molasses, hot water, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Stir and mix in the beaten egg. Pour into shell.

Top Layer (Crumb Topping): Combine flour and brown sugar into mixing bowl. Then add shortening. Mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbles then put on top of bottom layer. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to 350 and continue to bake for 30 more minutes.

“A Pie Called Shoofly”. Chicago Tribune. 05 Aug. 1998. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-08-05/entertainment/9808050319_1_pie-shell-molasses-cake . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
Baird, Sarah. “Know Your Sweets: Shoofly Pie”. Serious Eats. Serious Eats Inc. 2016 http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/07/know-your-sweets-shoofly-pie.html. Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
Filippone, Peggy Trowbridge. “Molasses History”. About Food. About, Inc. 07 Nov. 2016. http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/molasseshistory.htm . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
Fullerton, Elizabeth. “Homemade Pie Crust”. FOOD. http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-pie-crust-13619 . Accessed. 28 Nov. 2016
Hudson, Jeff. “Molasses’ Bittersweet History”. SF Gate. Hearst Communications, Inc. 28 Jan. 1998. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Molasses-Bittersweet-History-3014292.php . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016
Igou, Brad. “Shoofly Pie”. Amish Country News. Roncki, Inc. 21 February, 2010. http://www.amishnews.com/amisharticles/shooflypie.htm . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
“Molasses”. New World Encyclopedia. 12 Nov. 2014.

http://www.newworldenhttp://citedatthecrossroads.net/ids336f16/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=609&type=image&TB_iframe=1cyclopedia.org/entry/Molasses . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
“Molasses”. How Products Are Made. Advameg, Inc. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Molasses.html . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016
“Shoofly Pie History”. What’s Cooking America. https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PieHistory/ShooflyPie.htm . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016
Stultz, D. “My Grandma’s Shoo-Fly Pie”. All Recipes. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15853/my-grandmas-shoo-fly-pie/ . Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.

Ice Cream

Now this is the way to eat ice cream and a cone!

Ice Cream


Growing up, eating ice cream with my brothers was definitely a treat. We were being raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to ensure that my three brothers and me had a roof over our head, food on the table, and clothes on our back. Ice cream was a luxury that we were not always afforded so when we did get to have it, it was a special treat. We would all go to Thrifty’s and were able to pick a scoop of our favorite ice cream. My older brothers always got to get two scoops but I did not complain in fear that I would not get my one scoop. Eating ice cream with my family always bought laughs and a great time. It was a moment in time when we could just all be happy. There were times growing up that my mom would go without eating so I know that she struggled to provide for us. The moments that we could afford ice cream, I knew that made her happy to see all of her children laughing and joking and her being able to partake in the moment with us. To this day, I love to sit down and eat ice cream with my brothers. We talk about our childhood and all the things we did while our mother was away working. For example, my oldest brother is twelve years older than I am so he helped watch all of us. I know there had to be times where he resented having to stay home and watch us instead of hanging with his friends. One day, I kept asking him for some ice cream. I must have annoyed him to his limit, because he ate the rest of the ice cream in front of my face without giving me a spoonful. I cried and cried. Of course I didn’t’ tell my mom because what happened at home while she wasn’t there was never discussed, especially if it meant getting someone in trouble. My brother must have felt bad about eating the rest of the ice cream and since I did not tell on him, he bought me my very own container.



Nutritional Analysis

A half cup serving of ice cream will yield 7 grams of fat, 4.5 of which are unhealthy saturated fats. 14- 16 grams of sugar is added. Ice cream does have vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and magnesium.


Interesting Facts:

Ice cream can be dated back to the 2nd century. Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. During the Roman empire, Nero Claudis Caesar sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was flavored with fruits and juices.

It was said that President George Washington spend around $200 on ice cream in the summer of 1790. Until 1800, ice cream remained a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed by the elite. Ice cream production increased because of technological advances.


Political – Economic Analysis

Ice cream became an edible morale symbol during WWII. Each branch of the military tried to outdo the others in serving ice cream to troops. In 1945, the first “floating ice cream parlor” was built for sailors in the western Pacific. When the war ended, and dairy product rationing was lifted, America celebrated its victory with ice cream.





Food Presentation Avgolemono soup

Avgolemono soup

By Emily Hartman

This dish is one of my favorites.  It combines two of my favorite things, lemon and soup.  I think I was born with the genetic disposition to always need lemon.  As it turns out lemons are incredibly good for you.  They have many vitamins and help kill germs. Lemon helps kill germs because of its acidity.  Lemon also provides so many vitamins at the same time because it must grow in sunlight and have rich moist soil.  Lemons contain vitamins B, C, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.  With this ammount of healthful ingredients in lemons I am even more drawn to them.  So ever since I have had Avgolemono soup I can not have chicken noodle soup without lemon in it.  Also, it is not bad to have when sick, get the vitamins and kill the germs at the same time, a double whammy.

Avgolemono soup was first given to me on easter when I was still an infant.  It was a dish made by my Papu, grandfather in Greek.  It was delicious but I never really understood my love for this soup untill I was older.  After my Papu died I all but forgot about this soup.  It wasnt untill my family had gone to a medeterranean resturant when I was in highschool that I remembered this soup.  Now that I am older my interest and love of this dish has been rekindled.  Its warm creamy goodness, chicken chunks, soft carrots, small easy to eat noodles, and lemon.  I can not stress enough how much I love lemon.  What really drove me to cooking and learning about this dish was my attempt to reconnect with my Greek heritage.  My mother would always tell me about the great intelectuals and food that came from her family, in a way I wanted to know and connect with that past.  I have studied so much about my heritage and even connected with my family in Greece.  For this assignment though I had to look deeper, find the origin of the food I most loved.  In that case lemon.

In my research I found that lemon originated some where in Asia.  It was brought to Greece by the Sephardic Jews who migrated throughout the Middle East and up into Europe.  They also brought the recipe for the lemon sauce that is made, originally the soup was just a lemon sauce.  A sauce with lemon egg and broth.  For that I am thankfull. There are so many Greek dishes that taste so good because of lemon.

I found that soup was originally just bread in a bowl with broth poured over it.  The reason for the bread was because people thought that bread was super nutritius.  Well kind of, bread then was made with wheat that had small maggots in it and bits of stone, so protine and minerals?  Soup became so much better over the decades and the result is better than ever.


Hello, my name is Vittorio Degli Eredi. I was raised in Huntington Park, CA and have lived there my whole life. This is my first semester at Dominguez hills and I am majoring in Interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in comparative cultures. I’ve always been fascinated with other cultures and since food is such a huge part of culture, I was thrilled to take this class. I enjoy all aspects of culture end enjoy experiencing new music, religion, lifestyles, and food. I grew up in an Italian household so naturally I ate a lot of Italian food growing up. Today, I enjoy all types of food and am always excited to try new dishes but pasta, for me, has remained a comfort food. Especially when topped with the sauce my grandmother made when I was a child. I am also of Mexican descent. I grew up eating Mexican food on a regular basis as well. So, many of the foods I find comfort in are Mexican. However, pasta is the ultimate comfort  food. At times when I’ve felt like experimenting I’ve even prepared a fusion of Italian and Mexican food. One day we had mole at home but ran out of tortillas and rice to eat it with. So i decided to make pasta and use mole as the sauce. I topped  it off with cotija cheese, avocado, and onion. I remember it being pretty good but my favorite preparation of it will always be with the sauce my grandmother made.