Primas, Manitas and Calabacitas and Other Tummy Tales
The latest addition to the local Tummy Tales series Primas, Manitas and Calabacitas & Other Tummy Tales, will be released on Sat. Oct. 28th, 2023; from 2-4 pm at the Corky Gonzales Library (1498 Irving St, Denver, CO 80204). Join us as Colorado Latinx authors and storytellers read excerpts from their stories about the food they grew up with. A free food tasting and reception to follow.
“For Día de Muertos we place our beloved departed ones favorite foods on our altars. This is a chance to hear the stories behind these foods and taste the diverse recipes our ancestors’ passed on,” said Brenda Gurule Chicano Humanities Arts Council (CHAC) executive director, who is cosponsoring the event.
Gurule added, “This is a fresh new way to celebrate Dia de Muertos, in addition to sugar skulls, art displays, creating altars and other festivities. It preserves the legacy of food culture by honoring those who passed in a unique way.”
Primas, Manitas and Calabacitas & Other Tummy Tales is the eighth book in the collection of family food stories and features some of the Southwest’s best storytellers and authors. The new book, slated for release last spring, was delayed while the team searched for a new illustrator. With the addition of up and coming artist Damaris Santos, (who worked on previous Tummy Tale books while a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), the latest book in the series promises a fresh new look.
Over the years many other MSU Denver alumni, students and faculty have contributed stories and recipes to the book series. Santos said “Working on the Tummy Tales while I was a student at MSU Denver helped me to realize the importance of food traditions in celebrating Dia de Muertos. I have deep respect for how stories and recipes create a lasting legacy in our families. We all know that every one of us is connected to our heritage through the foods we keep in alive in our hearts.”
Primas, Manitas and Calabacitas, touching and humorous stories highlight regional takes on well-known Latinx recipes such as tamales, calabacitas, tortillas, buñuleos, chili caribe, and taquitos. The addition of stories and recipes highlighting Portuguese Pastéis de Nata, Louisiana King Cakes, Blueberry Pancakes, German Spiced Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Pot Roast, and Vanilla Pudding with a surprise, adds a delightful twist. Most importantly the stories are about the familial ties that bind us as a people. These tales highlight our traditions, cultural diversity and how we use food to connect. Henley’s story about growing up in the Deep South subtly addresses how prejudice and racial bias came to be overcome. Fajardo’s story about her prima and her prima’s relationship to her wife, challenges us to redefine the serotypes we face. Pinto’s story is a reminder that things change but memories last. “The stories of families and the recipes they cook to celebrate are so important to keeping our heritage alive,” said Editor Ed Winograd. “For 25 years the Tummy Tales project has endeavored to create a lasting legacy of Colorado’s storytellers and the foods that define their cultural roots.”
Contributing authors include author Jo Elizabeth Pinto (who was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970s), Pueblo-based educator & activist Elizabeth Aragon-Blanton, Argentina-born author Carina Oliva-Quiroz, Lucille Rivera board VP of CHAC Art Gallery, renown storyteller & women rights activist Jane Treat, award-winning educator, teacher, poet, from the Colorado Alliance of Latino Authors & Mentors- Maria Ramírez, Spanish interpreter Julia C. Arredondo. Stories from editor Ed Winograd, and publishers Carl Ruby and Renee Fajardo round out the impressive lineup along with long-time contributor David Henley. First-time authors include East African born writer Zita Easton and recent MSU Denver graduate Kristen Simpson.
Other authors from the previous No Pepperonis! Just Chicharrones! & Other Tummy Tales (fall 2021) will also be on hand to read from their stories.
MSU Denver Chicana/o Studies Journey Through Our Heritage students have been working on compiling the new book, along with the Chicano Humanities Arts Council and the Colorado Folk Arts Council since spring of 2021.
Tummy Tale History – In 1997 with a grant from the Colorado Council on the Arts, Holy Molé Guacamole! & Other Tummy Tales was published.
Over a quarter of a century later this journey of love to preserve and record the rich cultural heritage of food tales from Colorado continues.
Other Tummy Tales Series Titles Include:
Pinch A Lotta Enchiladas & Other Tummy Tales (2002, from which the title story was selected from 3,000 entries nationwide to be in Chicken Soup For the Latino Soul), Chili Today, Hot Tamale & Other Tummy Tales (2005), Ole! Posole! & Other Tummy Tales (2006), and Frijoles, Elotes, y Chipotles, Oh My! & Other Tummy Tales (2016), Biscochitos for Mis Jitos & Other Tummy Tales(2018), No Pepperonis! Just Chicharrones! & Other Tummy Tales (fall 2022) and Primas, Manitas and Calabacitas & Other Tummy Tales (fall 2023).
The Tummy Tale Team: Renee Fajardo has been with MSU Denver’s Department of Chicana/o Studies Journey Through Our Heritage Program since 2011. She is a former freelance writer, and contributor to numerous articles/ books, most notably the Tummy Tales series and the Return of the Corn Mothers. After a ten year hiatus in 2015 the Tummy Tale series was revitalized when Nelson Moreno, a junior at the time, wanted to utilized the series to create a Literacy For All event on campus. In order to highlight heritage stories from partner schools/ teachers, students and faculty involved with the JTOH program, the series was integrated into the MSU Denver JTOH program. Since then series has been a staple in creating a bridge between college students, families and community members, as a means to gain a sense of cultural pride and communal collaboration. Every year dozens of the Tummy Tale books have been given out free to schools and libraries to encourage literacy for young readers, cultural competency, community bonding, leadership, service learning and networking opportunities. The entire series is now housed in the Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Special collections.
Carl Ruby (Mr. Origami) is a professional storyteller best known for his Japanese stories, complete with origami. He worked in the Jefferson County, Colorado school district as a media specialist for many years before retiring to write and tell tall tales. This is his seventh Tummy Tales book. He is along with Fajardo, is the original founding member of the Tummy Tales series. He is the former chair of the Rocky Mountain Story Telling Conference and a longtime volunteer with Operation Lifesaver and the Friends of the Westminster Public Library.
Ed Winograd is an editor, translator, and storyteller. He has edited many computer, chemistry, and math books, but his favorite edits are the five books he has edited for the Tummy Tales series. He was honored to edit Return of the Corn Mothers, a compilation of photos and biographies of 70 women from the Southwest. He has written stories for four of the Tummy Tales books. His Spanish-to-English translations include newspaper articles, press releases, technical translations, and two books of poetry. As a storyteller, he performs original tales and stories from folklore, mostly Jewish and Hispanic.
Damaris Santos is a recent graduate of MSU Denver and MSU Denver JTOH alumni. She has extensive experience as a graphic designer and arts educator. Of Puerto Rican /Cuban descent, she utilizes her cultural heritage to bring to life the multi-faceted nuances of her illustrations. Currently, she is working on a mural for the Chicano Humanities Arts Council.
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