Spanish-American woman (later identified as Ofelia Sandoval) removing peppers from stove. Russell Lee. Taos, New Mexico. September 1939. Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Photograph Collection.
Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USF34-034218-D
The Katherine Golden Bitting Collection on Gastronomy in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division contains approximately
4,500 volumes devoted to food handling, preparation, and cooking (see Collections Formed by Women in the Rare Book section). In terms of literature featuring Latina cooking, the collection holds books written by Latinas
and non-Latinas that purportedly represented their food. Quite a few of these were sponsored by the Gebhardt Chili Powder
Company of San Antonio, Texas, as a way to teach potential customers how to use their spices. Among them are Mexican Cookery for American Homes (San Antonio: Gebhardt Chili Powder Company, 1923; TX716.M4 M494 1923) and Frances P. Belle's A California Cookbook: An Unusual Collection of Spanish Dishes and Tropical California Foods (Chicago: Regan Publishing, 1925; TX715.B45). In these volumes the word “Spanish” is used interchangeably with “Mexican,”
but either way a recipe for a Spanish omelet without potatoes sheds doubt on their authenticity.
In her cookbook Early California Hospitality: The Cookery Customs of Spanish California with Authentic Recipes and Menus of the Period (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark, 1938; TX715P127), Ana Bégué de Packman, secretary of the Historical Society of Southern California
and custodian of the Casa Figueroa, tried to compensate for these travesties with recipes for corn and wheat tortillas, burritos,
and two separate ways of making pozole (stew with meat and hominy). She dedicated her book to “my hardy and illustrious ancestors: Don Francisco Reyes, soldado
de cuera (founder of Spanish frontier forts), who first trod the soil of Alta California with Padre Junípero Serra; and Don Maximo
Alanis, who assisted in founding the pueblo of Los Angeles and was the original grantee of Rancho San José de Buenos Aires
now known as Westwood Hills.”