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Posts posted by StanSherman

  1. Thank you for your response.

    With regards to "No Dogs, No Mexicans" signs... my grandfather came as a migrant worker during the 1920's and throughout the next 20 years, he personally saw them throughout rural California & Oregon.

    That is very believable.

    In fact, he told my dad the first time he encountered Burritos (which were and mostly are still unknown throughout much of Mexico) was when he picked Oranges in Orange County... they couldn't find any Cafe that would allow them to eat dinner, but there was a family from Sonora who would wrap stews with/without beans inside these strange wheat tortillas into a very transportable package that resembles a mule pack (hence the name). As for more academic resource... just go to Amazon.com and search for "No Dogs. No Mexicans" you will find dozens of scholarly works on the subject.

    Don't be hating my "wheat tortillas", For many years I visited southern Baja with wheat flour. The women in the fish camps were so grateful to have something different they would make me the finest meal one could imagine, in return. She made the tortillas on hot rocks, beach side. A Harvard PhD can't give me that experience.

    As to the role of El Cholo in the development of Tex-Mex / Mexicanesque cuisine... it seems that it played very little role. Frank Berumen, a Harvard PhD, is the primary researcher on Mexicans in Hollywood.. and his research brought him to research El Cholo as a Hollywood institution. As you might know, after Prohibition, much of the Hollywood & L.A. elite turned Tijuana into its boozing playground.

    Don't you mean during prohibition?

    In fact, the same families that developed L.A., founded LA Times, the eugenics society that eventually became the Cal Tech endowment etc., bought up much of the land of Rancho Tijuana and developed it into 1920's Tijuana.

    Are you trying to convince me that Mexicans had influence in the development of California?

    El Cholo Spanish Cafe was founded as place where the Hollywood elite could indulge in the cuisine they had come to love in Tijuana.

    I don't quite buy that. It was out of their driving radius. It was a place to have similar fun experiences after a football game.

    The name was actually very telling... the word Cholo (derived from Xoloscuintle the hairless, skinny, black dogs prized by the Aztecs) was the Spanish derogatory term for Native Americans

    Cracker Barrel has also done well.

    - it is still very commonly used as such in South America - and then there is Spanish cafe. At that time many of Hollywood's biggest stars (Ramon Novarro et al) were born in Mexico but there was a lot of pressure to invent Spanish births or recent Spanish ancestry... and to downplay any Greaser ancestry (American slang for Mexican).

    Do you know how to tell the difference between Spanish and Mexican?...drum roll... Your daughter is engaged to a Spaniard. I had many friends who went through that.

    El Cholo's menu for the first 30 years of is existence was essentially inherited from the Tijuana steakhouses of the 1920's. They were the first to introduce the Ceasar Salad to L.A. (invented at Ceasar's in Tijuana), the house specialty was the Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon served with Baked Potato, you could also order Paella, Ropa Vieja served with Spanish rice, Shrimp in Garlic Mojo served with Spanish rice... a common appetizer was the Queso Fundido served with Flour tortillas. Unfortunately, there isn't any surviving copies of the complete early menus at El Cholo... but that should give us an idea of what their food was all about.

    Have you been to El Cholo's? Bacon wrapped filet was 60's.

    It wasn't until the 1960's with the growing popularity of Mexican food, particularly among the hippies & hipsters,

    that El Cholo dropped "Spanish" from the name & began to "Mexicanize" its offering... which was clearly more influenced by the cuisine being popularized by El Torito (and its cognates) than what was going on in Mexico.

    At the same time in Mexico Carlos and (name any name) were expanding American/Mexican food with huge bars and dance floors. My basic point is that drink revenues have played a bigger part in the view of Mexican food than what has been put before the public.

    I find the term Mexican food as offensive as American food. They both accent mediocrity.

  2. it was invented by two California chains Taco Bell (founded by Glen Bell in South L.A. suburbs) and El Torito (founded as a Tiki bar by Eddie J. Cano in the San Fernando Valley). At this time in California there was a strong culture of segregation (L.A. enforced segregation through city ordinances in the 1920's & 1930's)... during the 1950's & 1960's when Faux Mexican restaurants became popular in the sub-urbs of Southern California restaurants in those communities typically had signs that read "No Hobos. No Dogs. No Mexicans"

    I grew up in LA and never saw one of those signs. Sure there was prejudice but I never saw signs like that.

    Eddie Cano had relatives across the street from us and near his second El Torito. Since he had a business degree from USC, I'll bet El Chollo had a much bigger influence in his style than any food or culture. He was in the business of selling drinks.

    Toluca Lake was a gold mine then. He had waitresses/actresses in short skirts serving drinks from 5pm (when the studios let out) until late at night. He was a man with lots of charm and charisma. When I was about 10 or 12 he gave me a ride to his Encino restaurant in his new XKE Jaguar. The East section of the Ventura Freeway had just opened and I got my first chance to feel a car at over 125mph.

  3. but I'm curious as to whether the contamination is surface contamination, or found deep in the muscle tissue too. In the book Guess What Came to Dinner', the author describes a protocol for killing superficial pathogens on food (including bacteria), which may be worth looking into, particularly for households that include the very young/elderly.

    So much for antibiotic use in animal husbandry not being a problem.

    Recently, Bill Marler has been talking about how jacking muscle meat may take the bugs further into meat. Somehow this information was out before this study.

    Here is a link to the study:


  4. This week was our official opening of our garden. It's still going to snow later, but we have the equipment ready, appropriate seeds started. The official rulz in these parts have spuds going in the ground on Good Friday. I'm not a very good Christian, actually I'm a pretty poor Jew, so they went in today under the cover of darkness.

  5. You cut back! So when the season gets going we will be eager to learn how you use and also preserve all the goodness.

    Hopefully, this will be a good year. We moved from CA a few years ago and after 20+ years of growing tomatoes in vastly different conditions we may have some tricks down. We have added huge amounts of custom compost from the dairy down the road to already beautiful Iowa soil. We tilled it yesterday and it is by far the finest soil I've ever had. (In Santa Monica I brought in two truckloads of potting soil for my raised beds.)

    I've got several Amish friends that don't put up as much out of the garden as we do. (they buy from WalMart) We do plain, sauce, soup, marmalade, salsa, BBQ sauces, chutneys, Bloody Mary mix & V8.

    Our garden is pretty much open to our neighbors so they stop by and pick what they need. My favorite is the perfect BLT. We are trying to get the local circle down to less than a mile. I may put in a 1/4 acre of wheat in the next few years to accomplish that goal. Some of the best tomatoes we grew last year, for slicing onto BLTs, were Polish, Soldacki, and Aussie. You want the really big 1-2 lb beefsteaks for that.

  6. Tomatoes 2011 Only two plants of each this year. We cut back.

    Black elephant


    Cow’s tit


    Black crimson

    Belgian heart

    Japanese black trifele

    Zorica’s Croatian bull’s eye

    Japanese oxheart

    Crnkovic Yugoslavian

    Wisconsin 55 gold

    Cour de bue

    Black star

    Crimson cushion beefsteak

    Stupice ipb

    Cuore de toro

    Giant oxheart

    Italian giant beefsteak


    Black plum

    Purple Russian

    Power’s heirloom

    Omar’s Lebanese

    Watermelon beefsteak

    Martino’s roma


    Bulgarian triumph


    Caspian pink

    German red strawberry

    Kelogg’s breakfast

    Giant Belgium

    Orange strawberry

    Orange oxheart

    Early girl

    Mt. Hood cherry


  7. Replanting tobacco farms has it's own problems. It could be years before you could grow most vegetables. Most food enthusiasts seem to hate corn, but they have no idea what those farms would do to stay alive with other crops.

    I should state that I abhor our food system, but the logistic and economic hoops for change are great and we have no idea where we are going.

  8. For someone who wants to leave the argument to Michael Pollen you may wish to listen closer to what he is saying. The farmers are not the cause of our country being obese and unhealthy. They are in business to make a living.

    Remarks that all these farms are "factory farms" is simply inflammatory.

    We live right smack in the middle of the most productive corn fields in the world and the only irrigation that is being done around here is our vegetables. The busiest people around here are the tiling contractors who install the drainage to help dry out the fields and prevent flooding.

    I agree that the world has a water problem, but non-irrigated corn is not the problem.

    I can't think of a single farmer who would change what they farm if the farm subsidies were changed. Many of the subsidies around here include conservation payments, not just crop supplements. (the payments are close to 1% of gross revenue currently)What do you suppose these farmers would grow on their land if not corn, soy and alfalfa?

  9. On a completely different and much less philosophical note: Towards the end of the book Laura, Mary and Ma go out collecting nuts. She mentions walnuts, hazelnuts and hickory nuts. I wonder why hickory nuts are so uncommon now? I know that they are available online, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen them or even tasted one.

    Hickory nuts are in the walnut family, so are the more popular and "better tasting" pecans. I've known several people with walnut acreage and very few make any money at it. Where we used to live they'd let us pick the nuts any time we wanted because they made zero money on them. It's like many crops, you need to have a huge investment to make it.

    Hickory lumber is valuable like walnut but I suspect hickory nuts can't be harvested profitably in the US.

  10. I wonder about that whenever I read anything where the characters live in such close quarters. I guess people just got over any privacy scruples that they had. This boggles me - seeing as how just having the cat in the room can make me feel embarrassed! :laugh:

    It sure put a damper on the trapeze, jungle gym and swinging cages. Honestly, we live in a 115yo German home where we know a few of the kids who grew up here before indoor plumbing. He lived in our current guest bedroom. If he put a glass of water on the window sill it would be ice by morning. His wife remembers the warmest time of the winter being the morning cow milking. She could cuddle up to the cow and warm herself.

    The local Norwegians had much smaller houses that were easier to heat. During the spring summer and fall some of the kids slept in the barn or outside.

  11. We go by Burr Oak all the time but we are either in a rush or they are closed for the season. As I understand, it is the only standing structure that she lived in as a child. It was a hotel. We are going to make it a point to visit when they re-open in the spring.

    The boss says the cider vinegar will be easier using some of our cider wine as starter. She is in charge of the brewing yeasts. I have my own stash of wild bread starters.

  12. Hi,

    I seemed to overlook this topic. Glad to find it. That Laura girl sure got around! We have at least four of her places within a hundred miles of our farm.

    Interesting idea on the cider vinegar. We’ve got the last of the seasons apples to process and already have too many pies in the freezer. I may do a five gallon batch in a carboy.

    Shelby, we are in a corn/soy area and grow a fair amount of edamame. We’ve settled on: Beer Friend, Sayamusame and

    Misono. If you want some help let me know.

  13. There were several 8-11 yo girls. I put OJ, apple juice, pineapple juice, 7 up and a squirt of maple syrup in a blender. Poured it over ice with a splash of grenadine. They really didn't like them until they had a name.

    Sweet, colorful and sappy. "Hurricane Taylor" (one dad had told me he contributes about $50 a month to Taylor Swift's college fund)

  14. We have a neighborhood holiday party tonight. It was supposed to be a typical pot luck. Now we have half the town (itty bitty town) and ice and snow on it’s way.

    The host has decided on Mai Tais because it’s an official night of adults behaving badly. The younger 4H kids will be putting together the fruit skewers. The older ones are putting chains on the big climate controlled tractors to shuttle folks home.

    What special drink can we make for the kids? Keep in mind we need to make it with stuff on hand because the road to town is a solid sheet of ice. (we can get around the farms just fine since gravel roads have better traction in the winter.)

    Thanks for your input.

  15. There are several good places within walking distance. The majority are on Pico a few blocks east. There is Factor's Deli, a Chinese place, Sushi, casual places and a Kosher pizza place. There is a large grocery a couple blocks west on Pico, Ralph's. There are a couple of bakeries. It's a nice neighborhood. You won't go hungry and your kid could never out misbehave the locals ;-)

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