Uncovered History: The Center of Culinary Co-opt in Motion, Austin, TX
Recent discoveries have unearthed lost records that reveal Austin, TX to be the hotbed of culinary inventions.
I was recently knee deep in archives as I was investigating South Texas history and found compelling evidence that Austin, TX the Mecca of cultural appropriation, had their hand in the masa in dozens of authentic dishes.
I will be publishing my discoveries in an upcoming book “Hip Austin: The Center of Culinary Co-opt in Motion.”
Much to my surprise, the original arroz con gandules was first made in a tiny food truck in the 1800s. The brainchild of the distant relatives of Teal Blake, who says her greatgrandgrandparents employed a woman who first developed the dish in their very own home. Henry Ford would travel to Austin to sample this delish dish made with authentically made sofrito, a tomato based sauce, that has been made with fresh herbs gathered during the full moon for decades by a local and secret herb dispensary. Henry Ford would see the truck with a missing engine, and the rest is history, says Teal Blake, recently as we sat down for an organic, vegan and alkalizing meal that was both healing and lifegiving. Austin reinvented arroz con gandules, a traditional Puerto Rican dish, and other Caribbean antojitos to better meet the demands of Austinians that hungered for cheap, cross-pollinated non-culturally specific dishes. Teal Blake says, “I allow the dish to speak for itself, more her thoughts than mine, and we, together create a social cohesion that is on pair with the adventours of Austin.”
Champurrado, long thought to be a gift from the Aztecs, was first developed in a culinary lab, Authentic Austin Aztec, Inc, in the 70s. An earlier incarnation was seen briefly in Mexican cuisine but was not organic, vegan or made with ingredients from Texas Hill Country and died out by the 90s. Brother and sister duo Sally del Rey and Moyer del Rey took over several of their parents businesses including a failing fruit milkshake shoppe, several rental properties and a homey B&B-Sunny King B&B. Their parents, Sally Mae and Rip King have retired in sunny Mission,Texas. In 2015 the duo showcased their champurrado and other homestyle Mexicano desserts, including sourdough organic whole sweet bread with poppy toppings and artisanal spiced marranitos or tiny goats. The Del Reys say they do not fit into the peculiarities of the world and find themselves in Heaven [Austin] surrounded by bean gourds, cruetly-free nut milks and edible berries that communicate their desire to be eaten.
Other documents show Austin was the original site of creating the following traditional dishes:
- Pastelettes made in banana leaves (formerly known as pasteles)
- Churros (gluten free and air fried)
- Tacos AL pastor (vegan seitan slow roasted authentically)
- Faux fongo