(May 15, 2014) -- The UTSA Libraries has launched a dynamic virtual exhibit to honor Gebhardt Mexican Foods Co., a San Antonio business that revolutionized chili powder and Mexican convenience foods across the country for almost a century.
>> View the online exhibit at the UTSA Libraries website.
The zesty virtual exhibit represents an historical journey that follows the popularization of chili powder and Mexican cookery, taking the viewer through the twists and turns that resulted from one man's vision to offer America something it had never tasted before. The exhibit highlights this progression in a digitally designed format that provides multimedia through text, photographs and original advertisements that serve as the backdrop for the uniquely engaging experience.
The San Antonio firm started in 1896 with Willie Gebhardt's passion for cooking and his infatuation with Mexican food. Shortly after opening a restaurant in New Braunfels, Gebhardt relocated his business to the Alamo City and began pursuing his dream of offering novel tastes beyond the Lone Star State.
Gebhardt achieved his dream by importing ancho peppers from Mexico to produce a fine and tasteful chili powder that added "That Real Mexican Tang" to any dish. His company published Mexican cookbooks and went on to promote other products such as canned chili, canned beans, deviled sandwich spread and Mexican dinners-in-a-box. Through impressive marketing in radio commercials, and newspaper and magazine advertisements, the company was able to achieve critical acclaim, and the Gebhardt name became synonymous with Mexican cookery across America.
In 1989, the UTSA Libraries Special Collections acquired the Gebhardt Mexican Foods Co. records to preserve and share this extraordinary chapter from San Antonio's culinary history. The exhibit was created with the goal of making it more accessible to the general public by establishing a new experience that could be appreciated by a broad audience.
While Gebhardt's famous chili powder can still be found on the shelves of some grocery stores in Texas and reportedly in Southern California, the company itself no longer exists. The UTSA Libraries collection may some day be the public's only connection to the once beloved family-owned company.
"Anyone interested in the history of the popularization of Mexican food in the United States will enjoy experiencing this unique collection from the comfort of their own computer," said Anne Peters, communications director for the UTSA Libraries.
The UTSA Libraries Special Collections preserves the legacies of San Antonio and South Texas through a rich array of primary resources. Strengths of the collections -- which are open to academic and casual researchers alike -- include San Antonio history, urban development and architecture, regional authors, Mexican cookery, women and women's history, and the Texas-Mexico border region.
For more information, visit the UTSA Libraries website.
Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.
Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.
Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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