Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Graduate student Carla Burgos preserving renowned UTSA Mexican Cookbook Collection

Graduate student Carla Burgos preserving renowned UTSA Mexican Cookbook Collection

A wood print of a family making tortillas is an image from 30 recetas de platillos populares mexicanos con harina de maiz, one of the many historical Mexican cookbooks in the collection.

JUNE 10, 2022 — This month, UTSA Libraries will host its annual ¡Ven a Comer! fundraising dinner—the invitation-only event that supports the department’s Special Collections Mexican Cookbook Collection.

This prized collection, the largest in the nation, currently boasts over 2,000 titles in English and Spanish documenting the history of Mexican cuisine from 1789 to the present. Key to the success of this body of work is Carla Burgos, the graduate student dedicated to preserving and expanding a collection that has brought national recognition to the university.

Since 2018, the Special Collections employee has been transcribing the Spanish cookbooks, many of them handwritten, into readable text—expanding access of these resources to modern-day chefs and historians or anyone wanting to know more about Mexican cuisine. The books also provide an intimate look at domestic life during the 18th and 19th centuries.


“The Mexican Cookbook Collection has become an important resource in telling the story of Mexican cuisine and way of life.”



“Carla’s work augments the countless hours Special Collections has contributed to digitizing our manuscript cookbooks,” said Amy Rushing, assistant vice provost for Special Collections. “By transcribing the digitized copies, she is enabling online visitors around the world to search and find historic Mexican recipes.”

Before she begins to transcribe, Burgos reads and re-reads several pages of a cookbook to understand the syntax and grammar of that era. Once a transcription is complete, she goes back to ensure that the grammar and syntax is consistent.

“When I transcribe, I get into the author’s life. I can see how their lives revolved around cooking, handling ingredients, and creating the perfect dish,” said Burgos, a graduate student in the art history program of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts. “It is very time-consuming, but I like it.”

Rushing added, “Carla’s work reflects our commitment to sharing our collections with a wider audience and it complements the goals of the ¡Ven a Comer! event, which is to celebrate Mexican cuisine and our cultural ties with Mexico.”

Featuring renowned chefs from San Antonio and Mexico, ¡Ven a Comer! will include a multi-course dinner featuring modern interpretations of the food and spirits from some of the cookbooks Burgos has translated.

“Thanks to events like this and the support of so many, the Mexican Cookbook Collection has become an important resource in telling the story of Mexican cuisine and way of life,” said Felipe Barrera, UTSA Libraries director of development.


EXPLORE FURTHER
Visit the Ven a Comer website for more information about the event, and how you can donate to the Mexican Cookbook Collection.
Visit the UTSA Mexican Cookbook Collection.
Learn more about Carla Burgos and her work with the Special Collections department.

¡Ven a Comer! is a partnership by UTSA Libraries, the Historic PearlHotel Emma, and the Mexican Cultural Institute, with additional support from the Consulate of Mexico in San Antonio and the Mexican Cultural Institute.

UTSA is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental futures, and social-economic transformation. UTSA aspires to become a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence.

Germaine Williams



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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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