Celebrating Latino Culture and Food

Yesterday, the Fullerton (Ca.) Public Library (FPL) hosted a celebration of Latino food as part of Gustavo Arellano’s “Awesome Lecture Series!” Arellano, a lecturer with Cal State Fullerton’s (CSUF) Chicana and Chicano Studies Department, gave a brief presentation on the history of Latino food in Orange County. In addition, Arellano invited some of his students to present oral histories they had collected from local Latino restaurant owners. Participants were also invited to enjoy meals from four gourmet food trucks specializing in Spanish, Mexican, Argentine, and Latin/Asian fusion dishes and to buy Mexican Popsicles from a paletero. The event was not only a fun way to bring people to FPL, it also served as a fundraiser, with a portion of food truck sales going to the library.

Other events in the “Awesome Lecture Series!” included:

  • A partial reading of The “Mexican” OC, which was created in 2006 by Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble to portray Mexicans from key moments of Orange County history. The play was followed by a discussion by Melissa Hidalgo, CSUF lecturer of Chicano and Chicano studies, with some of the play’s cast members.

  • An interview of Jaime Hernandez, co-creator of the Love and Rockets graphic comic series, by Arellano, followed by the author signing his new book, The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death.

  • CSUF alumnus and artist Emigdio Vasquez spoke about his career as a Chicano muralist in Orange County.

  • William Nericcio, professor of English at San Diego State University and author of Tex(t)-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America and the blog by the same name, gave a presentation on deconstructing Mexican stereotypes.

The series will close next month with a screening of Born in East LA. In addition to serving as a great example of how library programs can benefit from partnerships, the series also might spark programming ideas for National Hispanic Heritage Month in September.