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UTSA Students Continue to Explore the Mexican Cookbook Collection
Mar 02, 2012
By Stephanie Sanchez, Communications Specialist
Stuffed chili casserole, chilaquiles and corn soup are just a few recipes — all from the UTSA Libraries’ popular Mexican cookbook collection — brought to life by more than 30 students.
The cooking experiment was an assignment from their nutrition class.
Kirsten Corda, UTSA’s Dietitians Today and Tomorrow Program Manager and a Nutrition Instructor, asked her students last semester to look through the cookbook collection, select a recipe and prepare it. They then were asked to research some aspect of the dish, such as the history of an ingredient or the recipe’s background, and write about their experience.
“This assignment reinforced with students the need to communicate in the language their future patients/clients can understand, i.e. food, especially if they continue to work in south Texas,” Corda said. “This assignment (also) introduced students to one unique resource (in Special Collections) and research guides in general that are readily available through our Libraries.”
Corda said students were given a choice to cook a recipe or review a library book related to nutrition. The majority chose to cook.
Some student write-ups have been featured in La Cocina Historica, a blog chronicling the experiences of cooking recipes from the cookbook collection. Other testimonials from students will be shared in upcoming Friday posts.
“We received a lot of great test-kitchen recipes for the blog and students learned how to use a new category of the libraries’ resources,” Rare Book Librarian Juli McLoone said. “I think students enjoyed finding and preparing the recipes.”
Integrating Special Collections research into curriculum helps students become acquainted with library materials — many not available anywhere else. The cookbook collection is one of the largest and most extensive Mexican cookery collections in the U.S. It has more than 1,000 cookbooks that date back to 1789.
Dexter Zita, a pre-nursing sophomore who participated in the project, said he had never been to the Special Collections area of the John Peace Library. He said he was gladly surprised his university has bits of history that benefit students.
“I actually really enjoyed the project. It was a good teaching tool,” said Zita, who along with a classmate prepared a chilaquiles dish. He said they chose the dish because it “was really easy. We basically made it because we’re college students and we thought college students could relate.”
The Culinary Tour of Mexico Demo Kitchen, a cooking demonstration of recipes pulled from the Mexican cookbook collection, will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 7 at the Rec Center’s Demo Kitchen. This free event is open to students, faculty and staff, and Recreation Center membership is not required.