Tucson Meet Yourself Is Growing

Southwest Folklife Alliance

The Board of Directors of Tucson Meet Yourself — the beloved 41 year old festival which shares the City’s namesake — has created a new not-for-profit legal entity to serve as the festival’s parent and producing company. The new organization has been named The Southwest Folklife Alliance to reflect the intention of serving a geographic area beyond Tucson. The organization will form partnerships with other cities and towns as well as cultural institutions throughout Arizona and the neighboring states of New Mexico, Texas and California. Read more here.

Global Foodways Fellowship Awarded

Meet this year’s TMY Global Foodways Fellowship Recipients Lila Sideras and Evaristo Ramierez Rarjas.

This year, TMY offered the first ever “Global Foodways Fellowship” Award. The Fellowship was available for a new food vendor who has never sold food at the festival before. Heritage-based or ethnic single cooks or families, new cultural associations, small or alternative food entrepreneurs were all eligible to apply. Established local food businesses and restaurants are excluded from applying.

Lila and Evaristo are a husband and wife team, residents of Tucson, married for 13 years with two young children. They both come from families of cooks who are fascinated by and value amazing food. Their point of concentration in cooking has focused on the rich culinary traditions of Evaristo’s homeland of Guadalajara, Jalisco, where he lived until the age of 24. Over the span of more than 20 trips to Guadalajara, they have done research, conducted oral history interviews, and participated in market shopping and cooking with family members. In their Tucson home, they keep hens and grow a garden as a way to be part of a larger Tucson community of environmental stewards.

Check them out this year at TMY October 10- 12, 2014. The food menu they propose to bring is tied to the regional specialties of Guadalajara and will include: birria (using a family secret recipe, spicy meat stew); carne en su jugo (a tomatillo based dish with beef, bacon and frijoles de la olla); birote (the Tapatio baguette served sweet or salted); chamorro adobado (“al vapor” leg meat in adobado sauce); and the sweet concoction jericalla (individual baked and chilled egg based desert custard. Vegetarian options will include hongos enmolados (mushrooms in homemade mole sauce served on tostadas with onion cured in lime) or chiles rellenos Guadalajara style (stuffed and egg battered chiles in homemade tomato broth).

“Since there is so much cross over in fruits and vegetables which thrive in the Sonoran desert and Jalisco, our food is very relevant to Tucson. We also aim to dispel the myth that Mexican food is only tacos and burritos,” they stated in their application. “While Tucson is definitely known to have a Mexican flavor, character and history, we feel that much more richness could be added to diversify and enhance current general knowledge in such areas as language, arts, and cultural and geographical regions. We feel that the more people learn about each other, the richer and hopefully, more respectful the collective culture will become.”

Eager to share their love of food and healthy eating with other Tucsonans, they say that their main passion is “to communicate the complexity and integrity of the Guadalajaran culinary tradition.” “For us,” they state, “this food is based upon deep roots; whole foods and mainly oral/familial/experiential modes of dissemination. To eat, to cook, to have a party/event, to be together, to honor the family/the guest/the client, this is all the same for us — it is joy!

Call for Participation-NEW PROGRAM!

End-of-Life Cultural Practices Field WorkAre you interested in researching cultural practices about death and grieving in Tucson?

Tucson Meet Yourself is building an inventory or idea bank about the many different ways in which people express grief and cope with death, based on cultural backgrounds. The materials collected and resulting documents will be used to support families, health care workers, institutions and community groups involved in grieving and end-of-life issues.

Get Involved as a Cultural Field Worker:
Apply here for the opportunity to receive training to conduct ethnographic research on your own personal ethnic or cultural experiences with death and dying, and to learn about how to ethically document other ethnic or cultural experiences.

Supported by a grant from the Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona