Rocky Road (1925); Tacos, Enchiladas and Refried Beans

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Sun Nov 4 12:04:10 UTC 2001

ROCKY ROAD (continued)

   Again, Mariani has 1938.  I've found several Western citations.

compiled by Mrs. Sigismund Aronson, Mrs. Samuel Brown and Committee
Settle, Washington
First Edition, 1908
Revised Edition, 1916
Revised Edition, 1925

Pg. 372:
      _ROCKY ROAD_
   One package Baker's dot chocolate, 1/2 pound marshmallows, 1/4 cup walnuts or burnt almonds.  Melt 1/2 of chocolate in double boiler, spread in buttered pan about 8 inches in diameter then put marshmallows close together on melted chocolate.  Put walnuts between marshmallows; melt rest of chocolate, spread on top; when cold cut in squares.

by Andrew F. Smith

   Smith delivered this lecture in 1999, and his paper was put on the web in 2000.  There's no question, this OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN FOOD & DRINK guy is good.  Bonnie Slotnick (the used cookbook lady) told me that Smith has a library of over 8,000 cookbooks!
   I was wrong on "taco."  It's in Bertha Haffner-Ginger's CALIFORNIA MEXICAN-SPANISH COOK BOOK (1914).
   I'll have to double-check this.  As I reported on ADS-L last year, this book is missing from the NYPL ("MISSING" is on the catnyp entry).  I read it briefly and copied it about a year ago in the LOC, but can't find my papers in this apartment.  I quickly glanced again at the book's index while I was at Texas Woman's University, but definitely did not see "taco."  I assume it's there in the text.  The "Classification of Recipes" that I recently re-copied includes Tortillas; Enchiladas; Chili Pulps and Sauces; Pickles and Relishes; Chili Con Carne; Tamales; Eggs, Omelets, Etc.; Carne Espanol (Spanish Meats), Frijoles (Spanish Beans); et al.  Smith places "taco" in with "Tortillas."
   That said, Smith makes errors.  In the food etymology field, it's always wise to assume that everything's wrong or incomplete.  You _must_ do original research with source documents.  A thousand TAD "hot dog" stories doesn't make it true.  Recent books on just one topic such as "fudge" or "Bloody Mary" cannot be trusted to be authoritative.  Rely on someone else (as Smith does on "nacho") at your peril.
   Smith lectured before food scholars on Mexican-American cuisine, but apparently never went to Texas!  The El Paso cookbooks from 1898, 1909, and 1926 are never cited.  Not even the Junior League cookbooks are mentioned.
   Smith also missed the 1916 New Mexico cookbook that I posted here.  He claims that a later cookbook was the first to be published in New Mexico.
   "Guacamole" was in a cookbook before 1930.  Other foods, such as "fajita," are not mentioned in the paper.
   The Gebhardt "Mexican Cooking" booklet clearly copyrighted "1911" is given by Smith as "pre-1910."
   Smith mentions the Taco Bell story and the Gebhardt story.  He neglects Ashley's (a popular Tex-Mex food company in the 1930s-1960s, based in El Paso).  Ashley's was the subject of a research paper that's exclusively at UTEP.
   San Antonio's Old Mexico restaurant claims to be the oldest Mexican restaurant in America.  An early menu is in the clipping file of the San Antonio Public Library.  Smith mentions old Mexican restaurants (California and New Mexico), but not the oldest and most famous one...
   I will not work for free.

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