Fabiola Cabeza de Baca
Educator, nutritionist, activist, and writer of one of New Mexico’s first cookbooks, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca’s lifelong passion was to share the value of New Mexican foods.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation ...and Viewers Like You
>>THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
EDUCATOR, NUTRITIONIST, ACTIVIST, AND WRITER OF
ONE OF NEW MEXICO'S FIRST COOKBOOKS, FABIOLA CABEZA
DE BACA'S LIFELONG PASSION WAS TO SHARE THE VALUE OF
NEW MEXICAN FOODS.
>>I really think it was about bringing knowledge
across the communities, about how to make life a
little bit easier.
>>HAVING MOVED FROM LAOS, HMONG-AMERICAN WRITER KA
VANG DISCUSSES THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING HER
>>PAKISTANI-AMERICAN AYAD AKHTAR'S PULITZER
PRIZE-WINNING SCRIPT DISGRACED EXPLORES PREJUDICE.
>>IN BRIGHTON, MICHIGAN, YOUNG WOMEN COMBINE
CREATIVITY WITH ATHLETICISM AND THEATRICS
IN A COMPETITION ON ICE.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
>>FABIOLA CABEZA DE BACA WAS A CHAMPION OF NEW
MEXICO TRADITION AND CULTURE.
>>Lopez: Fabiola Cabeza de Baca was an articulate
writer, prolific teacher from Llano Estecado.
What made her so brave and so intelligent?
>>Perea: Well I think in terms of brave, one of the
first things that comes to mind is, just
biographically, her mom died when she was very little.
So, she was raised on the ranch with her Dad and a
lot of the Vaqueros.
And so if you think about the Llano Estecado, it's
this really stark landscape.
She describes it in one of her books as loneliness
It looks flat.
It doesn't look anything like, you know, these
green lush valleys.
Some days it hasn't rained for so long, the sky
almost bleaches white.
So it looks like a landscape that would have
to make you brave, right?
Because to see that kind of openness, it can be
overwhelming and to try to find water and make a
living from place that's so dry, that's so hard to
access, you know, resources from...
I think you have no choice, but to become resourceful.
And I really think, you know, she looked around at
her community and thought not just, "How are we surviving?
And how are we flourishing?"
But, "How can we take these skills out into
other parts of rural New Mexico?"
and that's really what she did.
One of the things that's really fascinating about
her is, she became an extension agent.
So, her work like her schoolwork was in home economics.
She talks about it as kind of like, this science, right?
And you read her work and it's all about these
chemicals that you put together, you know, to
make the kind of the best nutritional kind of value,
And what do you call it, minerals and stuff like
that, that we would never think about.
And so, I think, like, when she became an
extension agent, she was really, really determined
to bring that knowledge out to the rural
communities of New Mexico.
So she went to the, you know, smaller Hispano villages.
But, she went to the Pueblos.
And, she does talk really interestingly about how
she became part of these communities.
Like, she even talks about San Il Defonso, which we
tend to think about, you know, Pueblo communities,
as maybe being a little more isolated.
But she talks about becoming part of these
communities and these were like...
and became like comadres, but almost like relatives.
And I think that's really important, and why she was
probably so tenacious, if she was going to go visit
her family, right?
>>Lopez: And she's the author of the first
bilingual cookbook in New Mexico?
>> Perea: Right, yes. She is.
That came out in the early 30s and it's full of just
recipes, you know.
And it's interesting, because I tend to think that we
tend to think of cookbooks as just being cookbooks.
But in her work, it's really about also
expressing New Mexican culture and really
thinking about how women are the caretakers of that
culture, right, through the food we make, through
sitting around in the kitchen, you know, doing
the work we do.
And it seems like she definitely secured those
cultural practices in her writing <yes> but also
brought in an element of modernity?
>> Perea: I really think it was about bringing
knowledge across the communities, you know.
About how to make life a little bit easier.
How to incorporate these new kinds of technologies
into their kitchens.
One of the things she focuses on a lot is
pressure cookers and how pressure cookers can cook
food in far less time, than, you know, your wood
stove or anything like that.
So it's just like, she is spreading the gospel
(laughter) which I think sound, like kind of, you know, maybe
trite, or insignificant, but it's significant.
Like, it changes the way women cook in the state.
Prior to her work, people were drying food and then
she comes in and it's about canning food, right?
And I think that's also a really important way of
getting, you know, how to keep the stuff that we've
grown all season fresh and accessible throughout the
winter, because we know our winters in the Llano
Estecado are kind of frightening, right?
My grandmother was still using a pressure cooker in
the 1980s and I think it's a legacy of this.
That's really what I thought when I was looking
at the archives is it's a legacy of probably Fabiola
Cabeza de Baca going through, saying, this is a
way to save time and give more time to your family.
>>Lopez: And in what ways did she...
was she informed through her cookbook about the
ways of the land, the language, the women?
>> Perea: So she had that cookbook first and then
she kind of updated it in the good life.
And what she does in that cookbook is combine
recipes and food with the seasons, with the
landscape, with how families work.
One of the big seasons obviously is spring, is
So, up in Las Vegas where she's from and in other
parts of New Mexico you can kind of count on the
last freeze happening before May.
So, on May 15th, which is San Ysidro's feast day,
that's when people plant, like officially.
And that's when the ceremonies happen and the
singing in the field and all of this really
So, throughout her cookbooks, she really
talks about, "At this time of year, this is what's
growing." Or, "At this time of year, this is what
we harvested, and how we preserved it.
And this is when you eat it." And then, you know,
she combines that with, you know, cultural practices.
>>Lopez: Have you tried any of her recipes?
>> Perea: Yes, I've tried the calabacitas because
that's easy, right?
Posole, also because it's easy.
There's the ones that are a little bit more
intimidating, like she talks about things like
making cheese every day.
I'm never going to try that (laughter).
<Yeah> There's stuff that, you know, we know now,
we're supposed to be eating, right?
The three sisters: corn, beans and squash.
And she makes sure that that's part of something
that's included in her cookbook.
So, it actually is, you know, pretty practical.
Like anybody could pick up "The Good Life" and try
>>Lopez: Do you think she wanted to bring New Mexico
into the future?
>> Perea: I think it's a combination.
She wanted to bring technology, and I think
make things easier for these women that she saw
in these communities across the state.
But I also think she wanted to preserve the
culture of it, which is why she talks so much
about how these particular foods interact with these
particular times of the year.
Because there's something we're planting that time
of the year.
There's, you know, in winter, it's storytelling time.
So, she talks about like, you know, gathering around
the wood stove and like eating these foods but
also, you know, engaging in activities like weaving
and colcha, or embroidery, and those are things that
are very traditional to our state.
So, it's cultural practice, with
environmental practicality, with technology.
>>Lopez: Why is her work important to us today?
>> Perea: In terms of just cultural preservation,
that's probably the most basic one, right, is...
it's teaching us what we were like and what we were
doing, you know, almost a hundred years ago now, really.
But the other reason its important is because
you've seen, I know we all have seen the kind of
movement towards sustainability in our
state and across, you know, the United States.
Because, we really do need to take into account, kind
of, the scarcity of our resources.
And she's really doing that in the 1930s, because
she's had to from where she grew up, right?
Those resources were always scarce.
It's important also to understand sustainability,
to understand food ways, you know, fundamentally.
It's good for us to follow the seasons, right, and to put
that food in our body at that particular time of the year.
>> Perea: And to think...
as much as 80 years ago, 90 years ago...
we were already crossing borders, right?
She was leaving New Mexico to go to Mexico.
She has these sections in her archive of going to
Spain and it's like, you know, there's this
reputation of New Mexico as being isolationist.
But we were actually always kind of
transnational and I think she reminds us of that.
>>Lopez: She was a wandering spirit but with
>> Perea: Laughter. Yes!
With a very particular mission.
>>HMONG-AMERICAN KA VANG WROTE SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY.
>>I am the extraordinary Hmong rice paddy eyes
mouth full open filled with opium poppy seed.
Hair long black like the Mekong.
The ghosts of my ancestors swimming on my back.
Waves breaking my spine sinking like silver.
Clapping with the poetry of [?
] to the murky depths of my buttocks sunburnt
yellow buttocks crisp by the McDonald eating sun as
a slave beneath him.
I'm not sushi.
I'm not takeout and I do not have an ancient secret.
Pillsbury dough people do not ask me what the Dalai
Cause the monks were Shaolin Temple are revolting.
I don't know Jet Li only jet lag.
My spirit crossed the ocean to be delivered to
Toys R Us.
But Hmong are not welcome in country clubs and
Janitors, short order cooks, factory workers
please apply a wax yourself on wax yourself off.
I already sound off.
Don't Daniel's son me I'm nobody's son.
A nomad sowing my seed writing my [?
] straight into your fortune cookie carrying
more wisdom in my pocket than Plato's philosopher king.
Driving down University Avenue.
My future coming through the rear view.
Xi riding steady on his steed snapping drums
clinking gong and ancestor fills my ears with sounds of pride.
It says I am the extraordinary Hmong.
>>I knew that there was this desire inside of me
to write a Hmong anthem.
At least my Hmong anthem and I couldn't get the
words out. And then one night
I was watching Late Night at the Apollo.
And a young woman that performed Phenomenal Woman
by Maya Angelou.
And I thought there you go if Maya Angelou can say
I'm a phenomenal woman than I can say I'm an
So I wrote Extraordinary Hmong in like 30 minutes
and I did some minor editing but really you
know when I say the ghosts of my ancestors swimming
on my back I really do feel in that moment I was
writing that the ghosts of my ancestors were on my
back helping me tell the story of our extraordinary existence.
I get really inspired when I come to the Hmong
market because it's a place for Hmong people to
hold onto their culture and those things that are
important like the food the clothes that are being
It's also a place for the larger Minnesota community
whether you're wrong or not to come and find out
about the Hmong people.
It was believed that once upon a time the Hmong
actually had a written tradition but because of
persecution from the Chinese that they were no
longer allowed to actually write in their language.
So what they did was they took the traditional
characters and put in the clothes.
So this character is the eyes of a tiger.
So this is the character for Tiger.
And you see another representation of the
tiger eye right here too.
I remember when I was a child my parents dressing
me up in a little dress like this and taking me to
the Hmong New Year and downtown St. Paul at the
It's so important as we become more Americanized
to still hold onto our clothes to still hold onto
our stories, our folktales and our history.
And that's not saying that we don't want to be less American.
But it's just a piece of who we are that we should
find valuable that we should hold onto.
This is a traditional skirt has been made into a bag.
Now you know the hipster in me says that is way cool.
But the traditionalist and me says this is meant to
be a skirt.
Why is it a bag so things are forever changing in
the Hmong community.
And I see that change.
You come here to the Hmong Village and it's all good
it's all good change because yeah why can't we
imagine something for instance why can't this
skirt become a bag.
And why can't our traditional folk tales.
Become reimagined to include you know the
landscape of Minnesota the landscape of America and
different...some of those different ideas into our
folktales and that's what I'm trying to do with my
writing is to create stories that have the
familiar things and different landscapes.
Being a storyteller I think is in my blood
because I got that from my mom.
She inspired me to tell stories and you know I
work in different mediums.
I work in poetry.
I work in essay writing and also playwriting and.
No matter what form or what genre I'm using I
feel that I'm always really just telling a story.
And I think right now it is so important for us
Hmong to remember our stories because how we see
ourselves as being Hmong has changed.
So it's really important for...
I think for myself...to capture that.
To capture what was what is now and what will be in
the future of being Hmong.
>>PAKISTANI-AMERICAN AYAD AKHTAR'S DISGRACED
EXPLORES OVERCOMING PREJUDICE.
>>By all accounts it's a posh life.
The well-appointed New York apartment, successful
career and a loving wife.
But for Amir, the main character in the play
Disgraced, there is annoying impediment to his
success: his Muslim heritage.
I told my mom "No!
She's not Jewish." But she knew the name was Jewish.
"If I ever hear that name in this house again,
Amir", she says, "I'll break your bones.
You'll end up with the Jew over my dead body!"
Then she spat in my face.
It's a Pakistani-American man's journey post 9/11 in
this country and what it means to aspire for
success in that climate.
For somebody who identifies as Muslim or
South Asian to the outside world written by a
Pakistani-American playwright Ayad Akhtar,
Disgraced won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013.
Actor Rajesh Bose, who plays Amir in a new
Huntington Theatre Company production, says he
empathizes with the burdens his character bears.
I get it in my bones why he feels the way he does.
There's a sort of a lifetime of suppression.
I certainly understand why somebody feels the need to
be very careful about how he expresses who he is or not.
Despite all the comforts of success as a
high-powered attorney Amir begins to unravel under
the weight of his Muslim roots reluctantly
providing private counsel to a radical imam, Amir is
suddenly accused of being a radical extremist himself.
"What's it like for you?
With security at airports.
What you hear stories." "Wouldn't know.
I cut right to the chase." "He volunteers himself.
Goes right up to the agents and offers himself
up." Nicole Lorance plays Amir's artist wife Emily.
If you have some kind of awareness of who you are
or where you came from, then it is hard to escape.
You can push it away can compartmentalize you can
tuck it away as long as you can but it ultimately
will come home to roost.
How explosive would you say this place is.
Oh it's on fire.
It's on fire.
The drama premiered in 2012.
Since then its themes have grown even more resonant
as recurring terrorist attacks and campaign
speeches have placed Muslims under scrutiny.
It's in the throat.
It just catches.
It's a real shift in society where,
unfortunately, everybody has to kind of have a
feeling about Islam and, unfortunately, it's a it's
a like or dislike it's a hate or, you know, love.
It's these like polar opposites.
"I don't blame the French." "The French?"
"For their problem with Islam." "You're okay with
them banning the veil?"
"You do have to draw a line somewhere." OK,
Mrs. Kissinger." Much of the Disgraced drama
unfolds between two New York couples at a dinner party.
There their own prejudices inadvertently leak and
then gush out.
It's cause for introspection among the cast, too.
You know, I'm from Texas and, you know, I have
heritage like crazy people and Texas you know or no
matter how many years I've been away and like up on
the northeast coast I still have these kind of
way knee-jerk reactions that are kind of like
go-get-'em kind of stuff.
And that's just essentially who I am it's
a it's it's at my core but I can finesse it, you know?
And so is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I don't know.
For Bose who's now played Amir in three different cities.
It's a role that's at once thrilling and debilitating.
I still don't sleep that well doing it because it's
extraordinarily humbling I think.
Do you ever finish role like this and say I got to
do Noises Off...
I need a break.
Yeah maybe maybe like a comedy or a farce, a Noel
Until then there's Disgraced...
a story not ripped from the headlines but
>>WHAT IT TAKES TO SHOWCASE ARTISTRY ON ICE SKATES.
>>AMANDA GOETZ: It's pure excitement from skating.
>>PAIGE BARTHOLOMEW: When I'm on the ice, I forget
about everything else going on and I can just be
me and have fun and skate and show everybody what
I'm made of.
>>EMMA VERMILLION: It makes me feel good because
I wouldn't be the person that I am today without it.
>>AMANDA: Showcase is more for the artistic skater,
the skater that likes to perform and become a character.
>>PAIGE: I think I decided to go into Showcase
because it's more of a fun outlet and just more
entertaining to watch and to perform and making
people laugh and making people feel the sadness
that you're trying to portray in some of them
and the happiness and all of those different emotions.
>>FIONA ROSE: When I was little I just loved acting
and I also found my love of figure skating so when
I heard about Showcase, I was really excited to try it out.
>>EMMA: You get to show your face more and just
like other than smiling you can sing your words
but if there is no words you can show your emotions
along with that too.
>>AMANDA: We have two different events in solo
skating in Showcase and that would be light
entertainment and dramatic whereas light
entertainment's more fun and lighthearted and can
be silly or funny and whereas dramatic is more
emotional and, you know, you can leave the audience
in tears if you do your job.
Today we are doing our run throughs of some of the
selected programs where the kids that are skating
tonight are going to have a chance to qualify for Nationals.
We have a very good choreographer here.
I don't know how she comes up with things but she's
pretty amazing at it.
And I think the skaters really can relate to what
she comes up with and they just it fits with the
music and the character.
>>FIONA: My friend, my duet partner, we're just crazy.
So our coach decided that we could be monkeys and
our routine is Tarzan.
We get to be weird and funny.
Makeup kind of brings out that you're a monkey and
then they know what you're doing, so you just kind of
be weird and express yourself through that.
>>PAIGE: I'm doing my duet.
We're nerds and we're trying to impress a lady
that we see in the stands and we're trying to get
her attention and make her our squeaky queen.
When I look over and see the person that I'm
skating with have so much fun, it makes me want to
have fun and smiles are infectious.
So when you see someone else smiling and singing
the words, you start to smile and sing the words
more and it just encourages you to be better.
>>AMANDA: I think sometimes when people hear
theatrical skating, they kind of assume that the
skaters don't skate or can't do the jumps or
can't do the spins, which is not true.
The skaters are doing all of that while smiling and
while performing and while bringing the audience into
I feel like if they just came and watched it once
or twice then they would be hooked too.
They do double jumps.
They do axles and spins.
I mean they're just as good of skaters as anybody
else, it's just they're performing for the crowd
and you're going to see a lot of different double
sows, double loops, double flips, jumps that are
consistent and will go with the program.
>>PAIGE: I like to jump and spinning is always fun
and there are some fun footwork things that are
different in every single program that you can
really make your own in those moments.
So I think footwork and those fancy turns kind of
thing that you can just make your own in that
moment are my favorite to do.
>>EMMA: I'm doing a jump called the double sow and
I'm doing a spin called an illusion.
>>PAIGE: People think it looks super easy but then
you go out and people can't skate backwards and
they realize how hard it is.
Me and all the other girls included put in so many
hours every day and fall down so many times and you
just have to keep getting back up and trying again
and just keep practicing all those different things.
>>AMANDA: A great Showcase skater is someone that has
really good skating skills.
If they make a mistake, can pull it off anyways
and just make it like it was part of the program,
laugh at themselves when they do make a mistake.
Entertain, that's huge in Showcase skating.
We have five of the best duets in the country that
won last year.
They have different routines this year and
some of them are with different partners but
most of them stay together for a while, that's what
makes a good team.
So you're going to see some of those duets.
And then we have a lot of solos where we have all
the way from the preliminary level, which
is the lowest level you can do at National
Showcase, all the way to senior.
>>FIONA: I put in a lot of work, you know.
I skate the whole year coming up to this
It's really my favorite competition.
>>AMANDA: The fun thing about Showcase is it's
unique, because everyone just loves to be around
each other, they want to watch the other programs.
They support each other.
>>PAIGE: I think Showcase is very entertaining.
If you're just looking to have a good time and come
out and watch it, then come out and watch it.
You'll never not be entertained from someone
doing a Showcase program.
You'll go from feeling super happy and laughing
to being so emotionally touched by a different
program that there's so many different aspects of
it that you can feel by coming out and watching
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Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation ...and Viewers