Culture

A New Museum Dedicated To Mexican Food Is Opening In Los Angeles Next Spring

Los Angeles is home to the largest Latino population in the country and it is predominately Mexican. As such the city is home to some of the best Mexican food in the U.S. Now, LA will be home to the country’s first museum dedicated to celebrating Mexican food. LA Plaza Cocina, a 2,500-square-foot facility located in LA Plaza Village, is scheduled to open in early 2019 which is currently under construction in downtown Los Angeles.

The museum got its name La Plaza Cocina, to represent how the heart of the Mexican home is in the kitchen.

Food is a key part of Mexican culture and the museum’s goal is to highlight these connections through various programs and exhibitions. La Plaza Cocina has been in the works for many years and it was natural that LA would be city that would get a museum dedicated towards Mexican food.

“Mexican food is one of our greatest cultural contributions to the world,” Board member and LA Plaza founder Gloria Molina said in a statement. “The museum will become a central space where fans of the cuisine can experience, share, savor, and explore its history and what it has become.”

Chefs that have had a huge influence on Mexican cuisine will be part of the museum’s various educational programs.

Jessica Ureña, Development Manager of Special Projects at LA Plaza, says that having the museum located in LA is one of the biggest perks especially considering how many Mexican chefs are in the city.

“When you look at Los Angeles there is such a huge influence from Mexican culture and cuisine and we want to highlight that by inviting some local chefs to teach others what makes Mexican food so special,” Ureña said.

There are already a few scheduled cooking classes for next year that include a wine tasting tutorial on Valle de Guadalupe wines, a cooking session with Humberto Raygoza, owner of the Chori-Man and a class on Maya cooking from the Yucatán. Ureña says these courses are open to the public and will be one of many ways La Cocina wants to give back to the community.

“These chefs make of the cultural fabric on this great city and we want teach people along the way the value of Mexican cuisine,” Ureña said. “We know that some people may have never taken a tortilla making course or even a mole class, this is our way of sharing that.”

The museum will be a vibrant hub for Mexican cuisine and food enthusiasts.

In addition to La Plaza Cocina, a new retail space called La Tiendita will be opening as well that will offer unique Mexican foods, cooking utensils and books available for purchase. The creation of La Plaza Cocina is an expected extension of La Plaza’s celebration of Mexican and Mexican American art, history and culture, that includes culinary studies. The museum today has its own edible teaching garden and culinary program offering workshops for children in grades K-12.

While the museum is slated to open in early 2019, LA Plaza Cocina has already received an outpouring of attention from local chefs and many people online.  Ureña says that the new space will finally give Mexican cuisine the stature it’s always deserved by not only celebrating food but passing it on to the next generation.

“La Plaza Cocina will be a place where we will tell and share stories about our grandparents food and hopefully inspire the next generation of chefs,” Ureña said. “For us its our mission to preserve our Mexican food and culture because in many ways food is Mexican’s greatest contributions to America.”


READ: 21 Facts About Mexican Dishes You Definitely Didn’t Know

Share this story by tapping that share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

How ‘Latinx With Plants’ Bloomed From Instagram To An L.A. Shop Reconnecting The Gente To Plant Healing Properties

Fierce

How ‘Latinx With Plants’ Bloomed From Instagram To An L.A. Shop Reconnecting The Gente To Plant Healing Properties

Growing up, Andi Xoch’s aunt encouraged her to speak to plants. Her relatives usually laughed at the sight of a woman talking to her in-house flowers, but Xoch was intrigued. As a little girl, she acknowledged that there was life inside the pots, so conversing with them seemed standard. More than two decades later, that seed of curiosity about flora bloomed into Latinx with Plants, a digital community and IRL Los Angeles-based shop that teaches Latinxs of their ancestral relationship with herbage.

Sprouted in the spring of 2019, Latinx with Plants started as an account on Instagram. Through the page, Xoch wanted to provide representation of Latinx plant parents that she felt was lacking despite the community’s deep and vast connection with herbs and gardening.

“We’ve had a long connection with plants even before the trend started,” Xoch, a Mexico City-born, L.A.-raised organizer and artist, tells FIERCE.

“I wanted to represent that, to show that we’ve been part of this world even if it’s not presented in an Instagrammable form.”

For the past few years, so-called plant porn has dominated Instagram content. With hashtags like #plantgang and #urbanjungles, the growing trend has helped produce a new generation of young people with green fingers that are boosting sales of houseplants and inspiring even the basement recluse to be a plant parent. In fact, a National Gardening report found that 83 percent of the people in the U.S. who took up gardening in 2016 were between the ages of 18 and 34. Even more, it reported that 37 percent of millennials grow herbs and plants indoors, more than the 28 percent of baby boomers who do the same.

However, with the exception of a few accounts, including Xoch’s friend D’Real who created @blackwithplants and inspired her to make a similar account, many of these digital spaces are overwhelmingly white. This, Xoch says, ignores the history Latinxs have with plants and the sustainable practices they developed while gardening for decades.

“You walk onto our people’s front yards and you see their food: plantains, avocados [and] chayotes. And it’s all sustainable; they use pots made out of buckets and cans. It’s beautiful,” the 32-year-old says. “This is who we are. This is our culture.”

As Latinxs, Xoch says that our Indigenous roots have been forgotten or intentionally kept from us but that we can reconnect to our origins through inherited practices. Among them is ancestral medicines. At her shop, several elders come in and casually inform Xoch about the healing properties of her different plants. While the whitewashed mainstream plant blogosphere has co-opted much of the everyday traditions practiced within low-income communities of color, she finds comfort in knowing that these remedies are being passed down across generations through word of mouth and are not being commodified. 

These informal educational encounters is one of the reasons why Xoch established her brick and mortar in August. Aside from selling an array of plants at the Boyle Heights-located shop, she wanted to create a space where new plant parents and señora gardeners can enter and feel welcomed, experience the joyous power of verdure and learn from one another. 

She says that her mission is to build community and help people who feel depressed, anxious and alone, particularly amid the Covid-19 pandemic, experience the healing power of plants.

“Plants can be an asset to you because, whether you think it’s just for the plant’s sake to be alive, you are actually participating in a self-care act by nurturing your plant,” Xoch says. “They force you to get up every day and help you realize a lot of beautiful things about yourself that you forget to acknowledge: the caregiving, the attention, the love, the dancing, the singing — all the things that make it bloom are also exercises in self-love, self-care and self-preservation.” 

A newbie business owner, Xoch says she now has another objective, though: to offer a non-traditional example of success and to be honest about the struggles of entrepreneurship. 

On paper, Xoch’s road to becoming a boss seems swift and simple: She learned the location of a potential property on a Sunday, visited it on Monday, signed her lease on Wednesday and opened up shop the following weekend. However, the reality is much more complicated. A high school dropout, her lifelong dream to open a business was halted because she lacked the confidence, capital and connections to get started. Even when she did launch the store, the experience was far from easy. Xoch opened her small business from the ground up on a tight budget amid a pandemic and while her father sat ill at a hospital where doctors thought he would die.

“I want people to know this is real shit that people go through. We have the load of the world on us, we are caring for our relatives and we are trying to make sure our business is doing well,” she says. “I walk in [my store] and that alone is defying the odds.”


Follow Latinx with Plants on Instagram. For those in Los Angeles, visit the shop, which is complying with Covid-19 regulations and operating by appointment only, at 2117 E Cesar Chavez Ave.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Young Boy In Los Angeles Turns Entrepreneur To Help Mother During Ongoing Pandemic

Culture

Young Boy In Los Angeles Turns Entrepreneur To Help Mother During Ongoing Pandemic

aaronsgarden / Instagram

Covid-19 has forced families to figure out the best way to make enough to take care of things. Some have had to find new jobs after being laid off and having to make up enough to save their families. A young boy in Los Angeles is doing that to help his mom makes ends meet.

Meet Aaron and his garden.

The young boy and his mother were on their last $12 when he had an idea of creating a business. According to a GoFundMe account, the young boy convinced his undocumented mother to start a business selling plants to help them make it through the pandemic.

Aaron’s Garden was the business he and his mom created to make some money.

“Aaron and mom have been struggling from being homeless to shelters and bouncing from house to house and now live in a shed,” reads a GoFundMe account. “He came out with the idea of selling plants and starting a business in his yard to be a provider and buy his own hot Cheetos with cheese without having to ask his mom for money.”

Aaron advertises his plants and when you can buy them on his Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Sensitive plant available limited supplies

A post shared by Aaron M. (@aaronsgarden) on

The LA entrepreneur is creating a lot of buzz with people celebrating his efforts. People in the U.S. are struggling as the additional $600 in unemployment has disappeared and a second Covid-19 stimulus is stuck in Congress. Aaron’s plant selling is helping his family during one of the most difficult times in modern U.S. history.

Way to go, Aaron.

View this post on Instagram

We love puppies

A post shared by Aaron M. (@aaronsgarden) on

We are all so proud to see you doing your best to make it through this time. Check his Instagram to see what he has and when and where he is selling the plants. Keep going, mijo!

READ: These Female Entrepreneurs Want You To Wear A Wig That Is Snatched

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com