Laura Patricia Ramírez runs Tortillería y Taquería Ramírez in a section of Lexington, Kentucky nicknamed “Mexington” for the amount of Latino immigrants living in the area.
In 1990, Latinos in Kentucky represented 0.6 percent of the Bluegrass State; the 2010 Census saw them make up three percent—about 132,00 people, the majority Mexicans. And more come every month.
If it wasn’t for a fired motel worker, I’d never think of doing an oral history of Mexican restaurants in Kentucky.
What does a former academic do in the face of ambiguity? Read, read, read, of course.
“First we win over your stomachs, then your hearts, then your minds. Love us, South, just as Mexicans are starting to love you.”
In Mexico City, where Esteban Rojo spent the early part of his life, “la fonda” is the term for a certain kind of restaurant. A small place, he explains, pausing to consider how to translate comida auténtica into English: “home food.”
In the latest episode of his Authentic South podcast series, documentarian Tanner Latham interviews Tom Hanchett, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC.