Anita Rodriguez, painter and adobe plasterer from Taos, will be at Page One Books at 3pm on Sunday, June 19, to talk about and sign her memoir of stories and recipes, Coyota in the Kitchen: A Memoir of New and Old Mexico.
The book is described as such: "This book of stories and recipes introduces two eccentric families that would never have eaten together, let alone exchanged recipes, but for the improbable marriage of the author's parents: a nuevo mexicano from Taos and a painter who came from Texas to New Mexico to study art. Recalling the good and the terrible cooks in her family, Anita Rodríguez also shares the complications of navigating a safe path among contradictory cultural perspectives. She takes us from the mountain villages of New Mexico in the 1940s to sipping mint juleps on the porch of a mansion in the South, and also on a prolonged pilgrimage to Mexico and back again to New Mexico. Accompanied by Rodríguez's vibrant paintings—including scenes of people eating on fiesta nights and plastering an adobe church—Coyota in the Kitchen shows how food reflects the complicated family histories that shape our lives."
Rodríguez is an award-winning painter who is also widely known as an enjarradora, or plasterer and finisher of adobe buildings. Her family on her father's side goes back 10 generations in her beloved Taos valley. Her art training began in childhood, and she eventually went to Colorado College for formal training. She lives in Taos.
Last Friday, I had just arrived at work and my supervisor Ty told me to follow him to “a thing” (he was very specific). I grabbed my water bottle and went with him. I thought maybe a meeting was happening and I just didn't see the email, but we went to the lobby and there was a photographer there. Then they started talking about beer and I got excited—free beer is my favorite kind (unless it's not craft, then keep your dirt juice away from me)!
Fate had other plans. Instead I was going to be interviewed with Ty about new breweries in town which meant no free beer. We went outside and stood in front of the office and as the photographer set up, I noticed a chill in the wind and remembered the one other time I've knowingly been on the news 12 years prior.
I was ten, my Mom brought me to a community gathering. It was about a sex offender that was moving to a place near our home. It was intense but I didn't listen to any of it. I likely sat on her lap the entire time wishing I was home. I was uncomfortable being in a school after hours and the place was packed. I didn't understand why we were there. There wasn't anything more to learn about the man or the situation that hadn’t been reported on television. I knew the guy was bad, but it's not like anyone could stop him from moving there.
After the meeting, when everyone was eating snacks, my Mom was interviewed by a local news station. Since I was with her—she was my ride, after all—I stayed by her side during. I remember at the end of her interview, the reporter asked me a couple questions not pertaining to the event (in retrospect, maybe it did a little) like where I went to school and what I liked to learn about. I think he poked my belly but maybe I'm imagining that. I've never really enjoyed being the center of attention unless I’m making a joke (or I’m waiting for a bartender).
The following day at school I remember kids (popular kids!) telling me they saw me on the news and that I looked good, all of which was foreign to 10-year-old Megan. I was on cloud nine. I felt famous. During the interview with Ty, I couldn't tell if I was in the shot so I slowly tried to edge my way out of it. I didn't say anything till the cameraman/reporter said I had been quiet and asked if I had anything to add. I did have a few words, and they misquoted me in the write-up. No one talked to me about it afterwards, but that's fine, because you're reading about it now and that's all the fame I need.
We preview founding Sonic Youth member Kim Gordon’s new memoir Girl in a Band. Gordon will appear in conversation with Alibi Managing Editor Samantha Anne Carrillo at the UNM Student Union Building on Sunday, March 1.
Bauhaus bassist David J. Haskins’ new tome Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? recalls the nascent goth scene, sex, drugs, automatic writing and more. August March previews Haskins’ autobiographical journey from flat field to hollow hills and back again.