Pioneer Museum

Esperanza’s World – Mexican American Cuisine Center – Diner

Esperanza’s World – Mexican American Cuisine Center – Diner




Activities / Teacher Resources

Mariá Elena’s Mexican-American Diner

Appetizer:  (optional) ~Esperanza and Carlos ate canned peaches that were left behind in the cave by the cattle rustlers.  They also shared canned peaches with Carlos’ Apache family.  Supplying 1849 gold miners with fruit, meat, and vegetables started the demand for canned foods. By the Civil War, around 30 million cans of food were produced annually in the U.S.  Research the companies that made canned foods in the mid-1800s.  For example, the Campbell Soup Company started in 1869.  What other canned food companies from today, started in the mid-1800s?  Make a list.
Main Course: (select one) ~Click to watch how they harvest saguaro fruit, cook it and make syrups.  Study the beautiful photographs.  Write a summary of what you learned from these web pages. 

    ~With an adult, select one of the center recipes and make a traditional Mexican-American dish, yucca root soap or hard candy.  Share your cooking and eating experiences during a show-and-tell at school. 

    ~Read through the information that accompanies the various cooking recipes in the center. Then take the quiz on Mexican-American cooking and cuisine.   (In this option, you do not prepare any of the recipes.)

    ~Design your own Mexican-American meal menu.  Include your favorite
Mexican-American dishes; add enticing pictures.  Display in your classroom.

    ~Research traditional Apache foods and compare them to the Mexican-American cuisine on an 8 X 11 sized poster.  Can you find a recipe for kneel down bread?

    ~Make a string of chili peppers or ristras to hang and dry out in your house.   Find directions on how to make chili powder out of dried peppers.   Post for classmates to view.

Side Dishes: (select two) ~Research nectar-eating bats and explain their role in pollinating the saguaro cactus blossoms.  Write a one-page report about them.

     ~The prickly pear cactus also bears a fruit (pear) that can be used to make a variety of jellies, jams and drinks.  Locate a prickly pear cactus recipe and post it on your classroom website.

      ~Turn to page 34 in Esperanza Means Hope.   Read the list of delicacies served at the Ochoa’s party.  Make a drawing of the table with the various foods spread out on a white tablecloth.  Don’t forget to draw the jellied pigs’ feet!

~When Lt. McKinney and Sgt. Polk stay for dinner at Esperanza’s house, she sets the table with the good china – the Blue Willow plates.  Read the “Blue Willow Pattern Legend” from the center or read the book, Blue Willow by Pamela Conrad. Then draw a circle “china plate” pattern to illustrate any part of the story of Esperanza and her family.  You can only use a blue colored pencil, blue marker or blue paint to illustrate their story. 

      ~Click to watch the YouTube videos made by students about the legend of the Blue Willow plate.  The Story of the Willow Plate and click to watch the Willow Pattern Story.  Make your own digital or animated story of any part of Esperanza and her family’s story using a blue pattern model. 

      ~Research chili peppers and find out the following information: its history, culinary uses, varieties, heat intensity and nutritional value.  Make a chili pepper shaped booklet with your information inside to share with classmates. 

      ~Make a labeled display of different chili peppers (real or pictures) and gather information from classmates about their experiences with “hot” jalapeños peppers or chili pepper products.

Dessert (optional)      ~Research the types of candy that Lord and Williams Store in Tucson, 1876 probably sold as penny candy.  Make a list of 10 different candies that Pinto could have chosen to buy.   Make butterscotch candy your #1 candy.  Find 9 more candies to complete your list.

~Find other recipes for Mexican desserts.  Display the recipes to share.