May, 2016
Fugitive Waves: Chili Queens of San Antonio

Fugitive Waves: Chili Queens of San Antonio

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Some kitchens are hidden by place, some by time—like the saga of the chili queens. For over 100 years, young women came at twilight to the Alamo and the plazas of San Antonio with makeshift tables and big pots of chili to cook over open fires. The plazas teemed with people—soldiers, tourists, cattlemen and the troubadours — who roamed the tables, filling the night with music.

From San Antonio’s earliest days as a Spanish military encampment, life in the town revolved around the plazas. They were the market place, the meeting place, the place of government and festivals — funerals, weddings and hangings. People came to argue politics with their neighbors, to listen to the sad songs of the troubadours, and eat the food of the legendary chili queens.

The chili queens were romanticized in the press as being exotic Spanish women with sable hair and fiery tempers. They became the stuff of tourist legend. No trip to the Southwest was complete without a visit to the chili queens. These women were often peoples’ first introduction to “that spicy, dangerous, Mexican food.”

In the 1930s, Lydia Mendoza, the queen of Tejano music, began her legendary career singing in the plazas of downtown San Antonio with the chili queens.

As San Antonio grew and modernized the chili queens were periodically driven out of one plaza only to reopen their little stalls in another.  In the 1930s, the health department finally lowered the boom.  Health regulations and the war ended the chili queen’s reign in San Antonio’s plaza.

International Hummus Day

International Hummus Day


May 13th is International Hummus Day — a day to celebrate the deliciousness of this beloved Middle Eastern spread. The basic ingredients in hummus are simple: cooked or mashed chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic; but it’s history is not. Every country, culture, and religion in the Middle East has a different twist on the recipe, which in turn has created long standing arguments about who makes it best. Both Israelis and Arabs have made a strong claim to being the original creator of hummus, and in recent years a Guinness Book of World Records inspired feud has broken out between Israel and Lebanon, known as the Hummus Wars.

Yet, May 13th is not about who owns hummus, it’s about spreading the love for this dish. Ben Lang, a tech entrepreneur who lives in Israel, created the holiday in 2013 and since then it’s spread internationally. Lang even created a global Hummus Map to help people find the best local hummus. To participate in International Hummus Day you must eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner…or all three. After that you can share your chickpea love in a number of ways: organize or participate in a hummus-related event; document your hummus eating on social media with the hashtag #hummusday; participate on facebook; or add your hummus place to the Hummus Map.

Fugitive Waves – Stubb Stubblefield: The Archangel of BBQ

Fugitive Waves – Stubb Stubblefield: The Archangel of BBQ

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C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield, namesake of the legendary club in Austin, Texas, had a mission — to feed the world, especially the people who sang in it. When he started out in Lubbock, he generously fed and supported both black and white musicians, creating community and breaking barriers.

From 1968 to 1975 in Lubbock, Texas, C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield ran a dilapidated barbecue joint and roadhouse that was the late-night gathering place for a group of local musicians who were below-the-radar and rising: Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Tom T. Hall.

Born in Navasota, Texas in 1931, Christopher B. Stubblefield was the son of a Baptist preacher and a mother who worked raising 12 children. As a young boy he picked cotton and worked in local restaurants. After a stint in Korea, where he was in charge of food preparation for thousands of soldiers, he came back to Lubbock and started a small BBQ joint.

One day he picked up a hitchhiker, guitarist Jesse Taylor. And that was the start of it. Jesse asked if he could bring some friends by to play music at Stubb’s and the place became a focal point for west Texas musicians and people traveling through.

A generous visionary who wanted to “feed the world,” Stubbs was not a good businessman. But his friends helped through. Ultimately, he moved to Austin, started a new restaurant, created a BBQ sauce that is still on most grocery shelves across the nation, and spread love, music and good will throughout his life.

Bowling with Grace: The Legend Continues

Bowling with Grace: The Legend Continues


Amazing Grace Mulloy returns to the Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco for the Second Annual Kitchen Sisters Bowling Party & Fundraiser to raise your game, and the game of The Kitchen Sisters.

Grace, now 92, continues to own the lanes in Santa Maria, California. A life-long bowler with a lot of tricks up her sleeve, Grace, who is legally blind, is still in in two leagues and bowling close to 200 a game.

Come join Grace, Roman Mars, Renée Montagne, Thao Nguyen, Alice Waters, Amy Tan, Armistead Maupin, Ayelet Waldman, Jeannette Etheredge, Mark Buell, Terry Zwigoff, Caroline Paul, Wendy MacNaughton, The Kitchen Sisters and surprise guests for a night of bowling with Grace as she shares her wisdom of the lanes.

Come bowl or just come hang. The drinks and food flow, all lanes are ours. It’s the first night of the NBA Finals and the game will be on the big screen. All proceeds go to supporting a new season of James Beard Award-winning Hidden Kitchens stories on Morning Edition (we call this one “Kimchi Diplomacy: War & Peace & Food”), our internship & mentoring program, our Broadway musical and our Radiotopia podcast, Fugitive Waves.

Come for the roll or come for the stroll, Thursday, June 2nd, Mission Bowling Club, 3176 17th St, San Francisco.

$150 includes food, drinks and all the bowling you can stand. ($100 tax-deductible).

Tickets are limited. Get yours now through Eventbrite.

If you can’t come bowl with Grace but still want to support the work of The Kitchen Sisters, you can:

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