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First Foods of America (1936) – Mexican Songs of Foods

October 4, 2013
First Foods of America (1936) by Blanche and Edna V. McNeil

First Foods of America (1936) by Blanche and Edna V. McNeil

McNeil, Blanche and Edna V. McNeil. First Foods of America. Los Angeles: Suttonhouse LTD., 1936. [TX725 .M374 1936]

Last week, we introduced Blanche and Edna McNeil’s 1936 cookbook First Foods of America, largely based on the recipes of their maternal grandmother. One of the more unusual chapters of their book is Mexican Songs of Foods, which includes Spanish and English lyrics for each song, along with musical scores for four of the songs:

  • Las Calabazas (The Pumpkins)
  • El Atole (Atole)
  • El Canelao (The Cinnamon Tree)
  • El Durazno (The Peach)
  • El Vendedor de Cocos (The Seller of Coconuts) by Agustín Lara

Although the authors do not provide any background on these songs, a few quick google searches for lyrics locate extracts of some of these songs in books such as La Copla en México (2007) by Aurelio González and Cancionero Michoacano, 1830-1940 (2000) by Alvaro Ochoa and Herón Pérez Martínez, and Agustín Lara, the writer of “El Vendedor de Cocos”, was a popular singer in Mexico in the 1930s. This chapter appears to bring together both historical 19th century songs that the McNeil’s grandmother may have learned in Mexico during her youth and popular contemporary songs of the 1930s.

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