New Worlder
New Worlder
Episode #79: Melissa Guerra

Episode #79: Melissa Guerra

The acclaimed author and writer of southern Texas foodways, whose family has lived in the Rio Grande Valley since the 1700s.

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Melissa Guerra is an author and food writer that lives on a working cattle ranch the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas near the Mexican border. She is someone I have wanted to have on since this podcast started, but the timing never quite aligned. I have known Melissa for more than a decade and she has been doing incredible work writing about the foodways of southern Texas. She used to have a PBS show called the Texas Provincial Kitchen, received a James Beard nomination for her book Wild Horse Desert: Norteño Cuisine of South Texas and also wrote a series about her life on the border for New Worlder in 2017. Today she has a blog called Kitchen Wrangler where she writes recipes inspired by her surrounding landscape, as well as a YouTube channel.

Melissa’s family has been living in the region since the 1700s, long before Texas was a part of the United States. She sees the food of Texas and the U.S,. rather than divided by a political border, but united by ancient trade routes and modern culture. During the interview we talk about the influence of mesquite in the region’s food, how watering holes were the foundation for human habitation there, what real Tex-Mex cooking is and the migrant crisis and how the people in the borderlands view it, rather than through vapid political gestures by politicians.

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New Worlder
New Worlder
The New Worlder podcast explores the world of food and travel in the Americas and beyond. Hosted by James Beard nominated writer Nicholas Gill and anthropologist Juliana Duque, each episode features a long form interview with chefs, conservationists, scientists, farmers, writers, foragers, and more.
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Nicholas Gill