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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Bakery In A Chicano Barrio
Program #

Linda Fregoso
Joe Avila
Jan 18, 1982

Bakery in a Chicano Barrio

Linda Fregoso interviews Joe Avila, a baker, about his work baking pan de dulce and operating a panadería. Fregoso first explains that pan de dulce is an important part of Chicano culture and traditions and describes its origins. Avila, the owner of Joe’s Baker, explains that baking bread is an artwork, one whose practice is passed on to apprentices. While there are over 300 varieties of pan de dulce, there are some that are particularly popular, such as empanadas and pan de huevo (also known as molletes and trompadas). Many breads have different names which trace to regional particularities.

Bakers who start working at three in the morning make pan de dulce from scratch. The best breads use natural ingredients, but some bakeries are resorting to artificial ones to cut costs. Avila explains that he adds evaporated milk to his dough and then describes how he makes some of the cookies.

Fregoso notes that the popularity of pan de dulce is declining and Avila suggests that it is because of people’s growing health consciousness. They then discuss the myths that surround the panadero, who is often believed to be an alcoholic and his nicknames. Fregoso also explains that several panaderos followed migrant streams and Avila talks about his experience selling bread to migrants in Lubbock. Fregoso notes that there are some female bread bakers, but not many because their husbands do not like for them to work odd hours. Fregoso explains that panaderias may be dying out because the newest generation is not interested in working early and earning little. Avila also discusses the camaraderie between panaderos.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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