Aug 1, 2023 - Food and Drink

UTSA's large Mexican cookbook collection highlighted in new Mixtli menu

A white building with patio seating and leafy trees.

Mixtli at 812 S. Alamo St. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

Mixtli, a James Beard Award-nominated restaurant, is partnering with the University of Texas at San Antonio to highlight the college's expansive Mexican cookbook collection in a new menu that focuses on women chefs.

Why it matters: UTSA is home to the nation’s largest Mexican cookbook collection, dating to the 1700s. The recipes used in the Mixtli menu, which launches Aug. 8, are taken directly from the books, providing a unique opportunity to interact with the collection.

What's happening: Chef Rico Torres, co-owner of Mixtli, tells Axios the menu is inspired by Josefina Velásquez de León, who published more than 100 cookbooks, and Vicenta Torres de Rubio, Mexico's first female cookbook author.

  • "As far as codified recipes go, I would say that these women are definitely at the forefront and the mothers of Mexican food as we know it," Torres says.

Details: The menu — $165 (10 courses) or $135 (seven courses) — reflects the shifts in trends or ingredients that were available at the time.

  • Wagyu with tamarind mole, lamb and aguachile with xoconostle, snapper, tomatillos and grapes make up the menu.

What they're saying: Felipe Barrera, senior director of development at the UTSA library, says San Antonio is a hub for this gastronomical research, with about 2,500 books and manuscripts for chefs and writers to explore.

  • The public can view the books in person or online, where many of the texts have been translated and digitized.
  • "I think it's very impactful when you see chefs and cooks in the collection, because it's almost like kids in a candy store. They just light up and it's really fun to see that," Barrera says.

The big picture: Students of the Hispanic-Serving Institution see their heritage, culture and familial nostalgia reflected in the cookbooks, Barrera says. He hopes the representation will reach a broad swath of residents through the Mixtli menu.

  • "We really want San Antonio to embrace this collection, to own it and to be really proud of it because it is one of a kind. It's the largest in the country and it's right here in San Antonio," he says.

What's next: UTSA's Mexican cookbook collection is open to the public. To schedule an appointment to view the collection at the main campus library, email [email protected].

  • The Mixtli menu will be available until the end of October. Reservations are available online.
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