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Charity Pendergraft has responded to our earlier post about her white-power sister act.
Pendergraft’s verdict: “I found the article very amusing.”
She didn’t intend it as a compliment. Pendergraft, 18, and sister Shelby, 16, singing as Heritage Connection, have released two CDs and perform at white nationalist events. Among other things, Charity Pendergraft took umbrage at our description of the sisters’ “thin, quavering voices.” “[T]hose who have heard us sing live would agree that our music, lyrics and vocals are anything but ‘quavering,’” she wrote on the sisters’ blog.
She also didn’t like the way we poked fun at her fondness for Mexican cuisine. (Charity had written in an earlier blog post that she’d eaten enchiladas for dinner and loved “Spanish” food.) “Doesn’t she [the author] know the difference between Mexican food and Spanish food?” she sniffed. “Or for that matter the difference between Mexicans and Spaniards? First Spaniards are white and second Mexicans are a mix of indian, white, and negro. I believe she needs to do more research. True native food in Mexico was a mixture of roasted and/or boiled lizard, rat, and boiled root vegetables. No, I’m not trying to be mean, just telling the truth. It took the creativity of the white Spaniards to make the food of ‘Mexico’ edible.”
We took Pendergraft up on her suggestion that we do more research and contacted Jeffrey Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota and the author of ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. Here (in part) is what he had to say about the origin of enchiladas:
“The claim that anything valuable in Mexican culture must have been introduced by the Spaniards is an old and pernicious myth. In this case, it’s presumably a reference to the cheese on top. But the word ‘enchilada’ means something that has been put in chile, and that something is of course a corn tortilla. Needless to say, both chile and tortillas were eaten for at least a thousand years before the Spaniards arrived. The Florentine Codex written in the sixteenth century by indigenous scribes under the direction of Fray Bernardino de Sahagu’n describes ancient Aztec enchiladas. The Mayas still eat an entirely pre-Hispanic dish called Papadzules, meaning ‘food of the lords,’ which is an enchilada made with two different sauces, one of pumpkin seeds and the other with tomato and habanero chiles. Instead of cheese, it is garnished with boiled and chopped turkey eggs. Delicious.”