A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 09, 2006
Menudo

Menudo is a tripe stew. It’s been cited in English from about 1900.


25 September 1904, Mexican Herald, pg. 9, col. 2:
Peon Restaurant of City of Mexico:
“Square Meals” For From Two Cents Up
(...)
(Col. 3—ed.)
A loaf of bread, called “pambazo” or rather “pan bozo” made of common flour, and about three inches long, is cut half lengthwise.  This loaf is hollow. In the cavity is place (sic) a tablespoonful of this stew: a spoonful of chile sauce poured over it; the other half loaf placed on top, and there you are for three centavos.  No Anglo-Saxon, with eyes and an imagination—unless he is nearly starved--can bolt that combination.

There are other stands where only tortillas con carne are sold.
(...)
Some of the better calsses of stands keep “tortas compuestas” which are a kind of sandwich made of hogshead cheese, sausage, boiled ham, fried pork, canned corned beef, chicken, etc.  These sell for from six to ten centavos each according to the quality of the meat used in them.
(...)
(Col. 4—ed.)
In eating houses they sell “panzita” or “menudo” mixed with boiled corn; an ordinary sized plateful costs three centavos.
(...)
Beef or mutton soup, about an ordinary sized teacup ful three centavos; boiled rice mixed with fine cut chile, two centavos; guisado, a stew made of meat and three or four kinds of vegetables, three centavos; boiled beans, two centavos; chicken stewed in a dark mahogany-colored gravy, three centavos; boiled beef and potatoes, three centavos; three tortillas one centavo or a small loaf of bread, three centavos; a big glass of pulgue, two centavos.

One can order the same dish as often as desired at the same price

In all fondas and even in good restaurants the famous “mole de guajolote” is in the bill of fare every Sunday, and the sign “Rico Mole de Guajolote los Domingos” is always visible either on the facade of the restaurant or on the menu cards, if there are any.

Mexican Cooking
Gebhardt Chili Powder Co.
San Antonio, Texas
1911
Pg. 13:
Menudo—Tripe, Mexican Style
Take tripe after it has been well cleaned and put to boil in one quart of hot water until tender; add one or two buttons of garlic chopped fine; one or two tablespoonsful of Gebhardt’s Eagle Chili Powder, one can of hominy; stir well and let boil until done.  Serve hot.

8 April 1924, Los Angeles Times, pg. A1:
ROMANCE OF CITY SPARED
Barbacoa and Chili Menudo Still May Be Served to
Mexicans from Plaza Carts, Council Decrees
(...)
TYPICAL SCENES
The vending wagons in question appear about sunset along the curb near the Old Baker Block. They are replicas of the booths found around the plaza of every Mexican town, and are tended by blanketed men and women who cry their wares with musical cadence. One may sup on barbacoa, that gruesome delicacy of a roast sheep’s head, or taquitos, chopped meat and pepper wrapped in a tortilla and fried. The booths are open from sundown to the “Madruga,” or false dawn, when the laborers of ditch or ranch come to get their big bowls of menudo, that peasant breakfast dish of stewed tripe, washed down with black coffee. There is much red pepper in each of these dishes, giving that stimulating effect so much prized by the “gente baja” but which would give acute indigestion to those of nicer tastes.

13 May 1928, Los Angeles Times, “Gastronomic Adventures” by Bertha Anne Houck, pg. K12:
Caldo, made with boiled meat and vegetables, is a typical soup, and Menudo, a tripe stew, is a favorite and very delicious dish.

Ramona’s Spanish-Mexican Cookery
edited and modernized by Pauline Wiley-Kleemann
Los Angeles: West Coast Publishing Co.
1929
Pg. 90:  Tripe a la Mexicana—Menudo
3 lbs. fresh tripe
4 cups cooking sauce (see sauces)
1 tblsp. chile powder
1 tblsp. almond meal
Salt and pepper to taste.

Cut tripe in 2 inch squares, place to a slow boil in sufficient stock or water to cover well. When near done add the cooking sauce, almond meal and chile powder, steam until well done. Serve with tortillas.

When using cooking sauce recipe in preparing tripe, chile powder may be used to taste and the almond meal can also be omitted.

17 May 1931, Los Angeles Times, pg. K7:
The tortilla is principally bread, but it is the foundation for many dishes. An enchilada is nothing but a tortilla with chopped meat and other things rolled up in it.  A taco is a tortilla folded over meat and vegetables and toasted a little.  One of my fondest recollections is of the days when we kids used to improvice tacos at the table at home.

We would lay a tortilla on the tablecloth, spread a couple of spoonfuls of fried rice on it, garnish it with frijoles, roll it up and go to it.  As we squeezed the top of the taco in biting it, rice and beans would drop out the bottom.  Then mother’s knuckles would descend on the crown of the offender, and we would receive a general lecture on table manners.

Fried tortillas—fried in lard, not butter--are crisp, delicious brown morsels.  They taste just like big cakes of pop corn and make the ideal companion for a good “tamal” or a plate of “frijoles refritos.”

I am glad that so many little awning-stands have sprung up on the Paseo. Somehow a taco or an enchilada eaten out in the open tastes a little better than the same dish served on a tablecloth--for all that the “senorita’s” eyes remind me of summer evenings in Mazatlan. Then besides, there is the “menudo,” which should never be eaten under any roof but a canvas one.

Menudo Con Corridos
Menudo is a particularly delicious type of soup made out of chicken giblets, which are called in Spanish “menudos.” Other things go into the broth, not the least of which is a dash of chili. I recall that in that quarter of Nogales known as El Ranchito, a great many menudo stands flourish. This is because El Ranchito is abundant in “cantinas” and cabarets, and menudo is the world’s best restorative after the kinds of an evening one spends in El Ranchito.

I don’t know how they operate on El Paseo, but in Mexico the menudo shops stay open till all hours. You sit down shivering on the benches before the stand, begin to take your menudo, and anon come a couple of guitar players who start singing for you. 

Your Mexican Kitchen:
A Compilation of Mexican Recipes Practicable in the United States
by Natalie V. Scott
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
1935
Pg. 41: TRIPE SOUP
Menudo
1/2 lb. of beef tripe and foot
4 qts. of water
2 hot peppers
American wormseed
a little salt
Parboil the tripe. Then wash it well. Still better, it should be scraped with a knife until it is very, very clean.  (Pg. 42—ed.) Put it to cook in the 4 qts. of water, with salt, several hours, cooking very slowly, until the water is reduced to 1 1/2 qts.  Grind the hot peppers, and add it and the American wormseed to the brew, and let it have another hour on the stove, cooking very slowly.

Cooking South of the Rio Grande
by George Luther Nelson
San Antonio, TX: Neolon Sales Service
1935
Pg. 21:
Menudo con Pezole
Tripe
Cut the tripe into very small pieces. Clean very carefully. Place in a kettle with water to cover and cook over a very slow fire until it is soft and tender. Add salt, black pepper, garlic, chile powder and hominy to suit your taste. Serve hot.

Make Mine Menudo:
Chicano Cook Book
by Ella T. and Jose A. Lopez
Sunburst Enterprises, La Puente, Calif.
1976

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, September 09, 2006 • Permalink