EFTG Language School creates bilingual book that rescues Taltal's gastronomic heritage

June 2, 2017
Communications Colunga Foundation

The book "Patrimonio Gastronómico de Taltal; traditions, flavors and recipes "has become a bilingual product of the locality, which involved the community and the students of the social organization that is dedicated to teaching English to the inhabitants of Taltal. We spoke with Hector Tello, Executive Director of EFTG Language School, about the research work behind this book.

Together with the Cultural and Environmental Studies Corporation of the North (CECAN), and with the support of the Regional Government of Antofagasta, the EFTG Language School-Taltal Social Project organization proposed in 2016 to rescue the flavors and recipes of the commune of Taltal , in a product made from and for the taltalina community, that rescues the gastronomic patrimony of the community.

In 2015 EFTG Language School won the Colunga Foundation's Innovative Fund with the project "Taltal Multicultural", which allowed this organization -created in 2013- to restructure economically and focus on its goal: to make Taltal a bilingual city and position it on the map, through the teaching of English together with foreign volunteer teachers. The creation of this book is the concretion of the innovation made by EFTG, which continues with the challenge of showing Taltal to the world and the world to Taltal.

Héctor Tello, Executive Director of EFTG, tells us about the process of construction of the book "Patrimonio Gastronómico de Taltal; traditions, flavors and recipes, "and its implications for the taltalina community.

Héctor Tello

How did the idea of this book come about?

We wanted to make this book to rescue the gastronomic heritage of Taltal, to talk about the myths and traditions of conger hunting in the sector, and to establish the immigrant influence in local cuisine. It is a bilingual product to be disseminated among tourists who come to the town, and thus bring Taltal to the world.

How was the research process of this book?

We did this research with CECAN, and we worked especially with Javier Escobar, anthropologist and director of the Corporation.

Together with Javier we started to visit the sector and to see how we were going to build this book, it is in that search that we arrived at Paposo, a coastal sector of the Antofagasta region where many women are algae collectors. They were fundamental in the first and second stages of the research process: in September 2016 we made an exchange of recipes in Taltal, and the ladies of Paposo were the first to participate; and in November we did a gastronomic contest and they won with their exquisite recipes.

How did you work on the translation of the book with your students?

At EFTG Language School we have students between 3 and 65 years old, children, adolescents, young people, workers and housewives. With them we were approx. 4 months working on the translation of the book, all the advances that Javier sent us were being revised in classes so that we could define the words and local stories in the English language. In this way the community of Taltal reinforced its knowledge about local gastronomy, and was part of the construction of the book.

What do you rescue most from this investigation?

After meeting the people of Paposo, we were able to take our work methodology to their rural school, where the Parent Center helped us a lot. Now we open EFTG in that locality, in March, and we do English classes for children from first to sixth grade. And I would also like to rescue the good will of the people of Taltal and Paposo, to open their kitchens so that we could liberate the homemade gastronomy to a wider public.

How did the Fundación Colunga Innovative Fund contribute to the development of EFTG?

We are very happy for what we have achieved, and we always highlight the support of Fundación Colunga, because they helped us to organize ourselves as an organization, and to erase the phrase 'we are Taltal no more', remove the 'no more' from our vocabulary.

How did the Taltal community receive this book?

Since we did the exchange of recipes at the "First Culinary Fair Taltal" were immediately motivated, then in the culinary contest "Platos con Historias" we received a lot of nominations, and in the book launch we had to change location because too much came people, we invited the Paposo ladies who helped us so much, and even the children went to their schools. In Taltal the kitchen is very special for our culture and that was reflected in this book, and in the connections that we achieved during the investigation.

Where can you find this book?

We made 700 copies that we delivered free of charge, both to foreign EFTG volunteers, as well as to the people of the Taltal community. However, in the local library there are some reference copies.

Do you plan to make another book about Taltal?

Now we are in the research process to launch a second book, which will be called "Small Taltal Mining: Stories and Images", and thus continue with the challenge of showing Taltal to the world.

Paposo ladies in book launch

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