Sonoran Desert Art & Literary Journal
Cultivating imagination. Deepening passion.
Acrylic by Marion Rose
Features & Interviews
www.panoramalitart.com Fall/Winter 2015, Issue No. 2
Sustain, comfort & inspire the body & soul
4 | ABOUT PANORAMA
4 | ZESTFUL LIVING
Cubist Painting Wine and Fruits #2 by Marlina Vera
5 | AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT
Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
6 | GALERIA
High School Student Submissions
8 | VOICES
Dad's Membrillo Tree by Christy Wilson
10 | BOOK REVIEWS
by Caesar Velasco
12 | ELEMENTS
Harvest Goddess by Holly Sierra
Fall/Winter 2015 | 3
In this issue
Living a full and flavorful life requires that we nourish the body, mind and spirit. Food helps sustain our physical bodies and, like literature, poetry and art, it also nourishes our mind and spirit. Recent studies on the mind-body connection show that what we eat significantly influences how we feel. Poet and running legend Herb Elliot found that winning requires good nutrition and physical conditioning along with poetry, music, forests, oceans and self-reflection. Nourishing his body and soul helped him develop the immense physical and spiritual strength required to win.
In this issue of Panorama, you will find images and ideas to help you claim a healthful and winning 2016. Art and literature will nourish, invigorate and infuse your mind, body and spirit with elements vital for life, health and growth.
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Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.
Fall/Winter 2015, Issue No. 2
Publisher | Desert Arts & Culture Media, NPO
Editors | Caesar Velasco & Martha L. Barrón
Frequency | Semi-Annual
Cover Image | "Nothing Pearsonal "
by Marion Rose
Panorama features the arts and cultures of the unique Sonoran Desert communities. While deeply rooted in home, Panorama encourages exploration and growth. We challenge our readers to deepen their roots and expand their vision beyond their current limits. Each issue showcases local and guest artists, photographers, and writers whose work blends local flavor with universal human appeal.
Please visit www.panoramalitart.com or email email@example.com to:
share your writing, photographs or art
learn about featured authors/artists
learn about advertising opportunities
subscribe to Panorama ($12 per year)
Cubist Painting: Wine and Fruits #2 (Acrylics, 20"x16") by Marlina Vera
Cubism is an early 20th century art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. In cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form — instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context.
To view more artwork by Latin American cubist artist Marlina Vera, visit www.marlinavera.com.
Short stories, poetry, essays, photography and
fine art depicting the rich lives and cultures of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora.
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Magical mini-sword in hand,
Turn this fruit of the earth
Into a tropical, edible appetite pleaser;
You do this so eloquently
In front of my eyes
Mr. Mango Man.
For 20 pesos
You carve a delicious & nutritious
Work of art;
Mangos on a stick
To resemble a brilliant orange rose in full bloom,
Juicy spheres of sweet, golden pulp
Sprinkled with glittering flavors
Salty, spicy, sugary, tangy – all at once;
Glowing in the golden sun.
Mangos on a stick
Mr. Mango Man,
Like party ornaments,
They line all four sides
Of your sturdy, old wooden cart on wheels
That you push along the sandy beach
As if you were strolling a baby buggy through silk carpet.
Cool ocean breeze at times
Baking desert sun just as often
On the shores of this Sea of Cortez
Where each day may
Teem with tourists
Or perhaps not a visitor in sight;
Mr. Mango Man,
You faithfully arrive
Like an old woman at church
Who is indebted with penance
For the life of her miracle child.
You stroll and carve
Show up to sell
Come high water
Because at 20 pesos a pop
Your family’s mouths get fed.
You’ve found a way to put food on your table
And a roof over your head.
Mangos on the Beach by Shauna Quintero from Tucson, AZ
Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
Mr. Mango Man
A Poem by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford © 2005
Born to a pioneering Jewish family, Roni grew up in Nogales, Arizona, on the U.S.-Mexico border. Roni's great- grandparents came to the U.S. as immigrants from France, Poland, Romania and Russia. Her stories are inspired by childhood days growing up in the Sonoran Desert, in the bilingual, multicultural world where she still lives today. Roni's most recent book, My Tata's Remedies, was selected as a Southwest Book of the Year 2015. To learn more about Roni's work, visit www.butterflyheartbooks.com.
"Art allows me to express myself. It helps me see the world in more ways than one. It motivates me to find the beauty in things and to create something new every day." ~ Andrea Sanchez (Rio Rico High School Student, Rio Rico, AZ)
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La Muerte | Andrea Sanchez
Mandala | Andrea Sanchez
Details | Andrea Sanchez
Indian Goddess | Andrea Sanchez
"As a ball player, I realize there are beautiful and exciting moments in life that might never happen again so sometimes I like to stop, step back, and capture those moments." ~ Fabian Ferreira (Tucson High Student, Tucson, AZ)
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Focused | Fabian Ferreira and Omar Ferreira
Home Field Advantage | Fabian Ferreira
The membrillo tree in my parent’s backyard has produced bunches of fruit every fall for as long as I can remember. As a child, I’d look out the kitchen window and see the branches of the gnarled tree weighed down by dense, green fruit coated with grey fuzz. I used to think that maybe, if I wished hard enough, this knobby looking fruit would transform itself into smooth, juicy, crisp Granny Smith apples. Instead, I was stuck with a tree full of hard, mottled membrillos.
While our neighbors grew tender apricots, savory pecans and sweet blackberries, I wondered why, of all things, we had a quince tree. I asked my mom this question several times and her response was unfailingly consistent, "Your father insisted. He grew up eating them and wanted to plant a tree in the yard when we moved into the house.”
My dad grew up in the small northern Mexican town of Magdalena, Sonora, located about 50 miles south of Nogales, AZ, my hometown. Membrillos were one of many foods the 17th century Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, is credited with bringing to the area. To this day, membrillo trees continue to flourish around the small town.
For a long time, I thought my family and I were the only people on earth who ate membrillos. I had never seen them in the grocery store. My mom’s magazines never featured membrillo recipes and not once had I seen Julia Child prepare them on television. Granny Smiths, on the other hand, were everywhere! Besides, even if I had come across them outside of my border town bubble, I probably wouldn't have realized it because it wasn't until I was around 20 years old that I learned membrillos were called "quince" in English. Once I made the connection, I learned that this odd shaped fruit growing on the tree my dad planted nearly 50 years ago in our backyard had traveled a long way from where it was first cultivated and had a rich history that spanned millennia.
Small Fruit. Big History. Quince fruit is native to the mountainous region known as the Caucasus, which lies between the Black and Caspian seas. From there, it spread to the Mediterranean where Greeks and Romans enjoyed its tart flavor and sweet aroma. Mentions of quince appear in Greek writings traced back to around 600 B.C. As a sacred fruit to Aphrodite, quince was heralded as a fruit of love, marriage and fertility, and was a ritual item in wedding ceremonies. Since apples were unknown in the ancient world, some historians believe that quince may have been the fruit that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
Fast forward to 812 A.D. and we find Charles the Great having quince trees planted in the royal garden. Later, quince appear in gardens and orchards all over England, including the Tower of London. In 1629, an entry record from the Massachusetts
An Essay by Christy Wilson
Christy Wilson is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist working in Tucson, AZ. She is a writer, food photographer, founder of ChristyWilsonNutrition.com and a nutrition coach at the University of Arizona. Christy's first cookbook with recipes inspired by her hometown will be published later this year.
Photo by Christy Wilson
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Dad's Membrillo Tree
Bay Colony’s Memorandum shows quince seeds listed among the items requested from England. Although apples quickly stole the spotlight, quince trees were planted throughout colonial America (including Jefferson’s Monticello). The fruit was cooked in jams, jellies and pies.
The arrival of quince to the American Southwest was by way of Spanish priests who planted quince trees throughout missions in southern California. During the late 1600s, Father Kino was among the first Spanish explorers to reach the area. Through his extensive work with the native people of Baja California, southern Arizona and northern Mexico, he helped establish cattle ranching and expanded agricultural diversity. Quince trees, white Sonoran wheat and pink lentils were among the variety of crops he helped introduce to the people living in the harsh, dry Sonoran Desert.
“This mission has its church adequately furnished with ornaments, chalices, cups of gold, bells and choir chapel; likewise, a great many large and small cattle…a garden with various kinds of garden crops, Castilian fruit trees, grapes, peaches, quinces, figs, pomegranates, pears and clinstones…”
~Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores 1695
Today, California’s San Joaquin Valley is the largest mass producer of quince in the U.S. The world’s largest producer is Turkey, followed by areas in western Asia, southeastern Europe and parts of Latin America, including Chile.
Quince Cuisine. When I eat quince, preparation is minimal because I eat it raw. After picking it off the tree and cleaning off the fuzz, I rinse it, slice it and season it with a splash of fresh lime juice, salt and a sprinkle of chili powder. This preparation is common in Mexico, parts of the Middle East and South America. Some references describe quince as almost inedible due to its hard texture and tart, astringent flavor. Among the 15 known varieties of quince, some are strictly ornamental. The most common type of quince (Cydonia oblonga), becomes softer and less bitter when allowed to fully ripen on the tree.
Quince is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the Rosaceae family—the family of flowering plants that include roses, apples and pears. Though not as popular or attractive as its botanical cousins, quince has a remarkably high pectin content compared to most other fruits. Pectin, a gelatin-like ingredient, is essential for thickening jams, jellies and marmalades and quince has historically gained popularity because of its utility in preparing these types of foods. Unfortunately, popularity and production have regressed with the development of powdered pectin, a decline in home preserving and the prevalence of a bacterial disease that, over the years, has wiped-out many quince orchards.
Quince preserves remain a staple food, however, in Mexican, Middle Eastern and South American cuisine. In Mexico, quince is cooked into savory empanadas or turned into a thick,
sweet paste called dulce de membrillo (also known as ate or queso de membrillo). In Britain and the Balkans, quince is used to make cider, brandy and wine. In Germany, Latin America and the Middle East, quince is often added into stews and other rich meat and/or cheese dishes as the tart flavor helps to counteract the greasiness of the meat.
Nutrition. Throughout my studies in nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona, I remember my dad playfully telling me, “In your studies on nutrition, find out the health benefits of membrillos!” Although quince was never a major topic of discussion in class, I, too, was curious about its nutritional qualities. Like all fruits, membrillos are low in calories and contain soluble fiber (pectin) that aids digestion and makes us feel full and satisfied. They are high in the antioxidant vitamin C and rich in the blood pressure lowering mineral potassium. For centuries, membrillos have been used to treat digestive and other gastrointestinal issues. A jelly made from soaking the seeds in water has long been used to treat sore throats, inflamed vocal chords and irritated skin. Studies done specifically on pectin have shown promise in its ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, control diarrhea, and slow down the growth of certain cancers. (See, Dad? Membrillos are healthy!)
We Eat Membrillos. When the weather begins to cool down and mom and dad’s tree fills up once again with bunches of odd-shaped membrillos, my dad chuckles and says, “They’re kind of an ugly fruit, huh?” As ugly as they are, I find them quite fascinating now. They have a beautiful history, especially the ones that come from mom and dad’s backyard because, well, they are part of my family's history. No matter how many times I wished them away as a kid, I’m glad this hard, knobby fruit never transformed itself into an apple. After all, everyone eats apples. We eat membrillos.
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Quixote: The Novel and the World
by Ilan Stavans
Stavans, a literary critic, connects the invention of the novel and 400 years of artistic expression to Don Quixote. Like Shakespeare, Cervantes broke new ground as a writer. Stavans describes and celebrates this accomplishment.
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being
by Martin E.P. Seligman
Want to increase your health and well-being this year? Seligman’s work is for you. After 35 years of helping patients get rid of anxiety and depression, he expected to end up with happy patients. He didn’t. As a result, he founded positive psychology which focuses on achieving health and well-being before disease strikes. His approach is preventive and acknowledges a mind-body connection. Positive health prescribes optimism, exercise, love and friendship to keep oxytocin levels high and cortisol levels low.
How Children Succeed
by Paul Tough
Success is about more than IQ. Non-cognitive attributes like curiosity, self-control and social fluidity also play a key role in skill and character development. Grit, an important element in fostering and protecting non-cognitive skill and character development, helps kids grow the part of the brain that regulates emotion and thoughts. This, in turn, helps kids deal with confusing, unpredictable situations that are part of growing up.
by Elizabeth Gilbert
In Eat, Pray, Love, a fragile, recently divorced Elizabeth Gilbert set out on a transformational journey. Gilbert ate her way through Italy, prayed her way through India and Bali, and in the process fell in love with life anew. In Big Magic, Gilbert has things figured out. She calls us to mindfulness. To quiet our fears and self-protecting ego; to be open and trusting of ourselves and the universe; to make space for life’s paradoxes; to forgive, with as little drama as possible, our personal failures and our society’s petty concerns. Walk placidly amid the noise and haste and create, is her mantra. Happiness, Gilbert observes, lies in the creative process. We achieve fulfillment, flow and eudaimonia when we create.
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by Caesar Velasco
To read the full reviews, please visit panoramalitart.com/book-reviews.
Fall/Winter 2015 | 11
Born to Run
by Christopher McDougall
Caballo Blanco is “más loco.” He is a gringo on a quest; an ultra runner who decamps to Mexico’s remote and forbidding Sierra Madre Mountains to learn the running secrets of the Tarahumara Indians, the world’s best long distance runners. To the Tarahumara running is an art. Their secrets include: eating super foods, like beans and pinole; running so one’s feet feel the earth; engaging in running as a social activity; and running for the sheer joy of being one with your body, mind, spirit and the world around you, like a child on a playground.
In Geronimo's Footsteps
by Corine Sombrun and Harlyn Geronimo
Mexican soldiers, stationed in Sonora, killed and scalped Geronimo’s wife and children. At the time, both the Mexican and American governments offered cash for Native American Indian scalps. The authors touch on Geronimo’s revenge raids and the friction between cultures that met in the Southwest in the mid-1800s, but their focus is on Geronimo as a person. They emphasize Apache values—life, family, freedom and tradition, values that many embrace today. Our common human thread, it seems, is long. In fact, it leads to Mongolia where the Apache ancestors originate.
The Blue Zones
by Dan Buettner
Living a long, lucid and active life just got easier. Buettner, with the support of the National Geographic Society, discovered 6 blue zones, regions of the world with abnormally high concentrations of centenarians. Examples include Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. Common wisdom shared by centenarians includes: having ikigai, a reason to wake up every morning; establishing a plan de vida or life plan; eating more nuts and less meat; and socializing. The author includes longevity lessons from each blue zone and hosts a website, which includes recipes and other tools, at www.bluezones.com.
Photo by Bonnie Lee Powell
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
At twenty-six, Jean Louise Finch—“Scout”— is as independent as ever. She’s on a visit home from the big city where she’s on her own “livin’ in sin.” Her high school sweetheart, who wants to marry her, picks her up at the train station. It’s the 1950s. The familiarity of home draws Scout into a false sense of comfort that is quickly shaken. Events force her to reflect on marriage, love, identity and how to relate to others. She is forced to decide who she is. Will Scout settle down and drown her independence and sense of justice in false comfort? Will she fight for equal rights? Or will she run away from her beloved small town?
Harvest Goddess by Holly Sierra: Holly makes her home in Sedona, AZ. Aside from a penchant for detail, the defining aspect of her work is her ability to combine her brand of realism with folk art and decorative fantasy elements. To learn more about Holly's work, visit www.hollysierra.com .