Juan Giusti Cordero

Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

Unlike Sid I'm terrible remembering stories enough to tell them, but here goes. I've always seen Sid in Puerto Rico, so I've seen him eating but not cooking. But he does claim that when he finishes cooking all the pots and pans are washed, and is proud to claim that he keeps "a clean kitchen". I found that interesting to bear in mind about Mintz's method, and not just in cooking. In Puerto Rico he eats everything, and has a great taste for Puerto Rican food. And from spending some time with him in Amsterdam I learned that he loves pickled herring.

One of my favorite Mintz stories has to do with his mother, a socialist who knew and admired Daniel De Leon and whom of course I never met. She came to visit Sid in Puerto Rico in the late 1940s when Sid was doing his research here, and the drove by the largest San Juan slum at the time, El Fanguito. She commented that there must be a lot of rich people in Puerto Rico, and Sid said why do you say that, this is a slum. She answered, "Any time you have this many poor people, you have a lot of rich people". The story, and how much Sid relished telling it, kind of told me a lot about Sid's upbringing.

The other story, more an image than anything else, and which Sid recounted in an email shortly after Eric Wolf's death, is Mintz marching with Wolf in a May Day parade in New York just after World War II, both of them in their US Army uniforms. As he put it, "We marched in May Day parades together, in uniform, together with thousands of other American veterans who had stood beside their Soviet comrades in helping to crush the worst threat to civilization in world history. To which we can all now say: so what?—as if it had never happened. But it did." That image captured a moment that did.

Hope some of this helps the cooking. Juan