Josefina Velázquez de León, 1899-1968
Born in Aguascalientes and raised in Mexico City, Josefina Velázquez de León was Mexico’s first celebrity chef. She ran her own cooking school in the capital, hosted an early television cooking program, and authored more than 140 small, affordable cookbooks on a wide variety of themes between the 1930s and her death in 1968.
Aside from being invaluable guides for the housewife, Josefina’s work documented Mexican culinary procedures and preferences in unprecedented detail. She traveled around the country, teaching free classes in while collecting regional and family recipes. Not only did she compile and publish these recipes, but she was also instrumental in cross-fertilization between the peoples of various locales at a time when Mexico was in the process of post-revolutionary nation building.
The Center for Southwest Research holds about 100 of her books and pamphlets. For our 2020 “Love in the Archives” event on Friday, February 14, we are displaying six titles presenting cuisines pertinent to important occasions in family life, including
Primeras Comuniones (first communions); Fiestas de 15 Años (quinceañeras); Despedida de Soltera (bridal showers); La Cocina de la Recién Casada (cooking for the new bride); Aniversarios de Bodas (wedding anniversaries); Especialidades para el Día de las Madres (Mother’s Day).
To learn more about Josefina Velázquez de León, visit