Interview no. 1722


Paul Contreras


Meredith Abarca


Texas Food Voices


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Summary of Interview

Paul Contreras was raised in El Paso, Texas. He learned to cook by watching his mother and father. His father and mother were very educated. His father served in the military during WWII as a medic. He was a reporter in New Mexico and reported in Spanish. He started the first Hispanic newspaper in New Mexico. He was also and minister and schoolteacher. His mother was a dietitian and a nurse. She stayed home with her children when they were small. Mr. Contreras was an AC certified mechanic and built motorcycles. He later joined Texas Parks and Wildlife. He worked all over Texas including the Magoffin Home which hired him as the Lead Ranger. His father would make menudo at night and would have fresh tortillas and biscuits every day. He would eat a lot of beans and rice. Also had enchiladas, chicken, fish and tortas. Mr. Contreras and his family went camping a lot they would pull fish out of the river, clean the fish, freeze them and bring them home. His mom would make sopapillas and his father side is Native American and would make fry bread which is similar to sopapillas. In 2017, Mr. Contreras suffered a heart attack and has arthritis. After heart attack he needed to cut down salts, starches, bread and potatoes. Decided to cut out dairy because of stomach cramps. Changes in food in El Paso he didn’t eat fast food when he was young. Would only go to restaurants on Sunday after church. Vienna sausages for him was fast food to him. Fast food is more common and easier now a days. Mr. Contreras lived a quarter mile south of I- 10 everything north of I-10 was desert and would camp out there with family. There are prepackage food items such as salad. His family would buy lettuce, tomatoes and onion when he was young. Organic products at food markets. He enjoys simple food and making it.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

45 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1722


Anaise Escobar

Interview Number

No. 1722

Terms of Use



Anaise Escobar transcribed the Summary.

For information on obtaining a transcript of this interview, please contact The Institute for Oral History

1722 Contreras, Paul.summary.pdf (80 kB)
Interview Cover Sheet

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