Carolina Santos and her mother, Rosa Oliva, make tamales, tacos, and all sorts of other food for office workers and other clients, who are usually in San Francisco. But in West Oakland, California, where they live, the corner stores that exist offer little of the fresh produce they have access to in the food business. Maria Hinojosa spends a day with them and brings us her report.

And click below to listen to Rosa Oliva share her recipe for mole Oaxaqueño, en español:

I enjoyed the whole show on Latino food culture and especially the several segments on Oakland and East Bay life, but most of all I thank you for that powerful opening segment about Congress slashing food assistance programs.

I had heard passing mention of these shameful budget cuts on news radio, but nothing made it hit home the way your piece did. You’re doing the social impact news reporting that the network newsrooms ought to do, but don’t.

Also, you did a great service by quoting that sick excuse for a human being, Rep. King (R-IA) saying the “safety net” was actually a hammock– that people going perpetually hungry have life too easy.

People of King’s barbaric mentality need to exposed in their own words. They are unfit for public office.

Thank you Latino USA for your fierce spirit of justice.

I heard the interview with the mother and daughter in Oakland, (Homemade Oakland Tamales) and wondered why the daughter doesn’t go to college in Mexico. She wants to study, can’t afford it here, couldn’t she study back home.

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but surely, the same courses are available in Mexico. I’d appreciate the answer…. once she’s educated, it’ll probably be much easier to come back and live in the United States legally (perhaps as a university professor).

Sincerely, SGK

Kind of sounds like she’s being ungrateful, disrespectful regarding her expectation of the Linkedin. What did she expect from the Linkedin staff?
byronious’s avatar

Carolina Santos noted that at LinkedIn’s Oakland Offices she was surrounded by people her own age who were college educated and who had high-paying jobs, and that they didn’t seem to even notice her: How she felt left out of the new economy.

But I wish to point out that Ms. Santos has her own business, cooking, and cooking is not a service that can be offshored.

Five years from now, when LinkedIn moves most of their server operations to India, Mexico or Bangladesh where there are many gifted IT professionals willing to operate the system for $20,000 a year… People in San Francisco who still have jobs will still want to buy tamales. And a tamale cooked in Mexico, and shipped to San Francisco will cost more and not taste as fresh.

Ms. Santos is in a business sector that cannot be offshored. She owns her own business, so if she can keep the quality up and build clientel, then she benefits directly. There are worse positions to be in.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and was wondering whether there is contact information for their business. I’d love to support them, and enjoy their products.
Thank you!