Blending careful research and creative storytelling, ""The Search for a Chili Queen"" explores the lantern-lit world of the young hostesses who staffed nightly chili stands and vied for loyal customers on the plazas of late nineteenth-century San Antonio. As a humanities detective, Marian L. Martinello chronicles her step-by-step investigation into the life and times of the chili queens, making frequent reference to the unique sources that guided her inquiry. The pages of the book are replete with nineteenth-century photographs and paintings, in addition to modern photos of artifacts in museum collections and even chiles from the author's local supermarket. All of this evidence leads to informed conclusions about the persona, trade, and surroundings of the chili queens on San Antonio's Military Plaza. Martinello subsequently brings life to her subject through an entertaining yet historically credible bit of creative reconstruction. She crafts the fictional character of Lupe Perez, a spunky teenage queen who endeavors to bolster business at her family's stand through hard work, a knack for entertaining customers, and the allure of a remarkable fringed rebozo. Following in the footsteps of Martinello's previous books, ""The Search for Emma's Story"" and ""The Search for Pedro's Story"", this search for a chili queen serves as an invaluable model of historical investigation for teachers and students, as well as an engaging read for anyone whose interest is piqued by Lupe's captivating historical counterparts.
MARIAN L. MARTINELLO has taught throughout New York, California, Florida, and finally Texas, where she joined the faculty of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her publications include studies of inquiry learning, interdisciplinary curriculum and teaching, as well as award-winning books on the history and cultures of Texas. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.