According to many in town, one of the most eagerly awaited biannual occurrences in Tucumcari is the return of the “Bread Lady” to the Tucumcari Historical Museum.
“And she is coming back again this month,” said Tucumcari Historical Museum director Bruce Nutt about the return of Mary Jane Edaakie and her family for their twice-a-year sojourn in Tucumcari to make and sell the freshly made Native American foods at the museum’s Native American oven. “Everybody just enjoys it so much,” said Nutt about the demonstration of her making of the bread, Indian tacos, fry bread and pastries. “They just love to watch and then they buy them as quickly as she finishes with them.
Nutt said Edakkie and her family are from the Isleta Pueblo not far from Santa Fe and she is known state wide because of her demonstrations at the Maxwell Museum in Albuquerque. In fact that is where Nutt discovered the Native American crafts woman. He said four years ago he was looking through a catalog of programs that the Albuquerque museum offered and was struck by the description of Edaakie’s demonstrations and decided to invite her to come to Tucumcari. “Now we’re the only other place besides Albuquerque and the pueblo that you can see her,” said Nutt.
Tucumcari Historical Institute President Duane Moore said he too was looking forward to the Saturday, June 12 arrival of Edaakie because, “the entire process is a great show.”
Moore said that the event starts early with Edaakie’s husband and family starting a fire in the outdoor oven called a “horno” which sits in front of the Tucumcari Museum building. He said throughout the day they keep the coals just right so the food will come out as best it can. He said when the actually cooking of the food begins the drama just increases all the more.
“Oh,” said Moore, “and the food is wonderful. I always buy a lot. I really like the pastries.” Nutt said that the food is so popular among area residents that often people call ahead and preorder some of the baked goods she produces in the traditional Native-American oven. “I always get four or five loaves, myself,” said Nutt. The actual demonstration and sale of the cooking will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 12.