by Brian Flagg,

Pretty much everyone knows that Pancho Medina is Minister of Culture at Casa Maria, Katie Bolger, among others, has been the Minister of Agriculture, Nancy Myers has been the Director of Fun and Cesar Aguirre is the new Minister of Public Education.

Ernie Lujan is without doubt the Food Expert Numero Uno.

We’ve been working him to do a regular food column so to speak, for this blog. Hopefully he reads this and realizes that this is his calling, to write the food column!

He and I even talked about him kicking it off with something along the lines of “The Spirituality of Food”.

He really does know everything about food, even American and Chinese food, etc, etc. He can talk about recipes and his feelings about a wide range of restaurants. He does so with great enthusiasm and conviction! And what makes it even better is that he is a rotund kind of guy that looks like he hasn’t missed many meals! He’s got lots of style!

He is the soup cook here one Sunday a month (although his wife Becky will point out that she does the majority of the work). All the street guys will vouch for his/their soup.

He’s even got a great story about how food was central in his courtship of Becky!

Apart from his culinary expertise, he is truly a great man of the barrio and a pillar of Santa Cruz Catholic Church. I think that every single person that knows Ernie really likes and trusts and respects him.

He grew up in this barrio, attended Santa Cruz School and Sunnyside High School, and worked his way up from basic tire changer to store manager at Purcells Tires on Ajo Way.

He serves on the Casa Maria Board and he and Becky are always present on the front lines of the struggle for justice for poor people.

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