TISA par­ent bakes bis­co­chi­tos for a good school cause

The Taos News - - VECINOS - Story and photo by 5th graders Ana Sofia Gu­tier­rez, Kaelie ly­man-Bayne and Chiara Ko­zlovich

Story and pho­to­graphs by TISA Talks 5th graders Ana Sofia Gu­tier­rez, Kaelie ly­manBayne and Chiara Ko­zlovich

Third gen­er­a­tion Taoseña, Mel Archuleta, knows her anise. When bak­ing for the hol­i­days it be­comes more com­pli­cated, “I use three dif­fer­ent kinds of anise. My hus­band Leonard likes the one from Su­per Save the best,” Archuleta said.

And af­ter 26 years of mar­riage, Leonard should know. The Archuleta fam­ily has been with Taos In­te­grated School of the Arts since its first year. Leonard Archuleta Jr. came to TISA in kin­der­garten. This year he grad­u­ates from eighth-grade. Moses is in second-grade and lit­tle brother, Abra­ham, will join the school fam­ily in a cou­ple of years.

Their mother has al­ways contributed gen­er­ously to TISA. When asked why, she says with a smile, “I love you guys! I love this school. We have come a long way.”

This year Mel Archuleta put her bak­ing skills to work for the Friends of TISA.

Friends of Tisa is a non­profit foun­da­tion that sup­ports the Taos In­te­grated School of the Arts. The group raises money for school im­prove­ments that sup­port TISA’s mis­sion to be green.

The bis­co­chito cookie sale was the brain­storm of Mel Archuleta. The Friends of TISA part­nered with her to raise money to sup­port a more ecofriendly school lunch pro­gram. The money raised will pro­vide re­us­able, plates, sil­ver­ware and cups and re­duce the school’s foot­print on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Mary Dam­bacher, Linda Seto and Nikki Caine are mem­bers of the Friends of TISA. Ac­cord­ing to Linda Seto, “The Friends of TISA wanted to raise money to sup­port TISA’s progress to­wards be­com­ing a low en­vi­ron­men­tal-im­pact school by pro­duc­ing less trash with our great or­ganic lunch pro­gram. We feel that by rais­ing money to buy re­us­able dish­ware, we will help the school re­duce its trash out­put by half.”

They have sold 240 gift boxes filled with bis­co­chi­tos.“We have sold 2,500 cook­ies!” says Mary Dam­bacher as she boxed and tied a red rib­bon upon a dozen cook­ies.

Mel Ar­culeta is the one be­hind it all, and yes, she is the one who is mak­ing all the cook­ies. Mel’s son Leonard was in charge of taking the cook­ies out of the oven and putting them on the bak­ing racks.

He ad­mits to eat­ing just a few along the way. Taos Tiger foot­ball champ Leonard shared, “I’m proud of my mom, she does ev­ery­thing for ev­ery­body. I like TISA be­cause it has a lot of good teachers, but if I had all the money we are rais­ing, I would by a new phone!” he laughs.

The Archuleta home has smelled like cook­ies for the past week. “Mel is the cookie fac­tory!” adds her hus­band, Leonard.

As the story goes, if you need help ask a busy per­son, Mel made the cook­ies while taking care of her three chil­dren, a mother with an ill­ness and her nephew in a wheel­chair and clean­ing the en­tire school ev­ery evening. She made cook­ies with her star helpers Abra­ham, who is 2 years old, and Leonard, 13.

Second-grader Moses en­ter­tained him­self and lit­tle brother while his mom baked all the cook­ies. His mother said Moses ate just a few cook­ies, but he in­sisted he ate none. He even said he was not tempted to eat them. His dad on the other hand, well...

In to­tal it was a lot of work, but with fam­ily team­work they ac­com­plished it.

Mel Archuleta shared her fam­ily recipe with us, and we have taste tested the cook­ies. We rate them with 5 stars.

This is the recipe Archuleta gave us from her grand­mother, Eloisa Sanchez.

As is true with most fa­mous bis­co­chito mak­ers, she does have one se­cret in­gre­di­ent she won’t re­veal. Mel does use lard but says the amount is up to the baker. Well, it wouldn’t be a real Taos bis­co­chito recipe with­out the in­fa­mous se­cret in­gre­di­ent. Good luck!

Mel Archuleta made 2,882 bis­co­chi­tos for the TISA school fundraiser re­cently.

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