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Jane Butel papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


Cookbook Materials

Cooking School

Corporate Consulting

JBA (Jane Butel Associates)

Pecos Valley Spice  Co.


Early Career

Awards and Speeches

K-State Years

Professional Organizations


TV Cooking Shows


Potential Sponsors


Audio Visuals

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Jane Butel papers, 1956-2014 | Morse Department of Special Collections

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Collection Overview

Title: Jane Butel papers, 1956-2014Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Butel, Jane (1938-)

Extent: 12.0 Cubic Feet


Materials in the collection are arranged by subject.


1) Articles, 1976-2009

2) Cookbook Materials, undated

3) Cooking Schools, 1998-2006,  undated

4) Corporate Consulting, 1980-1982, 1992-1995, 2002-2003, undated

5) JBA (Jane Butel Associates), 1980, 2001, undated

6) Pecos Valley Spice Co., 1979-1984, 1996,  2004, undated

7) Correspondence1965-2009, undated

8) Early Career, 1971-1980, 1997, undated

9) Awards and Speeches, 1964-1969, 1996-1997, 2002, undated

10) K-State Years, 1956-1958, undated

11) Professional Organizations, 1964, 1970-1975, 1999, 2002-2005, undated

12) Publicity, 1981-1989, 1991-2009, undated

13) Cooking Shows, 1993-2008, undated

14) Sponsors, 1999-2005, undated

15) Potential Sponsors, 1994-2005, undated

16) Photographs, 1982, 1995, 2000, undated

17) Audiovisuals, 1990 - 2000, 2002, 2004, undated

Date Acquired: 02/26/2010

Subjects: Cookery

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection was created by Jane Franz Butel during her college education and her career.

Series 1 is divided into two sub-series: Articles about Jane Butel and Articles by Jane Butel. Articles about Jane Butel include numerous newspaper and magazine articles ranging from 1976-2014, covering interviews with Jane Butel as well as reviews of her cookbooks and featured recipes. Included are articles from the LA Times, New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as travel magazines, ladies magazines, and cooking magazines. The March 1996 issue of Bon Appetit names Butel's cooking school as one of the top four in the world.  Articles by Jane Butel include clippings from newspapers and magazines written by Jane Butel between 1976-2008, covering topics such as chili and the history of Mexican cuisine. Included are recipes and stories appearing in Cooking Light, Food and Wine, Los Angeles Times, First for Women, and several publications from New Mexico.

Series 2 includes undated documents relating to publishing, press releases, research, and publicity tours for three of Butel’s cookbooks, Chili Madness, Tex Mex, and Hotter than Hell, as well as her unpublished manuscript, The Efficient Kitchen.

Series 3 includes documents relating to cooking schools, many of which Butel hosted for private corporations as team building events.  Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Hewlett Packard, Firestone and the Carlyle group are among her clients.

Series 4 contains documents on Butel’s consulting for corporations. Companies include Grand Union, Del Taco, Sargento and many others. Most include background information on revenue for these companies.

Series 5 has limited documentation about JBA, Jane Butel Associates.

Series 6 has product information and promotions for her business, Pecos Valley Spice Co. Yearly reports, status updates and demographic reports for the company are among the documents.

Series 7 contains letters sent to Jane Butel from 1965-2009, including fan mail ("nice letters") and thank you cards from school attendants. Also included is correspondence to and from magazines, newspapers, publicity companies and television stations.

Series 8 documents the early years of Butel’s career. Her work for the Public Service Co. of New Mexico, resumes, and extensive consumer papers from GE and Con Edison are included as well as papers relating to her work as Vice President of Consumer Affair and Marketing at American Express.

Series 9 contains copies of Con Edison speeches about cooking. Woman of Achievement award, KSU Entrepreneurship award, as well as New Mexico Woman award are included along with an invitation to the 1969 Presidential Inauguration.

Series 10 has Butel's coursework for her journalism and reporting classes as a student at Kansas State University.

Series 11 chronicles meetings and conferences Butel attended as a guest or honored award winner.

Series 12 contains extensive documentation about Butel’s publicity tours, advertisements, book promotions for things such as her books, as well as cooking schools and JBA. Included are contact lists, press releases and schedules.

Series 13 includes papers relating to organizing, planning, distributing, producing, and financing Jane Butel’s cooking show, as well as television show scripts and outlines.

Series 14 contains correspondence and contracts with Jane Butel’s Southwest Kitchen television show sponsors. They include the American Dairy Association, A.G. Russell Knives and Vitamax.

Series 15 contains correspondences with potential sponsors for Jane Butel’s cooking show. They include Con Agra Foods, Inc., Eastman Kodak, Gallo of Sonoma, General Electric, Land of Lakes, Mrs. Dash, and Southwest Airlines.

Series 16 has approximately 2,400 photographs taken of and by Butel, mainly of her cooking school and participants. There are also publicity photos, personal photos, and food photos. Only a few photographs are dated. Most of the people in the photographs are unidentified.

Series 17 has over 100 tapes of Butel's cooking shows, television appearances and feature stories. Of note are appearances on Regis and Kathy Lee, Emeril and Friends, and the Today Show. Filming for Butel's cooking shows, including Jane Butel's Southwest Kitchen, took place in 1998-2000. The series ran for seven years nationally on PBS as well as a channel out of Denver and one out of Dallas. The cooking shows are recorded on Betacam SP tapes.

Biographical Note

Born in 1938, Jane Anne Franz Butel would grow up to be known as the mother of Tex-Mex, being credited with bringing the regional culinary style into popular demand. Graduating from Soldier Rural High School as Valedictorian put Butel on the path to success. She enrolled at Kansas State University with a double major in Home Economics and Journalism with a four-year scholarship from Sears Roebuck for all of her tuition.

In 1958 Butel married Donald Allen Butel and by the next year had graduated K-State and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where she began her expansive career. By 1961 Butel was already making a name for herself in southwest cuisine. She was promoted to Head of the Department of Home Service, won seven national awards from programming and overall achievement and been elected president of New Mexico Home Economics Association and Chairman of the Women’s Committee of Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. She also had a weekly television news segment from 1967-1969 as well as appearing frequently as a guest on several radio programs. In 1968, Butel self-published her second cookbook, Favorite Mexican Foods.

From 1969-1973, Butel was employed by Consolidated Edison of New York as the Director of Consumer Affairs where she developed 15 programs and decentralized the staff to eight boroughs. In 1971, Butel was appointed to develop the world’s first energy conservation program. It was successful and was later copied by 65 other utility companies. Butel’s radio and television success continued as she hosted a weekly radio program, “All About Energy,” in New York City. In 1973 she was hired by General Electric to head their Consumers Institute with responsibility for consumer education worldwide. She also had a national radio consumer show which distributed to 431 radio stations nationwide. Leaving GE, Butel was hired by American Express in 1976 to be their first female Corporate Vice President of Consumer Affairs and Marketing, a position she kept until 1978. After resigning from American Express, Butel incorporated Pecos River Spice Co (later known as Pecos Valley Spice Co.) and Jane Butel Associates (JBA).

Pecos Valley Spice Co. Launched its first product line in September 1979 at a Spice Sampler trade show in which Butel had the first woman-owned company. Also in 1979, Jane Butel’s Tex-Mex cookbook was published and was met with immediate success, staying in print until 2008. This publication was credited with starting the rise in popularity Southwestern cooking that came in the 1980s. Published a year later, Chili Madness also became a best seller and has sold nearly a million copies to date. This sparked a rapid expansion of the Pecos Valley product line and for Bloomingdales to order the product line to be hosted in stores. Unfortunately, Butel faced business difficulties from 1983 to 1991 citing sales of shares, poor funding and the hiring of an incapable managing partner as the cause. Ultimately, Pecos Valley Spice Co. switched to a mail order direct business, where the company is still operating.

During this time, Butel published Tacos, Tortillas and Tostadas, The Best of Mexican Cooing and Woman’s Day Book of New Mexican Cooking. In July of 1983, Butel developed the concept of a week-long cooking school which she then operated as sold-out sessions from 10 years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a new corporate venture, Butel opened a New Mexican/Southwestern upscale restaurant in New York City’s Upper East Side called Pecos River Café. The café was quite successful until personal and managerial problems led to its closing in 1990. February of 1993 found Butel building the first hotel-based cooking school, naming it Hotel Albuquerque. From 1993 to 2006 Butel worked to centralize and streamline both Pecos Valley Spice Co. and her cooking schools, opening another hotel called the Andaluz and redesigning the Pecos Valley line and packaging. Throughout this time Butel published five other cookbooks to add to her collection, these include Fiestas for Four Seasons, Jane Butel’s Quick & Easy Southwestern Cookbook, and Real Women Eat Chiles as well as a revised edition of her previous book, Hotter than Hell.

From January of 2010 to present, Butel has been developing proposals to sell her combined business in a Culinary Institute concept, but it is still a work in progress. Currently, Jane Butel is still conducting both the cooking classes and operating the spice business. She also has the intention to write more books and an autobiography.

Subject/Index Terms


Administrative Information

Repository: Morse Department of Special Collections

Access Restrictions: No access restrictions: All materials are open for research.

Use Restrictions: Restrictions apply to audiovisual materials. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Technical Access Note: The VHS tapes will require a player and a viewer. No equipment is available to view the Betacam SP tapes.

Acquisition Source: Jane Franz Butel

Acquisition Method: Donation

Appraisal Information: Jane Franz Butel is a 1959 graduate of Kansas State University. She is an internationally recognized authority on regional cooking of the American Southwest and is credited with starting the Tex-Mex craze in the United States. Her papers are a very important addition to the Morse Department of Special Collections' holdings because of the contents and the significance of her impact on American and Southwestern cooking.

Related Materials: Cookbooks authored by Jane Butel are held in the Morse Department of Special Collections.

Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Jane Butel papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries

Processing Information: Kenan Dannenberg, student assistant, Brittany Roberts, student assistant, and Jane Schillie, curator, processed the papers in the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Articles],
[Series 2: Cookbook Materials],
[Series 3: Cooking School],
[Series 4: Corporate Consulting],
[Series 5: JBA (Jane Butel Associates)],
[Series 6: Pecos Valley Spice  Co.],
[Series 7: Correspondence],
[Series 8: Early Career],
[Series 9: Awards and Speeches],
[Series 10: K-State Years],
[Series 11: Professional Organizations],
[Series 12: Publicity],
[Series 13: TV Cooking Shows],
[Series 14: Sponsors],
[Series 15: Potential Sponsors],
[Series 16: Photographs],
[Series 17: Audio Visuals],

Series 8: Early CareerAdd to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Public Service Co. of New MexicoAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Career- Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Flyers, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Public Service Co. of New Mexico- Hawaiian Food, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Public Service Co. of New Mexico- School Consultation, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Resumés, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: American Express Brochures, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 7: American Express Consumer Affairs Council, Apr 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 8: American Express, Consumer Affairs Department, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: American Express Consumer Affairs, Planning, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 10: American Express, Energy Project, 1979-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 11: American Express Going Places, Apr. 1997Add to your cart.
Folder 12: American Express, Traveler's Checks, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 13: New Air Charters, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Personal Letters, 1975-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 15: GE Consumer Institute, Correspondence, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 16: GE Consumer Institute, Flyers, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 17: GE Consumer Institute, News, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 18: GE Publications, 1973-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Con Edison, Consumer Affairs Goals, 1971-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Con Edison, Consumer Affairs, Projects in Progress, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Con Edison, Consumer Affairs, Work Plans, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Con Edison, Consumer Affairs, Newsletter, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Con Edison, Pamphlets, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: EEI, Booklets, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 25: GE, Article by Jane Butel, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 26: GE, Consumer Inquiry Report, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 27: GE, Consumer's Institute Development, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 28: GE, Consumer's Institute Development Plan, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 29: GE, Consumer's Institute Operating Plan, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 30: GE, Consumer's Institute Semi-Annual Review, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 31: GE, Customer Communications, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 32: GE, Consumer Relations Plan for MABG, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 33: GE, Handbooks, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 34: GE Presentation, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 35: GE, Presentation, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 36: GE, Public Relations, 1973-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 37: MAGB, Customer Relations Plan Report, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Presentation, "Energy Crisis and Appliances", 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 39: Presentation, "Making Consumerism Work for You", 1974Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Articles],
[Series 2: Cookbook Materials],
[Series 3: Cooking School],
[Series 4: Corporate Consulting],
[Series 5: JBA (Jane Butel Associates)],
[Series 6: Pecos Valley Spice  Co.],
[Series 7: Correspondence],
[Series 8: Early Career],
[Series 9: Awards and Speeches],
[Series 10: K-State Years],
[Series 11: Professional Organizations],
[Series 12: Publicity],
[Series 13: TV Cooking Shows],
[Series 14: Sponsors],
[Series 15: Potential Sponsors],
[Series 16: Photographs],
[Series 17: Audio Visuals],

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