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updated 09/28/2015


Club History
The organization began in 1947 when Serafina Uberuaga Mendiguren thought of organizing a Basque Ladies Club. She communicated her idea toTimmie Yraguen Echanis and together they called a meeting at Jack Echanis' boarding house in Ontario, Oregon. 

1950 Argus Observer Photo

Early Members of the Ontario Basque Ladies Club

Charter Members attending the first meeting were: 
Timmie Yraguen Echanis
Juanita Yraguen Ybarzabal Hoff
Martina Yraguen Echanis
Georgia Yturri
Elsie Rivard Yturri
Marie Marquina Bilbao
Helen Marquina Smith
Marie Anchustegui Cortabitarte
Josephine Echanis Keim
Margaret Taylor Barruetabena
Lourana Priston Echanis
Marie Mendive Uriarte
Carmen Mendiola Esterly Chertudi
Marge Jones Plaza
Alice Plaza Vanderwall
Serafina Uberuaga Mendiguren

The mission of the original members was to preserve the Basque culture,  teach their children to sing Basque songs and dance the Jota and Porrusalda, and raise money for charity.

For many years, the Basque Ladies Club remained just that, however, since 1994 men have been welcome to join. Membership is composed of Old World and American born Basques and their families. Ontario Basque club members collaborated in the formation of North American Basque Organizations, Inc. (NABO) and Ontario Basque club became a member of NABO in 1973. 
Marge Plaza Memorial Scholarship

Kacie Gastanaga
Kacie Gastanaga - 2012 Marge Plaza Scholarship Winner

In May of 1966 a motion was passed to set up a scholarship for persons of Basque descent with good grades.  This scholarship is for a student attending Treasure Valley Community College. In 1973 the Scholarship was named the Marge Plaza Memorial Scholarship.  The recipients are as follows:
1967 - Jim Echanis and Terrie Berria
1968 - Phillip Mendiguren
1969 - Mike Echanis
1971 - Vicky Gabiola
1972 - Dan Gabiola
1973 - Frank Berria
1974 - Cheryl Gomes and Bill Yraguen
1975 - Joey Juan Plaza
1977 - John Yraguen
1978 - Cam Echanis
1979 - Elena Bates
1981 - Janice Mainvil
1982 - Gene Bates
1983 - Michael Bates
1984 - Julie Sillonis
1985 - John Plaza
1986 - Theresa Joyce
1987 - Greg Tuttle
1988 - Jim Mallea
1989 - Christina Tuttle
1990 - Kimi Yraguen
1991 - Cindy Mallea
1992 - Joey Hollopeter
1993 - Holly Dominick
1994 - Heather Walton
1995 - Maria Parks
1997 - Travis Ceniga
1998 - Chuck Echanis
1999 - Bryan Joyce
2000 - Nick Gomeza
2001 - Nick Gomeza
2003 - Drew Echanis
         - Patrick Plaza
2012  - Kacie Gastanaga
2015  - Matea Berria
Online article from Euskonews: The Making of a Basque Community in Ontario: From the Boarding House to a Global Village

History of Our Cookbook
The first motion to publish a Basque cookbook was made in October of 1960.  Six years later the cookbooks were ready for sale at the annual dinner dance.  Ontario Basque Club continued to sell the book until 2007.  It featured the cuisine its members have enjoyed for generations .  To our knowledge it was the first Basque cookbook ever published in English.

Vintage photo of members of Basque Ladies Club in kitchen 1951

Vintage photo of Members of the Basque Ladies Club in the kitchen  

Cookbook Contents
137 Recipes included traditional Basque cuisine and other family favorites.  Here are a few examples:

  • Basque Chicken with Rice
  • Beef Tongue
  • Lamb with Garbanzos
  • Stew
  • Rice and Clams
  • Squid in Ink Sauce
  • Basque Codfish (several)
  • Halibut and Potatoes in Sauce
  • Garlic Soup
  • Porrusalda (Leek Soup)
  • Sheepherder Red Beans
  • Churros
  • Chestnuts
  • Flan
  • Rice Pudding
Choice Recipes Compiled by the Ontario Basque Club, Inc.  
The book also included a section of "Quantity Recipes" including a Basque Chorizo recipe that makes approximately 250. In addition to recipes the book contains two pages of helpful household hints.
This Cookbook is currently out of print. If you are looking for one, Occasionally a copy goes up for bid on Ebay.