You may recall I went to visit my boyfriend at his Tlaxcala home in February, and was amazed by the pre-hispanic market that has stood on the same site for a thousand years, and still sells the same products they sold way back then.
Today Manuel sent me a story about pinole, a traditional toasted corn drink he remembers fondly from his childhood. Like many Mexican children, he loved to eat it dry, enjoying its sandy texture and rich toasted corn taste.
Here is my translation of his pinole story:
“Pinole. Since I was a child I hadn’t eaten pinole, and last week I had the chance to taste it once again thanks to my sister, who had a bit in her kitchen. She told me that they’ve always sold it in the market here in Tlaxcala, so I went to look for it and on the second try located it.
I asked an old woman who sold seeds where to find it, and she told me who carried it. ‘ There’s an old woman who sells her goods right on the floor, she’s got it,’ she told me. So I found her, and noticed that she is old, but quite strong like people of her generation often are, and yes, she sells pinole and ground corn of different colors to make atole. I asked how pinole is made and she told me it’s a simple recipe, you just toast corn on a hot comal, then grind it with sugar and cinnamon. I tried some before buying, and the flavor was different than I remembered from my childhood. I bought some anyway and took it back to the woman who sells seeds to try, to tell me if it seemed like good stuff to her.
She said, ‘I believe you love pinole because your mother ate a lot of it before she had you, and hey, my son loves quesadillas made with squash blossoms because I ate a lot of them when I was pregnant with him. I love seafood because they say my mother ate it before I was born.’ I asked her again if she liked the pinole and she said she really didn’t care for it. I asked if it was bad, and she explained why she never eats the stuff. ‘I’ve never liked pinole because an uncle died eating pinole, he asphyxiated, so I recommend that you make it into atole and drink it .’
Muchos saludos a todos,