Casa de Colores School of Traditional Mexican Cooking

A Unique Culinary Adventure in Cabo

Archive for January 15, 2018

FIRE MAKES IT GOOD

Campfire

!FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!

Warm New Year greetings to all!  Another year of growth for Cabo, and a marked increase in the number of traditional Southern Mexican cooks and eaters happily shopping, cooking and eating at Land’s End.  I have never been happier to live here, and FOOD is one of the major reasons!

The South and South Central sections of Mexico are home to deeply traditional regional cuisines, and nowhere else do you see these Southerners transplanted to the geographic north of Mexico as they have done and continue to do here.  Traditional foods are found fresh and well priced in all of our big box markets which stand in for ancient traditional markets down south–even Walmart has professional nopaleros, careful, quick and kind men removing spines from the nopal, our national vegetable, to make eating traditionally easier for the busy Cabo cook.

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Cactus Heaven

One of the major differences in the Southern Traditional cooks is the direct application of fire.  My friend Rufina from Guerrero goes into her courtyard and builds a fire when she makes her pozole, or handmade nixtamal tortillas… because she has always cooked these and many other foods over fire, which gives her direct control over the heat when she uses clay baking vessels, comales and so forth, and adds distinctive flavors to her dishes.

Indigenous cooks down south often cook foods directly in the coals of a fire, as they have done for hundreds or even thousands of years.  These tamales from Tlaxcala are a fine example–lake fish stuffed with tiny lake fish, wrapped in the inner membrane of the sword-shaped leaf of the agave from which we make tequila, called mixiote, then charred right in the coals… and the flavors are astounding!

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To quote the immortal Homer Simpson, “Fire makes it good!”

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My deep love and respect to the women of Mexico, particularly the Southern women who have transplanted themselves here to the North, who continue to cook in the ways taught to them by mothers and grandmothers, back a thousand years to a time when food was basic, and so much better.

¡Buen provecho!

Donna

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North of the Border

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