Category Archives: August 2012

August 2012

August 2012
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Editor’s Letter

By Jane Bauer

I come from what I have always considered a food loving background. There was the winter my dad experimented with making his own pasta- fettuccine hung in the kitchen like laundry in Tuscany. There were the shopping trips to specialty cheese shops and Sundays in Chinatown which led to amped up versions of the classic German dishes he grew up with; spaetzle served with egg drop soup. There were the summers foraging for chanterelles, jam making, experiments with buckwheat, smoking your own meats, the food dehydrator purchased at 3am from the Home Shopping Network, homemade pesto, gravlax and more often than not, marinated octopus in the fridge. I learned that food is not only important but it is fun. When I started traveling on my own my dad said ‘don’t waste your money on a nice place to stay, save it for something nice to eat.’ It was great advice that has served me well. Continue reading Editor’s Letter

Tejate, Pre-Hispanic Drink of the Gods

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D

It’s hard to imagine any recipe that can remain unchanged, passed on from generation to generation without adulteration, for thousands of years. But walk through any marketplace in the central valleys of Oaxaca, try a bowlful of frothy tejate, and you’ll be enjoying the same drink ceremonially imbibed by Aztec rulers and Zapotec royalty in southern Mexico, long before the arrival of the Spanish.  Continue reading Tejate, Pre-Hispanic Drink of the Gods

Beer Revolution -RUTA 2012

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By Larry Woelfel

Yes, all over Mexico the revolution of the beer duopoly (2 big beer companies) has begun. Craft beers, artisanal beers, microbrews, whatever you wish to call them, have made their way to Oaxaca. There are at least 25 artisanal breweries in Mexico. There is even a day tour from San Diego to the microbreweries of Tijuana. In Oaxaca there is Bier Stube, a beer store dedicated to selling craft beers and educating the public. Their slogan, “Artesanía Liquida de Mexico y el Mundo”, Craft Liquids of Mexico and the World, reflects their purpose– . Continue reading Beer Revolution -RUTA 2012

Mezcaloteca

By Alfredo Patiño

You can find mezcal in just about every mercado or tourist stop throughout Oaxaca. There are aged mezcals, mezcals mixed with fruit and creams and more and more are available for export, showing up in New York City or Tokyo. However, many households in the Oaxaca Valley produce just enough mezcal for their own consumption and some make a little bit more to sell. They are the men and women who lumber into town carrying jerry cans filled with mezcal where they stop at restaurants and bars to sell to owners. They pull out a jicara and a bamboo straw to demonstrate the purity of the mezcal. The mezcal is placed in the jicara and then you suck a little bit with the straw and then let the mezcal fall back into the jicara- bubbles are good, no bubbles means the mezcal has been watered down. Continue reading Mezcaloteca

Mexico Through The Novel: A Tribute to Carlos Fuentes

By Carole Reedy

Are you challenged while poring over pedantic history books trying to understand the people, traditions, language, and culture of the Mexico we love? Happily, many authors have gifted us with novels that not only entertain, but also provide the words and facts that quench our thirst for knowledge. Continue reading Mexico Through The Novel: A Tribute to Carlos Fuentes

Señorita Manners

John was furious when his steak arrived too rare. “Waiter,” he shouted, “Didn’t you hear me say ‘well done’?” “I can’t thank you enough, sir,” replied the waiter. “I hardly ever get a compliment.”

Most of us have worked at one time or another in the restaurant industry, maybe it was a lemonade stand in grade school or as a waitress in college. But when travelling no one wants to be the chump and many of us are wary and guarded for fear of being taken advantage of. Tipping is a subject of much discussion on travel message boards; when and how much is appropriate? Please do not confuse tipping with charity. It is as insulting to tip with used clothing or school supplies in Mexico as it would be at Denny’s. Tipping your server has been a long-standing North American tradition. While tipping 15% of the total bill has been the standard for a long time, that tip can vary depending on the service you receive. It is a system of payment, especially in job sectors where wages are low. In Australia for instance, the minimum wage for waiters is $15 Australian dollars/hour. As a result, eating out is a lot more costly in Melbourne than in Mexico. Continue reading Señorita Manners

From Tacos to Tiramisu: The Pleasure of Eating Out in Mexico City

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By Carole Reedy

Yeast breads rising in bakeries, the scent of grilling tacos in the streets, steam rising from tamale pots and a rich chocolate scent emanating from foamy milk…follow your nose in Mexico City. The streets are a constellation of smells that enchant tourists and long-term residents alike. Everywhere you turn there’s something to eat: restaurants on corners and in between, food stands at every conceivable location (in front of schools, businesses, subways, etc), small tiendas with snack foods tucked into their nooks and crannies and still more food at any event you attend. Continue reading From Tacos to Tiramisu: The Pleasure of Eating Out in Mexico City

Edible Greens

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By Julie Etra

Huatulco, with its tropical climate, is an incredible to place to grow not just fruits and common garden vegetables (if the iguanas don’t get them first), but also other edible plants that are easy to grow from seed or gather in the wild, and just as easy to harvest and prepare. Some of these plants have a fairly wide range of occurrence and are grown and prepared throughout Mexico. Although some are natives, others may be considered as ‘weeds’ or maleza when they out-compete other plants for space, water, and nutrients, or when they become mature and too tough to digest. Although we have equivalents in the northern part of North America, in many cases we no longer use these plants due to the labor entailed in their harvest, and their use is overlooked or forgotten. Some obvious examples are dandelions (Taraxacum arvense), a non-native weed that used to be collected to make a fermented drink (dandelion wine). Its leaves, when harvested young, were used in salads. Another commonly harvested plant was lambsquarter (Chenopodium alba) whose leaves can also be eaten when young. Continue reading Edible Greens