Category Archives: August 2019

Editor’s Letter

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.48.44 AM“The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.”  

E.M. Forster

It’s our annual food issue! This month our writers explore lesser known ingredients and share their experiences of new food in new places. If you know me in person you know how important food is to me. I embrace the ethos that the best way to learn about a culture is through it’s food. So when I want to learn about people I ask ‘what are you eating?’

I just got back from a foodcation where I baked croissants in Paris and drank Pouilly Fume in the Loire Valley with a vintner whose family has been making wine for generations. I eased into long afternoon lunches of foie gras, leeks and red wine. Instead of post-meal siestas I took my cues from Paris’ best flaneurs and sat by the fountain in the Tuileries Garden people watching and enjoying the spectacle that is Paris.  Continue reading Editor’s Letter

Gone Bananas

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.49.26 AMBy Brooke Gazer

There are good reasons why bananas are the most popular fruit on the planet. Bananas are the world’s fourth richest dietary staple, after wheat, rice, and corn. Low in fat and rich in potassium and vitamins A, B, C and D, a medium banana has only 95 calories. This delicious fruit offers a quick, natural, and sustained energy boost with an added benefit; bananas have a type of protein that your body converts into serotonin. This is something commonly found in antidepressants, known to improve mood and promote relaxations. So if you are having a bad day, grab a banana.  Continue reading Gone Bananas

Moving Again?  The Challenges of Learning About New Foods

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.50.06 AMBy Susan Birkenshaw

In the last 25 years, I have completely moved house 3 different times, established long-term winter homes in 2 countries and have been blessed to be able to travel to 70-plus countries.  I am a passionate traveller and I eat almost anything put on my dinner plate (well, maybe not parsnips or bananas, go figure).  In my recent move to Huatulco, Mexico, from Cuenca, Ecuador, my local favourites had to be revised again!  Here are some of the things I have learned as my life shifts again. Continue reading Moving Again?  The Challenges of Learning About New Foods

The Commission Conundrum

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.50.29 AMBy Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

Craftspeople in the villages, even the odd restaurant owner and urban retailer, sometimes pay a commission, or a “thank you” sum of money, to tour companies or guides, drivers and cabbies who bring visitors to their establishments. It’s a fact of business internationally, not just in the state of Oaxaca. Although you might expect that a commission paid to your guide will predetermine what you see and where you stop, and you might not even be aware that it’s going on, it’s not always a bad thing that visitors should shun. Here in southern Mexico, the amount can be anywhere from 10 to 35 percent, perhaps even more. In some cases, it’s on top of a payment made simply for bringing a tour bus to a particular craft workshop, or in Oaxaca, say, a roadside mezcal factory.  Continue reading The Commission Conundrum

Favorite Foods from Afar and Where to Find Them in Mexico City

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.50.43 AMBy Carole Reedy

Our own Mexican cuisine always places high on favorite-foods lists. The world craves tacos, enchiladas, tortilla soup, and a refreshing Mexican beer. Most recently, Mexican wines have gained favor among sommeliers. But with variety the spice of life, we who live in or visit Mexico City occasionally enjoy a change of pace.   Continue reading Favorite Foods from Afar and Where to Find Them in Mexico City

The Many Uses of Annatto/Achiote

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 9.51.35 AMBy Julie Etra

Bixa orellana is the scientific name of a small tree or large shrub originally native to the state of Amazonas in Brazil, but which thrives in most tropical and semi-tropical climates. It is considered ‘native’ to Mexico and is found in suitable climates elsewhere in Central and South America. It is also known as achiote, or achiotl (“grain” or “seed” in Nahuatl, the native tongue of the Mexica, also known as the Aztecs).   Continue reading The Many Uses of Annatto/Achiote