I have been in love with Mexican food and culture since I was 15 years old. If you know me, that’s a really long time. Attending a Catholic High School in Michigan, and on a college bound path, I was required to study a language. Not really interested in French or German, I opted for Spanish. I found it to be quite easy to learn and I enjoyed the methods of my teacher which included a grade boost for involvement in the Spanish Club. I didn’t need the grade boost, but I did need a reason to stay after school and get out of a few chores at home so needless to say, I joined. My high school Spanish Club often went out to eat at Mexican restaurants as many do. But the real benefit for me was to have a couple Hispanic kids in the club who agreed to teach us a few secrets about Mexican cuisine.
I learned how to make enchiladas and Spanish rice in that club. I made them for dinner at home, impressing my Greek-only parents. I learned the importance of pork fat and lard, softening the tortillas, and fresh cheese. But my scope of Mexican cuisine was limited to what was Mexican in Pontiac, Michigan in the 70’s.
Once in college, I met the wonderful Graciela. Graciela was a tiny dynamo who opened my Mexican horizons from a culture I had only observed, to a culture I began to love. While we were college roommates I witnessed the heart of Mexican-American culture firsthand. I learned how to make tortillas from scratch, enjoy posole and dance the cumbia.
I decided to study abroad in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after 3 years of college Spanish. Here, I learned another side to Mexican cuisine. Very different from most types of Mexican food we are familiar with in this country, La Comida Yucateca is complex, bright and intriguing. Ever since that trip, I have been studying Mexican cuisine and practicing cooking it.
Here are some of my family’s favorite dishes….
Homemade Guacamole with chips:
Diced onion,garlic, and Jalapeño or Serrano chiles
salt, pepper, chili powder,cumin and squeeze of lime
Sweat rice and onions in lard or bacon fat
Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes and 1tsp tomato paste
I serve topped with cotija cheese and salsa
Finally, THE best dish in all of Mexico….
Chicken in Mole:
My recipe is too complex for this post….contact me directly for some hints!
I use a lot of sesame and pumpkin seeds!
Trust me when I say there are never any leftovers!
I hope to continue my love affair with all things Mexico and I continue to visit there as often as I can.#IFWTWA