Silky Flan

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This is a blog about Mexican cuisine, but how well we know that cultures cross, mixing and blending together into improved versions of the original. Many years ago I discovered this flan, otherwise known as crème caramel in French, as a guest at a country house in northern France. Our  hostess served it to my three year old son, my youngest sister  and me at the end of a sumptuous meal at a table set by a roaring fire in this country house. The impeccable French hospitality created a welcoming ambiance, leaving us with warm memories of the evening. I can remember almost everything from that meal about 30 years ago, everything prepared to perfection.  But it was the flan (crème caramel)  that came as a revelation. I wondered why I had ever tolerated those overly sweet, rubbery, rich things that looked like Swiss cheese. In Mexico and other countries in Latin America, condensed milk is … [Read more...]

Chilacayote Empanadas

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Yesterday, Memorial Day 2013, I wrote in my journal: On a day like today my son was buried, at the very front of neat, diagonal rows of tombstones. The empty, verdant field in front of his grave where his mother and father gasped in anguish at the sight of his casket on that day, is now a fully populated landscape, filled with the lost dreams of young lives ripped away from this earth so early, so incomprehensibly. The rows grew from Alex's grave in all directions, of those young who still lived, breathed, and dreamed they would survive, when Alex was lowered into the ground. So much was lost and buried forever, never to be found again. I could not bear to write about celebratory food. I longed to write about memories of times past, memories that didn't tread anywhere near the symbols of this day. Would you humor me with my recipe for empanadas which I learned from my aunt in … [Read more...]

Fava Bean Soup

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After a week's worth of splendid weather in San Miguel de Allende and festivities with family and friends leading up to Easter Sunday, getting back to the classroom has been, frankly, difficult. I love my job as a teacher and always delight in seeing my students after a long break. But I'm also thinking of my trip over Spring Break, the recent memories like the sun warming my back. … [Read more...]

Mixing Cultures: Capirotada for Alex

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In the spirit of the season, please enjoy this re-post of one of our favorite family recipes. GVC … [Read more...]

Recipe Review: Diana Kennedy’s Lenten Beans

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I recently purchased Diana Kennedy's book Oaxaca al Gusto, a 400 page tome on the indigenous food of Oaxaca, which, in many cases, is unknown even to many Mexicans outside of these valleys. Here you will find recipes with the fundamental building blocks of the food of the region: chocolate, chiles, and corn. And, as Adriana Legaspi has argued, these meals are not just a means of nourishment, but, rather, an important way to understand how they fit within ancient traditions practiced by the community. … [Read more...]