I will be publishing a few older works.
May 4, 2014
Although I am not a renowned chef, I feel I am a good cook and pretty much obsessed with cooking. I too, could write a dissertation on Mexican food. I am so passionate about “all” foods and equally important is my respect for them. Cooking is about experiences and sharing nurturing stories with loved ones.
I was inspired to write this after reading an article by Anthony Bourdain today, of which I agree 100%; Mexican food is as complex as any great cuisines of the world. In addition to a friend recently stating that he has never considered Mexican food as gourmet! I’m not sure if I was hurt or angered! But, it definitely was an insult to me! I have had the honor and pleasure of eating moles from Puebla and Oaxaca. I have had carnitas from Tepatlitan, Jalisco, la creme de la creme. Some people now think that carnitas are fried chunks of pork, you can cook in the oven! To cook carnitas properly is truly an art, in a caso (copper pot) different regions of Mexico use different methods to finish them either using oranges, milk or coke for sealing and caramelizing the pork. As of recent, I have learned that birria can be made on the stovetop, I did not know this! I grew up eating birria, and it was a several day process of digging the hole, slaughtering the goat, preparing the goat for cooking with herbs and a dry rub of chiles, I recall my family using burlap sacks and leaves. In retrospect, I’m positive the burlap sacks were used in lieu of banana leaves and herbs traditionally used in Mexico, that they could not find here for flavor and to retain the heat. I have had the most delicious pozole from Jalisco. Great dishes from Yucatan with Mayan influences such as cochinita pibil. From Vera Cruz huachinango a la Veracruzana (red snapper with a spicy tomato sauce). And, chilies en nogada from Puebla, representing the colors of the Mexican flag.
And last but, not least my Mama was an amazing cook. Everything she prepared was delicious, she was so meticulous; that even the placement of food on your plate was important to her. Our food and the food of our forefathers has been reduced to people thinking Frito bowls & Taco Bell represents Mexican food. I realize and am all for freedom and creativity in cooking. I know of kimchi tacos popularity in Los Angeles and will support fusion food, to each his/her own! But, I also have the right to pass on them! I would prefer a pork belly taco, now we’re talking! I’m all for new experimentations. But, I also know I am “ole school,” and much prefer the traditional recipes of Mexico that will forever be held in high esteem by me. I will stand by my belief that chile verde should be green and not red and that spaghetti should not have diced weinies in it. (Written October 22, 2016). When foods are so amended, modified, diluted and adjusted to the point, the essence of what it originally was, is lost! I just don’t get it or want any part of it! I feel strongly committed to preserving the foods Mi Abuelita y Mama
taught me and I was raised with, they are very deep roots. The likes of “authentic” birria, carnitas, nopales con tortas de camarón, molés, chilaquiles y pozole to name but a few. Nowadays there are so many passing fads and trends in cooking. Here today gone tomorrow. These dishes have withstood the test of time. You know something has to be good when it’s survived hundreds of years relatively unchanged.