Sep 14, 2004, 10:36 AM
Post #1 of 25
A thread on another Mexico Connect forum has touched tangentially upon this topic but it strikes me that the subject of the availabilty of high quality produce in Mexico vs. that availability in the United States is one that spawns what I will call exotic myth enhancement.
When I was a kid, I never traveled outside of my native deep south so, when I finally gained my freedom, I became a compulsive world traveler. For the first time in my life, I experienced the wonders of exotic foods from Ethipoia to India and it was like a new awakening. For a young and inexperienced person, the excitement of observing, smelling and feeling exotic lands and tasting their foods is transcendent. Later, one views life in far flung lands through a jaded prism. The tomato first purchased in a Paris street market or the fish consumed in Provence on the sea is always better than the mundane every day comestible purchased at the local Safeway in Fresno. This is simply human nature.
But, now, I have to propose, although not so seriously as to start a riot, that there are many among us whose taste buds and eyesight have become less acute upon their arrival in Mexico and, therefore, even though the produce available here, either in supermarkets or street stalls, is, generally speaking, demonstrably inferior to like foodstuffs available in metropolitan areas of the United States in both taste and quality , these folks are convinced that these products are of higher quality than those available from whence they came. Thus, we have the amusing spectacle of local tianguis or municipal market vendors heading to the nearest wholesale market early in the morning and buying commercially grown produce to sell to star crossed gringos walking about in funky surroundings and admiring the same products they would view with disdain at WalMart on the same day.
On the other forum, a poster speaks of the fact that, in the United States, tomatoes are bred for tough skins and picked green so as to facilitate harvesting, shipping and enhanced shelf life. Is there some sort of myopia suffered by NOB expats that they cannot see that Mexico emulates these same practices and that these are the products they are purchasing in the so-called farmers' markets throughout Mexico?
Now, I will posit a theory that some of you will not like. This is a form of racism. You will grow out of this when you hold people in your adopted land to the same standard you held those in your native land. You will know that you are approaching this milestone when you begin to notice how dreadful their tomatoes are down here.
And, I haven't even brought up the subject of the generally bad quality of meats available here.