Regions and States

Tlaxcala crestThe state of Tlaxcala is part of the Central Highlands Region of Mexico, along with the states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Mexico (State of), Mexico City, Morelos, Puebla and Querétaro.

The land-locked state of Tlaxcala, Mexico’s smallest state in area, is mostly on Mexico’s high central plateau, though the state’s eastern sections rise into the La Malinche National Park in the Eastern Sierra Madre.

The capital city of Tlaxcala — Tlaxcala City — forms a continuous metropolitan area that extends to the city of Puebla in the next state. The combined metropolitan area is the country’s 4th largest, with a population over 3.1 million.

Tlaxcala City has many colonial-era buildings including Mexico’s oldest church dating from 1521 and several former monasteries. Cultural and sporting activities include bullfights, colorful folk dancing and the laying of elaborate flower and sawdust carpets on religious holidays.

Here are select articles and recipes related to Tlaxcala:


Atrium of San Antonio de Padua Convent © 2020 Jane Simon Ammeson

A fun afternoon in Izamal, Yucatan: a Pueblo Magico in Shades of Yellow

I’m traveling along narrow cobblestone streets flanked on both sides by rows of adobe buildings washed with bright yellow and accented with white trim and large ceramic pots brimming with colorful blooms. My mode of transportation is a white “coche Victoria” (or calesa) pulled by a mule named Dolly, garlanded with flowers and a hat […]

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This impressive ultra-modern building houses Camara de la Industria de Transformación de Nuevo León or CAINTRA, as well as the offices of an industrial organization called the Instituto Mexicano de Innovación y Technología en Plásticos y Hule A.C. © Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr. 2020

Research and innovation in the plastics industry in Nuevo Leon

Friends call me Joe.  I’ve spent most of the past two decades working in the plastics business, or as it’s called in Mexico, “plásticos.” I work for a New York-based supplier of materials for industry, and am tasked with generating sales at companies that can use our products to make pipe or electrical cables. There’s […]

Exvotos at the Annex. Credit: Luis A. Dumois N.

Toribio Romo: the patron saint of migrants

José de Jesús is a dark-skinned young man who wears cowboy boots and a Texan hat. He arrives to Santa Ana de Guadalupe in a pickup truck flashing US license plates. He drove all the way down from Colorado to greet the saint: Haga clic aquí si prefiere leer este artículo en español “A friend […]

Frida Kahlo. 1952. “Naturaleza Viva.” This earlier work was the basis for “Congreso de los pueblos por la paz.”

Frida Kahlo’s Homage to Afromexico

On 29 June 2020, Sotheby’s held an auction that included one of the last paintings Frida Kahlo ever painted. The small work, which she completed while confined to her bed, was her contribution to the Peoples for Peace Congress held in Vienna in 1952. Sotheby’s estimated that “Congreso de los pueblos por la paz” would […]


Hanal Pixan, Maya Day of the Dead in Pac Chen, Quintana Roo

The monkeys, they tell me, are asleep in a cave across the lagoon. But other than that disappointment, my trip to Pac Chen, a micro sized Maya village in the jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula, is the perfect way to step back in time. To get here from Playa del Carmen, our home base, we […]

Mermaid by Teodora Blanco Nuñez. Photo: Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art

Women potters lead the way in Oaxaca

A great deal of Oaxaca’s charm is the appearance of a timeless culture, even in the face of sprawling modernization. Its strong handcraft tradition reinforces this notion, and at first glance, it looks like all is done just like it was a hundred years ago. But there has been important innovation, with a number of […]

Mexico City. © 2020 Edythe Anstey Hanen

Mayhem and Magic in Mexico City

Mexico is a country of extraordinary contradictions, a country in a state of always becoming; the heartbeat of a thousand beginnings: half built casas, crumbling stone fences, walls, piles of rocks coming from nowhere, leading nowhere, trailing off into nothing. A place where the sacred and the profane co-exist in this timeless. immutable landscape. It […]

Mexican llamarada blossoms © Christina Stobbs, 2011

Living year-round in tropical Mexico: The dream and the reality

Dreaming of living in tropical paradise year-round? Somewhere with an idyllic sandy beach adorned with dancing palms and crystal clear warm ocean waters? Can you envision waking each morning to the sweet melodies of birdsong and beginning each day with a long, leisurely beach walk? Can you appreciate enjoying a breathtaking view while drinking a […]

Shallow waves lap at snall boats with outboard motors on the beach at Los Ayala on the Pacific coast of Mexico. © Christina Stobbs, 2009

Los Ayala: undiscovered gem on the Nayarit coast

Los Ayala is situated at the foot of the Sierra de Vallejo Mountains. An undiscovered gem, Los Ayala is an authentic Mexican beach town and a fishing village. It is just now beginning to be discovered as a tropical beach destination by foreign tourists. The setting for the town is reminiscent of the Garden of […]

Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

Dolores Hidalgo: Mexico’s Cradle of Independence – September 15, 1810

As you walk toward the main square from the bus terminal in Dolores Hidalgo, it’s hard to imagine the impassioned frenzy that heated this Mexican village on September 15, 1810. Here, on the balcony of his home, the town’s beloved priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, yelled “El Grito de Dolores,” the Cry of Independence. It was a cry that […]

Mezcala Island © Belva Velazquez, 2008

Lake Chapala – a local history

…Ah! Chapala you have the magic of a story book stories of sunsets and earthenware, of romantic moonlit nights Peaceful Chapala, your lake – a romantic bride like none other.. Chapala, embedded in the central part of Jalisco, is “a place of flower vases of fragrant clay and small earthenware pots”, known also as “The […]


Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in poetry — Shooting Script: Door of Fire

Eastern Washington University Press, 2003 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Decades after their deaths, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera continue to fascinate us, compelling us to still pay attention to them, through works like Frida: A Biography, by Hayden Herrera (1983); or, derived from Herrera’s book, Frida (2002) — starring look-a-like Salma Hayek — a movie that should have won a few Academy Awards; […]

Dresses. © Marisa Burton 2018.

La Quinceañera: a celebration of budding womanhood

The transition from childhood to womanhood is a significant passage for adolescent girls in almost all cultures. In Mexico, it is marked with the celebration of the Quinceañera, or 15th Birthday. From a north-of-the-border viewpoint, it may be seen as a cross between Sweet Sixteen and a debutante’s coming out party. The celebration is a […]

Juan Compo. Tree Goddess

Juan Compo and his Ancient American Goddess Art

Ancient American Goddess images by Juan Compo, in paintings, murals, wall hangings, posters and fabrics, are now in private collections in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Juan Compo is the name chosen by a fifth generation Canadian artist who built his Mexican studio in Ajijic on Lake Chapala in 1991. Viewers of a like-mind are […]

Mexico, A Love Story: Women Write About the Mexican Experience

Mexico, A Love Story: women write about the Mexican experience

Mexico, A Love Story: Women Write About the Mexican Experience Camille Cusumano, Editor, Seal Press: 2006 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Mexico is a country infused with goddess energy. When you’re in her arms, you want to stay there, cradled in her warm, moist smells, re-charged by her underbelly of pulsating earth energy, and sustained by […]

The Mexican crest

Did You Know? Some national symbols in Mexico are not what they seem

This month, Mexico celebrates her birthday, the anniversary of her independence from Spain. On the evening of September 15, the annual El Grito ceremony is held in town plazas all across the country. For several days prior to this celebration, town plazas are besieged by vendors selling national flags in a tide of nationalistic fervor. The story […]

whale shark

Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun: An underwater safari

About 25 miles off Cancún’s northeastern coast, past Isla Mujeres and far into the Caribbean waters, some of the largest known sea creatures loll their summers away. They are whale sharks, a gray-and-white spotted fish that can measure up to 40 feet long and weigh more than 15 tons. That’s bigger than many dinosaurs.

A charra dressed as a China Poblana © Dale Hoyt Palfrey 2007

September 14, Day of the Charro

Gallery: September 14, Day of the Charro (Photos by Dale Hoyt Palfrey) The Day of the Charro, celebrated on September 14 in Mexico, oft times is overshadowed by the multitudinous fiestas, speeches and fireworks celebrating Independence Day on September 16. In his elegant costume and wide sombrero, the charro is a cowboy but also a gentleman. With […]

A feast for the eye: A painterly view of Mexican food Rita Pomade

Mexican Cuisine and its Origin

The popularity of the Mexican cuisine around the world attests to the tremendous variety of dishes coming from far and wide across our country. Love of Mexican food shows an appreciation not only for the constant process of search and discovery of the right combination of the ingredients, but for the great Mexican imagination. The […]

Photo by David McCollam

The cuisine of the Yucatan: a gastronomical tour of the Maya heartland

The Mexican state of Yucatan, located on the peninsula of the same name, is the home of one of the most distinctive regional cuisines in the country. A long tradition of fine dining, going back to the ancient Maya and incorporating sophisticated European dishes, is very much in evidence in the cities, towns and villages […]

cover of Seeker by Rita Pomade

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey by Rita Pomade (Guernica Editions, 2019)

The title – Seeker: A Sea Odyssey  – is illustrative because the adventure at sea that this book chronicles is indeed one, which reflects the epic journey of Odysseus, with tropical storms, pirates, paradisiacal islands, mystical beliefs, palm readings, predictions, shattered sails, and a broken mast. Also, beneath it all is a relationship strained to the […]

Tingambato, Michoacán. © Rick Meyer  2006

Ancient tombs and skulls in Tingambato, Michoacan

Descending from the mountains, the original (non-toll) Pátzcuaro-Uruapan highway enters avocado-growing country at Tingambato. South of the present-day village of Tingambato is the major archaeological site of Tinganio, one of the few sites in Western Mexico where there are genuine pyramids. The site was excavated in 1978 and 1979 by one of Mexico’s top archaeologists, […]

Exvotos at the Annex. Credit: Luis A. Dumois N.

Toribio Romo: El santo patrono de los migrantes

José de Jesús es un joven moreno que viste botas vaqueras y sombrero tejano. Llega a Santa Ana de Guadalupe en una camioneta con placas de los Estados Unidos. Viene desde Colorado para saludar al santo. Click here if you prefer to read this article in English “Un amigo y yo nos fuimos de Jalos […]

German Valdes "Tan Tan" prepares pollo a la plancha in "Paso a la juventud" (1957), directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares © Producciones Diana Internacional, Coleccion IMCINE

Cinematic cuisine: Mexican recipes from a Golden Age

I read cookbooks the way some people devour novels, not with the casual perusal of, say, a newspaper or a magazine, but with the curl-up-and-dig-in enjoyment of die hard mystery or romance fans. Many, though not all, of the cookbooks I’ve read in the last 25 years or so are Mexican, and my favorites are […]


The Maya civilization, cities of the Maya

The material splendor of the Maya culture is appreciated, more than in any other field, in the architecture and ornamentation of their cities. These city-states were the center of power for the king-priests who administered the obedience, the tribute and the manpower of the people who believed in them. Many Maya cities and ceremonial centres […]

Coconut ready to drain the milk © Sergio Wheeler, 2011

Coconut and lemongrass rice: Arroz con coco y te limon

This was the perfect accompaniment to the grilled tuna. Use fresh lemongrass, rather than the dried version sold to make tea. Ingredients 2 tablespoons vegetable oil such as canola or peanut, or use coconut oil if available 1 cup rice, washed until water runs clear and left in a strainer to dry 1 6 inch […]

Mexican beet and mango salad © Karen Hursh Graber, 2013

Mexican beet and mango salad: Ensalada de betabel y mango

A lightly dressed summer salad, Mexican beet and mango salad is good with grilled chicken or fish. Make sure to use mangos that are not overripe, so that they keep their shape when cubed. Ingredients 4 large beets, steamed or roasted, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes 2 firm, ripe mangos, peeled and cut into ½ […]

Monument to the Niños Heroes with Chapultepec Castle in the background © Rick Meyer, 1999

Child heroes and Mexico myths

The September 13, 1847 capture of Chapultepec Castle by U.S. Marines made a paragraph in a MexConnect listing of significant events by geographer, historian and all-around good guy Tony Burton. This was war. Fighting had reached Mexico City. Men were dying. Generals surrendered but there were numerous acts of bravery, including the celebrated stand by […]

Fresh hierbabuena, or spearmint leaves © Daniel Wheeler, 2009

Spearmint sorbet: Sorbet de hierba buena

A light dessert or a refreshing palate cleanser, this uses one of the most popular herbs in Mexico, but it also goes well with Thai food, with which Mexican cuisine has several ingredients in common. Ingredients 1 cup fresh spearmint leaves (hierbabuena) washed 3 cups water ¾ cups sugar Juice of ½ fresh lime (or […]

RIP Rolly


Our dearly departed Rolly would have celebrated his 89th birthday today, 20 August 2020. Our tribute to Rolly (1931-2015) Rolly’s co-authored book on moving to Mexico Rolly Brook’s website (2000-2015) He may now be holding court in a higher world but will always be remembered by his friends and readers in this one.

Yucatan crest

Yucatan (state)

The state of Yucatán is part of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula Region, along with the states of Campeche and Quintana Roo. This region is the ancestral home of the Maya. The state’s capital city is the colonial city of Mérida, known as the “white city.” The state of Yucatán was important, historically, for sisal production. Several […]

Beautiful paths through the gardens. Photo: Edythe Anstey Hanen

Preserving the Past: The Cactus Gardens of Cadereyta de Montes

If Mexico calls to you with its old-world beauty, its bloody but glorious history, its rich culture and the profound pride and love of life that is reflected in the faces of its people, then like me, you will never tire of searching out the country’s endless natural treasures. From the cathedrals of power to […]


Welcome to the new MexConnect!

If you are new to MexConnect, we hope you enjoy the site and discover its incredible richness of information. If you are a previous reader of the site, we hope you will take the time to discover how truly powerful the new design is as a means of discovering all your old favorites, as well […]

Blue Demon takes on assorted bad guys in mano a mano lucha libre combat. © Anthony Wright, 2009 © Anthony Wright, 2009

Dining at the lucha libre: An unlikely seafood feast

Mexican Kitchen We’d always thought it would be fun to see the lucha libre, or “free fight,” that colorful form of professional wrestling wildly popular in Mexico. After many years in the country, my husband and I had bought countless wrestling dolls, wrestling masks, wrestling themed tee shirts, purses and refrigerator magnets for eager friends and family […]

A good way to get the seed out of the avocado without much effort is by letting the blade of a knife fall into it and twisting to release the seed from the creamy pulp. © Daniel Wheeler, 2009

Avocado soup with tequila: Sopa de aguacate con tequila

This cream of avocado soup uses tequila in place of the traditional sherry. It is a refreshing first course or, served with a salad, a light spring or summer lunch. The ingredients should be well-chilled before the soup is blended. Ingredients 4 medium Haas avocados, cut in half, pits removed, and pulp scooped out 3 […]

Bronze earrings by Mexican artisan Armando Lozano take the shape of masks. © Alvin Starkman 2008

Armando Lozano Ramirez, master sculptor and jeweler: Oaxaca’s “man of steel”

A Voice from Oaxaca Some 30 years ago, a youthful 27-year-old acquired a piece of machinery by chance. Not knowing exactly what to do with it, or how it could somehow become a positive factor in his life, he took a gamble and purchased some modest tools and metal. Armando Lozano Ramírez was then living […]

Native to Mexico and the rest of tropical America, the dwarf poinciana blooms in orange-red and yellow flowers. © Linda Abbott Trapp 2009

Crossandra, mango and jellybean plant: ornamental plants and flowers of tropical Mexico

Common names, scientific names, use and care, cultivation and propagation tips, flowering habits, history and little-known facts for the curious tourist or resident. Family: Acanthaceae Alternate Names: Firecracker Flower. The scientific name is from the Greek, meaning “fringed antlers.” Use: This tropical shrub is originally from India but is widely cultivated for its beautiful, long-lasting flowers. It is […]

Mamay © 2018 Marisa Burton

Mexican frozen treats: Helados, nieves and paletas

The long, nasal cry of the ice cream vendor reverberates throughout the mercado. On a busy market day, he has some serious competition from people hawking other wares, but he trundles along with his huge wooden containers, successfully drowning out many of the other vendors. “¡Nieve-e-e-e-e-s!” The Spanish word for snow, a general term for frozen treats in […]

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diving group

Diving in Cancun

Unlike Cozumel with its abundance of dive shops, Cancun is home to only ten. But, as I discovered, this city has much to offer a diver looking for a unique diving experience. Located twelve miles from Cozumel on the mainland, Cancun is home to some of the best diving found anywhere. While many people know […]

The costumes worn by Conchero Dancers can easily cost a life's savings. They are heavily influenced by Miztec or Aztec design.

Masks and feather headdresses: Mexicans celebrate danzas

Mexicans love to wear masks, to dance and make music in a blazing display of fireworks, feasting and shooting off pistols. Appearances are deceptive; even the poorest pueblo collects money to celebrate the patron saint’s day, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Independence Day and whatever else calls for gaiety and loud noise. Religious and historical dances […]

Monarch butterflies in a Michoacan sanctuary © Tony Burton, 1997

Butterflies by the million : the Monarchs of Michoacán

Every winter, more than one hundred million monarch butterflies fly into Mexico from the U.S. and Canada. On arrival they congregate in a dozen localities high in the temperate pine and fir forests of the state of Michoacán. As a species, monarchs are native to North America, but they subsequently island-hopped their way around the […]


Mexican microeconomics: The Tuesday market in San Miguel de Allende

Like a shimmering mirage that lasts only until your next blink, the Tuesday Market, or tianguis, appears once a week at dawn, assembled upon a vast windswept concrete slab near the parking lot of the San Miguel municipal sports complex. Just as quickly, it evaporates after sunset. Each week, from battered pickups and vans, a hoard of […]


Huatulco, Oaxaca



La Paz, Baja California Sur



Lake Chapala: Chapala, Ajijic, Jalisco



Merida, Yucatan

The beautiful colonial city of Mérida is the capital city of the state of Yucatán. It consistently ranks high on the list of the “most livable” cities in Mexico. Among Mérida’s latest attractions for visitors is a museum 40 kilometers away that explains the Chicxulub Crater – the crater resulting from an asteroid impact 65 […]


Patzcuaro, Michoacan



Cancun, Quintana Roo



Gulf Coast Region

Below are selected articles and recipes from Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz, the three states that form the Gulf Coast Region of Mexico. To see ALL articles and recipes related to this region, please use the following individual state links: Tabasco         – Articles   or   Recipes Tamaulipas   – Articles   or   Recipes Veracruz        […]


Cuernavaca, Morelos



Guadalajara, Jalisco


Nuevo Leon crest

Nuevo Leon

The state of Nuevo León is part of the Northern Mexico Region, along with the states of Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, San Luis Potosí, and Zacatecas. The state is an industrial powerhouse, centered on Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city. The state has an unusual, elongated shape: it is very much longer north-south than west-east. The state […]

Coahuila crest


The state of Coahuila is part of the Northern Mexico Region, along with the states of Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, and Zacatecas. Coahuila is Mexico’s third largest state in land area and known for its mining and industrial activities. The largest city in the state, and the state capital, is Saltillo. […]

Durango crest


The state of Durango is part of the Northern Mexico Region, along with the states of Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, and Zacatecas. The state capital is the city of Durango. Set in basin and range country (think Western movies), the state of Durango was a center for the Mexican movie […]

Guerrero crest


The state of Guerrero is part of the Southern Mexico Region, along with the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. The inland city of Chilpancingo is the state capital, but the state’s most famous city is Acapulco, the major, long-established tourist resort on the Pacific coast. The tourist town of Taxco, in the mountains of the […]

Oaxaca crest


The state of Oaxaca is part of the Southern Mexico Region, along with the states of Chiapas and Guerrero. It is Mexico’s fifth largest state in land area (93,793 square kilometers) and tenth most populous state (about 4 million inhabitants), The state has an extraordinary variety of landscapes, climates and natural vegetation, ranging from high […]


San Miguel de Allende



Northern Mexico Region

Below are selected articles and recipes from Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas, the seven states that form the Northern Mexico Region. To see ALL articles and recipes related to this region, please use the following individual state links: Aguascalientes – Articles   or   Recipes Chihuahua        […]

Chiapas crest


The state of Chiapas is part of the Southern Mexico Region, along with the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. About 20% of the population of Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state, belong to one or other of the state’s numerous indigenous groups, which include various Maya groups and the Lacandon Indians. Chiapas’s tourist sector is based on […]


Southern Mexico Region

Below are selected articles and recipes from Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the three states that form the Southern Mexico Region. To see ALL articles and recipes related to this region, please use the following individual state links: Chiapas – Articles / Recipes Guerrero – Articles / Recipes Oaxaca – Articles / Recipes In socio-economic terms, […]

Quintana Roo crest

Quintana Roo

The state of Quintana Roo is part of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula Region, along with the states of Campeche and Yucatán. This region is the ancestral home of the Maya. The state’s capital city is Chetumal, in the south of the state. Much more famous is the purpose-built international tourist destination of Cancún in the north […]

Campeche crest


The small state of Campeche is part of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula Region, along with the states of Yucatán and Quintana Roo. This region is the ancestral home of the Maya. The state’s capital city is Campeche, a colonial city which still preserves some of its ancient city walls and has UNESCO World Heritage status. Away […]

Caldo mixe

Oaxaca’s Sierra Mixe: Exploring an ancient cuisine

On a shelf under the glass top of our coffee table sit two singular and beloved pieces of pottery, reminders of a visit to a wildly beautiful region with a distinctive culture. They bring back vivid memories of the Sierra Mixe, a unique part of the state of Oaxaca with an ancient culinary heritage. One […]

© 2000 by Maria Elena.

El Panteon: Cuernavaca’s new cemetery

In Cuernavaca, on the top of a hilly barranca, parallel to Calle Morelos on its way out of town, lies a beautiful new cemetery. A Panteon, already lush with bougainvillea and shrubbery lovingly planted on graves and crypts. Trees had been left standing, framing the natural landscaping and parading like sentinels for the dead on the upper levels of […]

This unrenovated home on Paseo de Montejo is for sale -- a wonderful opportunity to live in a historic mansion. © John McClelland, 2007

Devil of a good time in Merida, Mexico’s white city

It is pushing midnight on a Thursday, but you’d never know it by the looks of Maternity Park in the central historic district of Merida, Mexico. Cafes on the square are jammed, shops bustling, the streets electric with energetic life. In this open-air setting, young sweethearts sip cocktails and entire families gather for late al […]

Riding the cart to the train, near Ixhuatan, Oaxaca © Tony Burton 1985

Did you know? Mexico has many “Est”raordinary railway places

An earlier column, “Microwaves (with a view)”, examined the scenic delights to be found by following the “Microondas” road signs that puzzle many first-time visitors. That column probably didn’t appeal to any passing historians, but another road-sign abbreviation, “EST”, could easily have been invented just for them. EST stands for Estación. In some contexts, this would […]

The Battle of Calderon Bridge (Tony Burton)

Did you know? Independence battle map is upside down

The battle in question is the Battle of Calderon Bridge (Batalla del Puente de Calderon), fought just outside Guadalajara in January 1811 as part of Mexico’s fight for Independence. The decisive battle was waged on the morning of Thursday, January 17. Imagine the scene. One side, led by Ignacio Allende, had some eighty thousand ill-equipped […]

Huazontle with onions and cumin © Daniel Wheeler, 2010

Cumin flavored Mexican huazontle with onions

Cumin flavored Mexican huazontle with onions: Huazontle con cebollas y comino This is a quick and easy side dish, a flavorful accompaniment to simple grilled or roasted meat or poultry. The recipe is adapted from 1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore. Ingredients 1 pound huazontle bud clusters (the tops, with stems and leaves removed) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 […]

Dried shrimp makes a surprising but tasty addition to pico de gallo or fresh salsa mexicana — chopped tomato, onion and serrano chile © Karen Hursh Graber, 2013

Fresh Mexican salsa and dried shrimp appetizer

Fresh Mexican salsa and dried shrimp appetizer: Pico de gallo con camaron seco A lively accompaniment to margaritas or cold beer, this fresh Mexican salsa and dried shrimp appetizer needs to be made as close as possible to serving time. The soaking is crucial here, so that the dried shrimp doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients. […]

Caldo mixe

Mixe meat and vegetable soup: Caldo mixe

Although the Mixe do not eat meat on a daily, or even frequent, basis, they do go all out for a fiesta, and this rich, flavorful meat and vegetable soup soup uses as many kinds of meat as people can get. Either fresh or dried beef, plus both chicken and turkey, are frequently used. This […]

Scene from "Pasion jarocho" (1949), directed by Carlos Vejar © Producciones Churubusco, Coleccion IMCINE

Whole fish in Mexican green sauce: Pescado en verde

What better recipes to accompany a still from the 1944 film Pasión Jarocho, or “Veracruz Passion?” This classic regional dish od whole fish in Mexican green sauce goes perfectly with the story of lovers in a small Mexican fishing village who seem destined to be kept apart by rumors and jealousy. Will Rosalinda and Hugo ever find […]

Fresh papaya seeds have a spicy, peppery flavor. © Daniel Wheeler, 2009

Papaya seed salad dressing: Aderezo de semilla de papaya

This tangy dressing is perfect for a salad of mixed greens. The recipe was adapted from one by Vicky Cowell, who writes an interesting and informative food column for the Herald Mexico, Mexico’s English language newspaper. Ingredients: 2 teaspoons sugar ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon dry mustard 4 large scallions, coarsely chopped 1/3 cup white wine vinegar […]

Mexican guavas go well with pork © Sergio Wheeler, 2011

Mexican pork tenderloins with guavas

Mexican pork tenderloins with guavas: Escalopas de cerdo con guayabas The Mexicans, like the Chinese, have created some wonderful dishes combining pork with fruit. Pork tenderloins with guavas is an example of the inventiveness of nouvelle Mexican cuisine. Escalopas de cerdo con guayabas have the same sweet-and-sour tanginess of many oriental dishes. The seeds of the guava […]

Salsa de Pera © Karen Hursh Graber, 2013

Mexican pear salsa: Salsa de peras

The white pear flesh, green herbs and red onion give this salsa the colors of the Mexican flag and the Christmas season. Just as tasty as it is visually appealing, Mexican pear salsa goes well with pork and is a nice accompaniment to simple grilled pork chops or a holiday roast. Ingredients 1 ½ pounds […]

Chayotes in a street market resemble green pears © Daniel Wheeler 2009

Chayote: Squash dresses up for the holidays

In the fall, my culinary thoughts inevitably turn to Thanksgiving. Although it is not celebrated as a legal holiday in Mexico, it is called El Día de Acción de Gracias, and some of my fondest holiday memories are of the Thanksgiving dinners put together by the American faculty members at the university where I worked in Puebla. […]

The secret to perfect Mexican guacamole is a flavorful, ripe avocado. © Jeanine Thurston, 2011

Avocado Mousse: Mousse de Aguacate

The mousse may be made in a six-cup ring mold or individual molds. It is frequently served in Mexico with camarón pacotillo – small cooked cocktail shrimp – in the center of the ring or as a garnish on individual molds. Ingredients: 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin 1 ½ cups chicken or shrimp broth 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed […]

Ingredients © Daniel Wheeler, 2010

Blackberry atole: Atole de mora

A traditional early morning or late night favorite in the Sierra de Puebla, this atole makes a warming, nutritious breakfast drink. Kids love the purple color. Ingredients 1 cup blackberries 4 cups milk 2 tablespoons cornstarch ¼ cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Place the berries and 2 cups of the milk in a blender and puree. […]

Herbs in a botica or yerberia in Amarillo are sold by the ounce or bag, and the price of the herb will include advice from the yerbero who will specify what quantity of the herb to use and how to take it. The most common form is herbal teas. In other cases the herb may be applied directly to the affected area. © John G. Gladstein, 2010

Mexico’s alternative medicine in Amarillo, Texas

In Mexico, alternative medicine has long been popular. With the increase of healthcare costs, insurance, traditional medicines and a visit to the doctor’s office in the U.S., many people are seeking alternative means to treat ailments, both physical and mental. “In most cases with non-traditional treatment, there is no language barrier, no need for an […]

A message declaring "Palm Sunday" spins atop a castillo during Palm Sunday festivities in Mexico. © Julia Taylor, 2007

Fireworks artist: José Zuñiga, castillero

Jose Zuñiga has been making castillos for the better part of 25 years. His father was a Maestro de Fuegos Artificiales, and from boyhood, he remembers being part of the family business. Today, he runs his own fabrica, with 5 men who help with the armature, delivery and illumination of Mexico’s favorite fiesta perk. Castillos are lightweight towers of cane and wood, which […]


Savory Pea Pudding: Budín de Chícharo

This is a Mexican classic, which can also be made by substituting corn or carrots for the peas. The recipe is adapted from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy. Although it calls for sugar, this is a first course or side dish, rather than a dessert.   2 pounds fresh or frozen peas 3 eggs, […]


Yucatan Fish Panuchos: Panuchos de Pescado

Combining the classic Yucatecan ingredients of achiote seasoning, black beans and pickled red onions, true panuchos need to be made with fresh tortillas that will inflate when placed on the comal or griddle, so that the thin top layer (called the “pancita”) puffs up while it is heating up. If you do not have access to […]


Oyster mushroom chileatole: Chileatole de setas

Mushrooms proliferate in the mist-covered hills of north central Veracruz, the only place I have ever seen chileatole made with them, in this case with setas or oyster mushrooms. It would probably work with other fresh, wild mushrooms, but for me, the meaty texture of oyster mushrooms is perfect for this soup, which manages to be rustic and elegant […]


Mayan cold avocado soup with ginger: Sopa fria de aguacate con jenjibre

This recipe is adapted from one at the Mayan Beach Garden on the Costa Maya. Avocados should not be cut in advance of using, since they oxidize quickly, turning their beautiful yellow-green color into an unappetizing brown. Tossing with lime juice will prevent some of this, but cutting avocados is not a “do ahead” recipe […]


Mexican-style beef in broth with carrots: Chambarete en caldillo con zanahorias

Carrots add a subtle sweetness to broths, and beef shanks — with their rich, tasty marrow (called tuétano in Mexico) — make an extra nourishing broth. Ingredients 6 beef shanks 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 bay leaves 1 sprig […]


Fried cutlet torta: Torta de milanesa

While a torta can be filled with any kind of savory sandwich filling, the beans, avocado and tomato are always present. Leave out the onion if you are not a fan, or substitute mayonnaise for the crema; some torterías use melted butter instead of crema. The milanesa is probably the most popular filling, and part of its appeal is the crunch of […]


Ceviche De Camarón

Ingredients 2 pounds of shrimp 1 white onion 2 or 3 seeded jalapeno peppers 2 peeled and seeded tomatoes 1 large ripe avocado How to Prepare Mince and mix all ingredients together squeeze enough lime juice over top to cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally until shrimp are pink (cooked), 3 to 4 hours. Published or […]


Mixed Green Salad With Passion Fruit Dressing: Ensalada Mixta Con Aderezo De Maracuya

Passion fruit pulp is now more readily available north of the border than it is in Mexico. Here we have to wait for maracuya to come into season, whereas in the north, it is available year round in the form of Welch’s frozen passion fruit pulp. Coriander seeds, a characteristic ingredient of many fruit vinaigrettes, are not […]


Beef short ribs with pumpkin: Costilla de res con calabaza

The combination of meat and squash is typically West African, combined here with tomatoes, an indigenous Mexican ingredient, and spices introduced by the Spaniards. The original recipe, as presented by Raquel Torres and Dora Elena Carriaga in Recetario Afromestizo de Veracruz leaves out the tomatoes and spices, but nowadays most jarocha cooks use them.   2 tablespoons vegetable oil […]


Poblano Corn Chowder: Crema Poblana

This is probably the most famous soup from the Puebla region. This version is thicker and more textured than most, more of a chowder than the creamy pureed version often found on poblano menus.   3 tablespoons butter 6 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 medium onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 ½ […]


Chicken Enchiladas in Peanut and Almond Sauce: Enchiladas en Cacahuate y Almendras

This is a delicious and unique version of enchiladas, reminiscent of the chicken in nut sauces served in Oaxaca and Veracruz. If you can’t find raw peanuts, use the ones that come already roasted in bags, and in that case, do not toast them. If you do use raw peanuts, be sure to remove the […]


Sweet and sour tomatillo conserve: Tomates verdes encurtidos

Visually, these remind me of the pickled green tomatoes that are nearly always on the table in New York’s kosher delis. But the sweet-and-sour vinaigrette, with the addition of green chiles, makes them very much a unique product of Chihuahua Mennonite kitchens. Chilacas are long, fresh green chiles, mild to medium hot, commonly found in […]


Cream of Sweet Potato Soup: Crema de Camote

Cremas, or cream soups, are popular all over Mexico, especially as first courses on wedding menus. The addition of sherry at the end makes this a good starter for a festive fall dinner. Ingredients: ½ cup chopped white onion 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons butter 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 3 cups chicken […]


Chipotle Chiles in Spicy Sauce: Chipotles Adobados

These have become a kitchen staple, both north and south of the border. Besides using them to make the currently popular “chipotle mayonnaise,” they can be added to sauces, marinades, salad dressings, soups and stews. I like the homemade chipotles adobados much better than the canned because the taste of fresh tomatoes is missing in the canned […]


Tehuana Mamas Cook Up Magic: Food and Fiestas in the Isthmus

Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of Oaxaca is the tremendous difference between one region of the state and another. The sierras which crisscross it form natural boundaries between enclaves of culture which have existed since pre-Hispanic times. One of the most unique and charismatic of these is a group known as istmeños, inhabitants of the Isthmus of […]


White Rice with Vegetables: Arroz Blanco con Verduras

I like to vary the colors and textures of a comida, and for this meal I would choose a white rice dish such as this one, rather than repeating the red tomato base of the soup course above. This recipe, prepared like a risotto, is made especially flavorful by the addition of cream cheese, called queso filadelfia after the […]


Mexican tres leches cake with sprinkles: Pastel de tres leches con chispas

Called chispas, chispitas, or in some places just the English “sprinkles,” these colored decorations are fun and festive. They add pizzaz to that favorite Mexican cake — pastel de tres leches. Ingredients For the cake: 1 ½ cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup milk For […]


Chicken Cooked in Avocado and Banana Leaves: Pílte de Pollo

This dish, which I first had at a wedding in Atzompa, Oaxaca, is sometimes called barbacoa de pollo. It is flavored with either avocado or hoja santa leaves, both of which have an anise-like flavor. Ingredients: 8 banana leaves 10 guajillo chiles, seeded and deveined 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 10 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped ½ medium white […]


Mexican jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese and smoked fish: Jalapeños rellenos con queso crema y pescado ahumado

Mexican jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese and smoked fish are a wonderful botana adapted from Susana Trilling’s Oaxaca cookbook, Seasons of My Heart. Just be sure to use the pickled jalapeños and not raw ones, or they will be too hot for most people. Ingredients 6 ounces cream cheese 6 ounces smoked mullet, sable, tuna or salmon, boned and […]


Mexican yogurt avocado dip: Dip de yogurt con aguacate

Serve this very easy Mexican yogurt avocado dip with totopos (crisp fried tortillas) or tortilla chips, or with raw or steamed vegetables. Ingredients 1 ripe avocado ¾ cup yogurt ¼ cup mayonnaise 1 fresh jalapeño chile, seed and finely chopped (or include seeds for more “heat”) ¼ teaspoon ground cumin Salt to taste Chopped cilantro for garnish, […]


Mango and Avocado Salad: Ensalada de Mango y Aguacate

The combination of mangos and avocados gets a colorful and tasty lift from the addition of red bell peppers. Fresh bell pepper ( pimiento morrón) once meant green bell pepper, and red ones were available only in cans, but today the markets sell red and yellow bells year round. The avocado should not be peeled or […]

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