Vanilla: a Mexican native regains its reputation

Mention vanilla, and people are apt to think of the ice-cream flavor they select when confronted with a mind-boggling choice involving everything from chirimoya to cheesecake: “just plain vanilla.” What started out as one of the most exotic flavors to be introduced to the European palate has come to be equated with blandness. Even more […]

Continue Reading
Juan Pascoe at his press Photo reproduced by kind permission of Juan Pascoe

Did you know? Mexico has one of the world’s oldest still-functioning printing presses

One of the oldest printing presses still in operation anywhere in the world is in Tacámbaro, Michoacán. Juan Pascoe lives on a remote ex-hacienda outside Tacámbaro, Michoacán. Visitors invited to view his work often think they’ve lost their way in the surrounding sugar-cane fields, but then suddenly catch their first glimpse of the former Great […]

Continue Reading
Cover of Mexican Kaleidoscope

Mexican Kaleidoscope – Myths, Mysteries & Mystique

Tony Burton’s Mexican Kaleidoscope is a whirlwind trip through some of the underpinnings of Mexican culture, told with humour, affection and well-documented facts. This readable compendium of little known stories made me want to revisit many places I’d already seen. How much richer my experiences would have been had I been able to take this user-friendly and […]

Continue Reading
1935 film - Chrysler

Touring Mexico by car in 1935

While paintings interpret reality, film and photography give us a vivid look at the past. What was Mexico like in 1935? The Revolution over, Lazaro Cardenas was president. Feelings of nationalism ran high and would make possible the expropriation of Mexico’s vast oil reserves in 1938. Movies focused on social themes and historical events along with the melodramas […]

Continue Reading
Potato, onion, garlic and eggs are essential for tortitas de papa. © Daniel Wheeler, 2010

Did You Know? A fungus from Mexico and the Irish potato famine

There wouldn’t be many Irish people in the United States if it wasn’t for a Mexican fungus. The census of 1841 in Ireland recorded a population of about 8 million. This figure was a staggering 300% more than sixty years earlier. The staple Irish food at that time was the humble potato and Ireland’s rapid […]

Continue Reading

Did you know? Dinosaur bones in Mexico

Thousands of dinosaur bones have been found in northern Mexico. Bones literally litter the ground. Here’s a femur; there’s a tibia; vertebrae, ribs, skulls… Dozens of dinosaurs, including the world’s cheapest, have been unearthed in a broad belt across northern Mexico, from Baja California and Sonora in the west, through Chihuahua, and Coahuila to Nuevo […]

Continue Reading

Immigrant Cooking In Mexico – Part Two: The Italians of Chipilo

The previous column on immigrant cooking in Mexico dealt with the Mennonites of Chihuahua, a group that brought Northern and Eastern European culinary traditions to their new country. A far different cuisine came with the Italians, who largely migrated during the Porfiriato, in the last part of the 19th century. The great wave of migration from Europe during the […]

Continue Reading