A yearly culinary ritual: La matanza

Beginning in mid-October, and lasting for a month, a five-hundred-year-old ritual encompassing history, tradition and cuisine takes place in the valley of Tehuacan, in the Mixteca Poblana region of southern Puebla. Traveling through this rocky, hardscrabble land, one wonders how the inhabitants have sustained themselves for thousands of years and marvels at the fact that […]

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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 […]

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Seasonal Dining: Mexican Wild Game – Part Two: Rabbit and Venison

As discussed in last month’s column, wild game played an important culinary role in pre-Hispanic Mexico. Although the Aztecs, Maya and other Mesoamerican people relied on corn as the staple food, along with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, the carbohydrate-rich diet was supplemented by animal protein. The Aztecs had only five domesticated animals, […]

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The traditional Maya sweatlodge in Chiapas: Temazcal and Xun

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, where I chose to live five years ago, is a city time almost forgot. Situated in the highland valley of Jovel at an elevation of 2,100 meters, it’s a city mingling future and past. As the gateway to mountainous communities, more indigenous than mestizo, it’s a city where ancient […]

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