December 12: The Virgin of Guadalupe

Patron Saint of Mexico and the Americas Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that “…one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Apocryphal or not, the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe makes fascinating reading. And the food’s pretty…

A Lesson from the Day of the Dead

Time comes to a halt on All Souls Day (Todos Santos), November 2, a day of ancient ritual. I learned that lesson when I spent the day with a Mexican family in Puebla, Mexico. To miss this celebration of death was simply unheard of. Our place was the cemetery, where the grandparents lay under thick…

In the Kitchen with Barbara Kingsolver: I

I’m going to bed every night now with Barbara Kingsolver’s latest book, The Lacuna: A Novel, about Mexico, politics, art, El Norte, and — best of all — cooks. After her last book (Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life), Kingsolver still finds food a fascinating part of life. In The Lacuna, here’s how…

Halloween: Art

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! For more on the Day of the Dead in Mexico, see my previous post: Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars .

Slapdown Corner: For the Love of Food!

Like a pot of water heating on the fire, the “meaning of foodie” conversations percolating out there come to boil at times. And at times the heat gets turned off and things simmer down.* Until the next finger-pointing pundit comes flying out of the air. Frankly, it gets tiresome when people exercise their index fingers…

Diana Kennedy’s Menu for Charles, Prince of Wales

In 2002, Diana Kennedy, well-known author of Mexican cookbooks, served the following menu to the man who would be king, Charles, Prince of Wales:* Cocktails & Appetizers Tequila Apéritifs Fresh Tortillas Small Pumpkin Seeds Toasted and Ground with Roasted Habanero Chilies Guacamole Enhanced with Grapes and Pomegranate Seeds Meal Cream-of-Squash-Flower Soup Pork Loin Baked in…

Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars

(Note: The italicized portion of the following article is an excerpt from something I wrote for an encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining, Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl, Greenwood Press, 2008.) In Mexico, the Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos) (Day of the Dead/All Saints’ Day) resembles the norteamericano Halloween…

What’s True About Mexico

Ever think about how a map of Mexico looks a little bit like Italy, only reversed? Mexico’s equivalent of the Italian boot of Puglia is the Yucatan, sticking out into the Gulf of Mexico like a big stubbed toe. The thirty-one states of Mexico, plus the federal district, hint at a culinary diversity that you’ll find only in places like Italy, where mountains and rivers and desert-like terrain prohibited easy hopping about from place to place.