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The Drinks of Mexico - Atole
The atoles are a large family of ancient drinks, with countless variations, some of them totally pre-Hispanic, others slowly developed since the 16th century by the addition of some of the many foreign ingredients which found their way into the indigenous larder after the Spanish conquest.
UNESCO and the Cuisine of Mexico
UNESCO has never included food and cooking in its “intangible cultural heritage” awards, but on 16 November 2010, it bestowed this honour upon Mexican Cuisine, a decision which was greeted with tremendous personal and national excitement and pride.
The Sauces of Mexico - Adobo
An adobo starts off as a marinade and from there often graduates to being a sauce. The name comes from the Spanish “adobar”, which has several meanings, among them “to marinate, pickle or cure” but more importantly, “to stew”, all verbs which illustrate an adobo’s versatility very nicely.
The Spices of Mexico - Vanilla
Vanilla is a shy and gentle spice. There is nothing brash or flamboyant about it, and yet its power is great, with a delicately warm, sweet flavour and scent which are deeply evocative, almost hypnotic.
Cookbook Review - Frida's Fiestas
“La Casa Azul" was the home of Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, and her husband, Diego Rivera. Diego's daughter, Guadalupe, once lived with them and Frida’s Fiestas is Guadalupe’s account of her life there – a time when she “learned to see the world through the way Frida and Diego lived”.
Plantain, Fruit and Vegetable
Faintly sweet, decidedly starchy, inedible raw, rich and voluptuous when cooked, a fruit which is eaten as a vegetable and can be ground into a flour to make bread and turnovers – this is “plátano macho”, the “male banana” of Mexico.
The Sauces of Mexico - Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo translates as cockerel’s beak for some unfathomable reason and is a standard salsa which appears on the table in a restaurant at the beginning of a meal, to be eaten with “totopos” or tortilla chips while perusing the menu or waiting for the rest of the meal to arrive.
The Herbs of Mexico - Epazote
Epazote grows wild in Mexico and spread from there across America and eventually to southern Europe and beyond, but outside its homeland, it is seen as a weed rather than a culinary herb – only in central and southern Mexico does it play an essential role and find its way into the cooking pot.
Epiphany in Mexico - Bread of the Kings
Christmas in Mexico begins on 16 December with the traditional parties called “las posadas”, and ends with Epiphany or El Día de los Reyes, the Day of the Kings, which is celebrated with a sweet yeasted bread known as Rosca de Reyes or Bread of the Kings.
New Year in Mexico - Churros and Hot Chocolate
A darkened room and a bottle of mineral water may be the best, if not the most rousing, cure for the first hangover of the year, but a cup of hot chocolate and a freshly cooked churro are an infinitely more appealing antidote to the excesses of New Year's Eve.
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