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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.
Christmas in Mexico - Christmas Eve Salad
Christmas Eve in Mexico is an occasion for a family dinner, served before everybody goes off to Midnight Mass, known as “Misa de Gallo”, cockerel’s mass. The meal starts off with a special Christmas Eve salad, Ensalada de Noche Buena, which is a rather peculiar concoction.
Christmas in Mexico - Posadas and Piñatas
The run-up to Christmas in Mexico is one long series of parties – in fact a very specific type of party which takes place over the nine days prior to Christmas, and goes by the name of “posada". It involves much singing and a piñata filled with fruit, nuts, chocolate and delicious "polvorones".
Christmas in Mexico - Rum Punch
Christmas in Mexico means posadas, piñatas and a sweet, fruity punch known as “Ponche Navideño” or Christmas punch, which is served to posada guests in Mexican homes, as well as on the street corners, where it scents the night air with its sweet, plummy steam.
The Sauces of Mexico - Manchamanteles
The name speaks for itself – mancha manteles is Spanish for table cloth stainer, and this brick red sauce, when spilled on a white table cloth or down the front of a white shirt, can cause very serious damage indeed.
Turkey, the American Peacock
The turkey is native to the Americas, and its earliest habitat seems to have been the highlands of Mexico, where fossils ten million years old have been found on the central plateau near Puebla. It was domesticated by the Aztecs who honoured it with a religious festival held every 200 days.
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