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The Drinks of Mexico - Fresh Cucumber Water
The sight of the seller of “aguas frescas” or “fresh waters” is common on the streets of Mexico. His colourful wares are displayed in large glass jars, sitting on a bed of ice or in a refrigerated cabinet, and oh how fresh, healthy and pure they are in a world full of “soft drinks” and “sodas”.
The Drinks of Mexico - Chileatole
Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, recorded his impression of atole as highly energising - it is likely that he was served a spicy, aromatic atole, containing beans and seasoned with herbs and chillies, a “chileatole”, although he may also have drunk a bitter chocolate atole.
The Drinks of Mexico - Café de Olla Recipe
The “olla” is made of clay, rough on the outside and glazed on the inside, pot-bellied and homely. It sits on every market, street and restaurant stove across the country and is used for making one of Mexico’s favourite breakfast drinks: “café de olla”, coffee from the pot.
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.
The Day of the Dead in Mexico
In late October, every sweet shop and street stall in Mexico City decks itself out in garlands of deep yellow marigolds, colourful tissue paper cut-outs of pumpkins and skeletons, and best of all, beautifully crafted sugar skulls with big toothy grins, shining eyes and names on their foreheads.
The Day of the Dead – Candied Pumpkin Recipe
1st and 2nd November are known as “Los Días de los Muertos” or the Days of the Dead which are an important pre-Conquest celebration in Mexico, and surprisingly enough, cheerful and festive occasions when Mexican families honour their deceased relatives.
The Chillies of Mexico - Pickled Jalapeños
Jalapeño chillies make a regular appearance at the Mexican table as a condiment or relish, in the form of pickled chillies or “jalapeños en escabeche”. These sparky, tart pickles make their way into a great variety of dishes and their uses and popularity are endless.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Serrano
The bullet-shaped serrano chilli, small, slender and dark green, reminds me of a delightful Mexican song, which goes: “soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso”, “I am like the green chilli, hot but tasty”.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Poblano
El Poblano, as its name implies, is a native of the state of Puebla but it makes an appearance in virtually all the regional cuisines of the country. It is a handsome chilli, mild-mannered, well fleshed, broad-shouldered, with a smooth shiny skin and a rich dark green to near black colour.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Pasilla
Pasilla translates as “little raisin”, which is an obvious indicator of its flavour: faintly sweet and reminiscent of dried fruit, even of sun-dried tomatoes, quite earthy, even woodsy or herby, with a hint of sharpness and acidity in the background, and a lush, full aftertaste.
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