27 November, 2013

Tastes Like ... Introduction

As many of you know Mexico was awarded the World Heritage Award for their Cuisine.  Which seems to an outsider as an odd thing to be rewarded for TACOS and refried beans.  But Mexico is rich with diversity in their cuisine, from state to state and city to city you will find not only different variations of the same dish but an endless array of produce that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.  Tacos are a simple street snack found mostly in Mexico City and are not as popular in the rest of the country.  I have yet to see Pinto Beans used in real Mexican cooking.  But I have seen more colors of beans than are in the rainbow in markets all over Mexico.  Mexican food (shocking I know) is typically NOT spicy and the array of Chiles used in Mexican cooking is seemingly endless.  Not may house wives can identify more than five!

In our travels around Mexico we have discovered that something as simple as a banana is not so simple.  Did you know that in Mexico there are nine varieties of bananas?  There are five different kinds of Mangos?  The guavas I have tried here taste nothing like the guavas that I had in Hawaii!  The depth of the Cuisine in Mexico is only begun with the variety of ingredients that can be found in the markets.  Here in the Bajio we are at the epicenter for Agriculture and our markets are over flowing with fruits, vegetables and herbs that I have not even seen anywhere else in Mexico let alone in the world.  But what do you do with them?  How do they taste?  (and my favorite) Is it okay to eat?

Many expats are hesitant to try dishes that for one they cannot pronounce and most importantly something that no one can explain.  I would like to take you on an exploration of some of these ingredients that can only be found in Mexico.  I will do my best to describe the taste and uses of these ingredients.  Do not expect to find the phrase "It tastes like..." because I do not believe that any one item tastes like another.  If everything tastes like Chicken then what the Hell does Chicken taste like?  Certainly fruits like Mamey, Guanabana and Tejocote do not compare to anything else in the world when they cannot be FOUND anywhere else in the world!  I hope to expand not only your vocabulary but also your taste buds as we wander through the market of Mexico.
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