Working Hard, now ready to travel through Mexico
First of all, too many months have passed since my last post. In that time, I have grown thousands of pounds of produce, traveled nearly 10,000 miles, and visited 23 states. 17 of those states are in the United States of America, and 6 of those are in the Estados Unidos Mexicanos (Mexico). Most of my travels were done on motorcycle, and I’m going to tell you all about that in another post. I have been running The First Law, running the CSA for Bryn Gweled Homesteading Community(http://www.bryngweled.org/), running the farmers market booths for Bennett Compost (http://www.bennettcompost.com/), running food for Markward Catering, and even selling wine for Chaddsford Winery (https://www.chaddsford.com/). Needless to say, I often spread myself pretty thin.
I am now taking the time to travel, think, learn Spanish, contemplate history, take care of my body, and EAT! Enjoy this list of food and drinks that were found and cultivated in Mexico, which have forever influenced the world.
A superfruit, with proven health benefits like lowering your cholesterol with their “good fats” (monounsaturated), providing you with tons of potassium, antioxidants, and other nutrients like Vitamin A, B5, B6, K, and E! This fruit was first found in Southern Mexico where it is made into āhuacamolli (meaning avocado sauce). The Aztecs discovered it and used as an aphrodisiac. We know it around the world as guacamole and pair it with chips, use it as a dip, and even put it on top of burgers! For me, avocados are a classic part of breakfast. Find your local farmers market to get some Aguacate Hass o Aguacate Chiapas.
Behold the Avocado Toast, or Tostada de Aguacate! A slice of toast, with smashed avocado, and a fried egg on top with a little black pepper and sea salt.
Guacamole can be made from a simple recipe, or made to be intricate if you are looking for many flavors. Here I used a Chiapas Avocado, a red onion, a lime, and black pepper.
Serve with some corn tortilla chips and you have yourself a healthy snack.
If you know me and have had the pleasure of my company while sharing a meal, then you know I love spicy food. I have often caught myself asking the chef’s at the Loncheria to make my meal “Mas Pica” (more spicy)! Chiles have been growing in the western hemisphere for over 6,000 years.
I have had chiles fresh, fried, dried, smoked, pickled, and made into sauces or salsas. The two most common forms that I have witnessed being served with meals is pickled jalapenos, and habanero salsas. The jalapenos have a great flavor and medium to mild spice that make them a fantastic addition to any meal. Often one might see them as a topping for burgers and tortas. Habaneros, on the other hand, are one of the hottest peppers used in Mexican dishes and can seriously burn you. Use caution, if you buy habaneros fresh, when you are cutting them. I have had one habanero salsa that had me sweating during my entire meal and running to the restaurant’s fridge for a coca-cola.
Probably the most important crop to the western hemisphere, corn has an important place in Mayan culture. It is credited as the reason for humankind’s creation in the Popul Vuh (the Maya equivalent to the bible) and the reason Mayans changed their lifestyle from nomadic to domestic ways 2,500 years ago. By settling next to cornfields, Mayans were able to make a masa dough out of the mashed up corn grains. Mexicans use the masa to cut into thin slices, cook on the griddle, and create tortillas! These tortillas were used in many ways, from being the eating utensil, to layering food on top, or using it to wrap up ingredients. We all know and love the taco! My favorite dish with corn tortilla is certainly the Fajitas. Fajitas utilize meat, chiles, rice, and beans, and are sometimes served separately so you can build them yourself.
Commonly referred to as a tree, it is actually an herb. You will always see them with a single stem and leaf scars on the lower part of the stem. The top will have some leaves, and hopefully a few fruit being produced for you to enjoy. Papaya originated in southern Mexico, and is used as a cure for cuts, burns, and rashes. It is popular all over the world, with some amazing varieties existing in Maui (I am in love with the strawberry papaya)! The papayas that you can find at the local produce stand and in the grocery stores can be quite massive and weigh a lot. Make sure to have one around so you can have a slice after each meal, as it can be quite a good digestive aid.
The digestive aid is a protein digesting enzyme, called papain. It is extremely effective, and one of the best digestive aids that can be bought in tablet form. I would recommend anyone who frequently uses antacids to use this herb to their benefit instead. It is also known to help cure allergies. Here you can see clusters of fruit forming on the stem of 2 papayas at an eco-rereat in the Mayan jungle.
Tequila is a liquor made from Agave tequilana, or blue agave (agave azul). Much like champagne in France, Tequila is reserved to Mescal that is produced in the town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. Mescal produced in other regions of Mexico do not earn the name Tequila. The best tequila will be made from 100 percent agave that is baked in an oven, then ground down to get out the sap. The sap is distilled down into the nectar of the gods that we know as tequila.
If you can acquire a pure agave tequila and drink it without pairing it with a sugary drink, you should not experience a hangover. Personally, I enjoy infusing a bottle of blanco with poblanos for a week to give the tequila a good kick. Served as a margarita with something a little sweet is often preferred. The benefits of tequila have also been debated. Some studies have shown that tequila has prebiotic and probiotic properties, however, your stomach biology can be destroyed if taken in large amounts. Like any alcohol, drink responsibly and in moderation.
Here you see a blended margarita incorporating jalapeno and mango for some beach time enjoyment at The Beached Bikini Bar and Grill near Akumal, Quintana Roo. Delicious and guilt free.
Mexico has provided the world with influential food and drinks that can be traced to all corners of the world. Chiles are used in almost every spicy meal. Corn is a major part of the diet in the Americas. Avocado and Papaya, while also being delicious, have a correlation to a healthy diet in many individuals. Tequila is not just for the frat party, but a sophisticated alcohol that is sought after if pure and aged (anejo) for a few years in oak barrels. The foods that Mexico has provided the world can go on, and I will highlight them in another post. Finally, muchas gracias y vive la buena vida!