Book Review: Diana Kennedy, Rendered Lard, and the Late, Great Steve Rogers

Originally published in June of 2012, republished in 2017. My dad Steve Rogers was a good cook, maybe even a great cook. He could turn a few wilting odds and ends  into a memorable lunch, and his obsessive interest in traditional methods and ingredients was matched by a fearless creativity that led him far off the beaten path. When I was a little girl, I loved to sit and watch him in the kitchen. Watching Steve cook was like watching […]

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Book Review: Narcocorrido by Elijah Wald

note: Click on links for music. Would you rather listen to gangster rap, country music, or polka?  If you cringed in horror at any of the three options, well, brace yourself. If you answered, “All three!” then you probably already know your Tigres from your Tucanes. Whatever your musical tastes, the blood-splattered accordion-happy world of the Mexican narcocorrido is a fascinating place to visit. In Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerillas, folklorist and musician Elijah Wald explains […]

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From the Archives: On the Road at Nine and Ten, 1988-89

drawing of van in Mexico

  As I was working on my book about my nomadic hippie childhood, I unearthed a travel journal that covered two trips to Mexico in the late 80s. The odysseys included research for “The People’s Guide to RV Camping in Mexico,” extended stays at Tenacatita, and my first visit to Guatemala. We also drove some Huichol friends on a pilgrimage to their sacred lands in Central Mexico. I’ve chosen a few excerpts for your amusement. You can read the first installment here.  Dec 26, 1988 […]

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Solidarity through Mezcal

The news from Guerrero has not been good of late, what with the abduction and probable murder of 43 students at a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa, and the subsequent riots. But real life can’t be reduced to one storyline, and so I was happy to get some better news from our friend, tequila and mezcal expert Clayton Szczech, who wrote to tell me about a kickass organization of indigenous peasants  in the Río de Balsas region of Guerrero. Sanzekan Tinemi  […]

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Book Review: El Narco

I shouldn’t be reviewing this book or recommending it to our readers. As an editor for a travel site and managing editor for The People’s Guide to Mexico, one of my goals is to, you know, encourage people to go to Mexico. It’s my job to say that your fears about Mexico are overblown, that the media is mongering fear, that our vision of modern Mexico is skewed by the press, that vast portions of Mexico are still safe, that […]

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Awesome Tijuana Street Art and a Walking Tour of the City

Tijuana mural of monkey eating watermelon

editor’s note: guest writer extraordinaire Nikki Biefel explores Tijuana, starting at the San Ysidro crossing. “Tijuana! Oh yeah, ‘The Happiest Place on Earth!’” said no one whom I told of my travel plans. People mostly mushed their faces at me and asked if I enjoyed being raped and murdered. I booked tickets for my husband and myself anyway, even though my husband was also dubious. I’d heard Tijuana had risen from the dead and was ready to show off again. […]

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Stone Soup? Sarah Borealis on Oaxacan Cuisine

Oaxacan stone soup

Visual historian Sarah Borealis talks about culinary tradition, eating in Oaxacan markets, and her new documentary “The Path of Stone Soup,” which explores the culinary heritage of Oaxaca’s Chinantla region. As Borealis explains,Chinantla’s specialty is a freshwater seafood soup “cooked to perfection using red hot stones.” I was interested to learn that the dish is traditionally prepared by men. The 24-minute documentary is the work of an international team that includes Borealis, director Arturo Juarez Aguilar, and César Gachupin de […]

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Seven Common Misconceptions about Tequila and Mezcal

A pile of agave cores, ready to be roasted for mezcal.

Tequila and mezcal are made from “cactus juice.” Agave is not a cactus, but rather a member of the botanical order Asparagales, which includes asparagus and narcissus. (Native to the New World, the genus Agave is exceedingly diverse, with well over 100 varieties in Mexico alone.) Mezcal is a type of Tequila. If you want to get down to brass tacks (and I think you do), Tequila is a variation on mezcal, or distilled agave spirits. Mexican laws about the […]

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Historical Images of the Week: Mexico City by Hot Air Balloon

This is the title page of a book, published in 1869, called “Mexico y Sus Alrededores,” or “Mexico and its Surroundings.” The book includes illustrations by C. Castro, G. Rodriguez and J. Campillo. The book contains a number of fantastic images. For instance, check out this 1875 map of Mexico City: Or Castro’s aerial lithograph of Mexico City: Or there’s this lush image of the Palacio de Iturbide, a building I have peered into many times (in the Centro Historico […]

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New San Miguel Art Center Honors Jon Schooler

A painted dog by artist Jon Schooler

Gentleman rancher Hugo Granados is opening a contemporary art museum, the Casa Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, on former ranch lands just outside San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Described as a “handsome international playboy with a great eye for art, ” Granados combed local galleries and museums to create a standing collection of art by San Miguel artists, including work by  Mario Cabrera, Jeffrey Brown, Martin Cramer, and Keith Keller, as well as 26 paintings by our own Jon Schooler. Schooler, […]

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