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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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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Should I Bribe a Mexican Cop?

Mexican police badge, DF.

editor’s note: I recently mentioned getting pulled over by cops in Acapulco. Dan wrote  wanting to know more, and I think he raises some interesting questions about bribery in modern Mexico. Dan writes: In regards to your interaction with the cops in Acapulco, a few questions: 1. Was this federal police or local police? 2. Where were you stopped, was it on the main touristy road, Costiera Miguel Aleman? 3. What did they ask from you? 4. What’s an appropriate […]

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Tacopedia? Yes please!

  So this is an amazing map. Further analysis and enlarged views here. It really makes me want to get a hand on the book from which it originated: La Tacopedia. Enciclopedia del Taco.  Review copy, por favor! How many of these tacos have you eaten?   (also, special thanks to the always interesting blog Geo-Mexico for alerting me to this delightful bit of ephemera.)

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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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Book Review: Alcohol in Ancient Mexico

I am not a big online shopper and I rarely have spare money, but there was no way I could restrain myself from ordering a book called Alcohol in Ancient Mexico. I’m sorry, but even I can’t actually come up with a title better aimed to entrap me. Cheese in Ancient Mexico comes close, but would of course have to be a fantasy, since obviously dairy products were not a part of the ancient Mexican diet. Not to, uh, sound […]

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A Dead Language?

Two huichol indian women in traditional costume.

Mexico has an unusually rich tapestry of language, and the array of native dialects is dizzying. When I was growing up in Mexico, many of the indigenous people we encountered spoke Spanish as a second language, a trait that’s less common now. I spent a chunk of my childhood hanging around with an extended family of Huicholes and got to witness the way a native language dwindles. The matriarch, Guadalupe, was bilingual in Spanish and Huichol; her niece Maria Feliz, […]

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