In Tequila News…

Forbes reports that tequila could be a good choice for people who want to drink AND lose weight. The study was conducted on mice. For a minute I was excited to imagine mice wearing tiny sombreros and drinking tiny tragos of Herradura, but then the author dashed my dreams: “Agavins, derived from the agave plant that’s used to make tequila, were found in mouse studies to trigger insulin production and lower blood sugar, as well as help obese mice lose […]

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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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What Day of the Dead Means to Me

A close-up of a Day of the Dead altar with chiles an photographs.

When I was a little girl, I used to draw pictures of graves. Specifically, graves you might find in a Mexican cemetery. Crosses, with Virgin Marys, and candles, and offerings of bougainvillea. For about six months, headstones were my prime artistic focus. I spent so much time drawing graves that my parents were actually weirded out. And it took a lot to weird out my parents. I guess you could say that I’ve always been morbid. But I’m not goth […]

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Mushroom Season in the Sierras.

San Juanito, Chihuahua, Feria del Hongos 2013

While It’s Monsoon Season in the Desert, It’s Mushroom Season in the Sierras. Rain! The water of life! Dry throat-parching dust turns to luscious greasy mud. People who have been lethargic all summer come alive and start to smile. Struggling plants that look like weeds become towering corn plants with fat fuzzy ears as big as your forearm. Tenuous little blue flowers on slithering stringy vines bring forth a bonanza of beans. And underground a quiet revolution is brewing. Overnight, […]

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Cerveza Rising: Mexico's Craft Beer Revolution

A picture of a bottle of Hidalgo beer, from Mexico.

  When I was in my twenties, I considered Mexico to be beer heaven. At the time I was an avowed drinker of cheap light beer and Mexican beer was basically a better, slightly cheaper version of the beer I was drinking at home (Olympia and Rainier). Then I turned 30 and something terrible happened: I developed a taste for  craft beer. This was bad news on a number of levels. For one thing, it fit into a distinct and […]

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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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Noticias 5/16/2013

El Volcán – Popocatépetl, a volcano located about 55 kilometers from Mexico City, is erupting, prompting officials to restrict access in the area and to prepare for evacuations. We camped within view of Popo in calmer times on our trip. Extraño – The grandson of Malcolm X, Malcolm Shabazz, was beaten to death in a Mexico City nightclub. Two waiters at the nightclub have been arrested for allegedly assaulting Shabazz and a friend when the two refused to pay a 15,000 peso tab […]

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And then the French invaded…(Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

  I laugh every time I think about the French invading Mexico. I know I shouldn’t—a lot of people died in the “intervention,” which began when Napoleon III used Mexico’s debt to France as a pretext for invasion. Napoleon III made the mistake of listening to conniving Mexican aristocrats who had insinuated themselves into the French court. The Mexicans in France wanted to see Benito Juarez’s democracy crushed and the return of their former power and property. To that end, […]

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