From the Stacks: Five Exceptional Books About Mexico (Gringo Edition)

Books about Mexico

As you may have suspected, the life of a freelance writer is no cake walk. But there are perks. Like getting free books in the mail. The other day I received the latest from Tony Burton, Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries, and Mystique. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I have high hopes. Burton is one of the best. Which got me thinking about my  favorite Mexico books and reminded me that it’s been some time since […]

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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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Overlanders

hippie family in van

My dad and I were not allowed to touch the van during the packing process. My mother was in charge, and we were the heavy lifters, hauling plastic tubs of spices, boxes of books, boxes of wine, tool boxes. Tina instructed us to set everything by the back doors of the van. She would crawl underneath the plywood bed, on her hands and knees, visible only by the bottoms of her sneakers. It was my job to stand waiting while […]

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Camping in Latin America: Resources for the Overlander

A picture of a child running from a hut on the coast of Mexico.

We can see it now: an idyllic beach with an empty palapa, replete with a full pila full of clean water and good hammock spots. The bay is perfect for swimming, a big tree provides extra shade and a windbreak, and the spot is within an easy walk to a village with a few tiendas. A few other vans are camped down the beach, providing a sense of security and possible entertainment. The fishing is great an there’s not a […]

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Improve Your Mexico Adventure: Eight Tips

Girl walks down Mexican street.

1. Get off the beaten path. Even if you plan on spending your entire vacation in a tourist hot spot like Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan, it’s easy enough to step off the tourist trail and experience authentic Mexico. Ask a cab driver to take you to his favorite taqueria, or just keep walking until Señor Frog recedes into the distance. 2. Pack a few nicer items of clothing. Mexico is a dressy country. When you’re invited to a fiesta or […]

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Food Tourism in Mexico?

A bin of Mole Negro mix in a Oaxaca market

I recently received the following note from a reader who is planning a week-long trip to Mexico for his dad’s 70th birthday. Daniel writes: My brothers and I want to take our Dad to Mexico this December or January–Oaxaca and Mexico City maybe. My Dad is a chef and so we were thinking there might be a guide that could show us the best food experiences with the most appropriate accommodations etc. My Dad has been cooking Mexican for years […]

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Historical Photo of the Week: On the Road with Steve Rogers

family in van

Our friend Tia just sent me this stellar photo. This pretty much sums up my childhood growing up in a van down by the river. This particular van was named Zebu, after the white humped back cows you sometimes see along Mexican roadsides. I (the toothy child) am sitting on my bed, an oblong plywood box that doubled as a storage compartment. Note the sweet roof rack, the sacred cooler in the foreground, the lucky “God’s eye” hanging from the […]

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The Fine Art of Packing Light

A hamper, a thermos, a pith helmet, and two tigers.

As I recently noted, it’s been awhile since I was forced to pack light. Last year we drove the van to Mexico, and I was able to tote my vintage Samsonite suitcases, overflowing with all manner of impractical items, including multiple pairs of heels, and, yes, two stuffed tigers and a pith helmet. This trip, I’m spending five weeks on the coast of Jalisco and Nayarit, including (hopefully) a few weeks camping, and I’m limited to whatever I can stuff […]

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Flashback Mexico Travel Journals 1992-2013

Dec 31-Jan 10, 1992  Tenacatita, Jalisco (age 13) We traveled through the dessert (which was kind of boring) and then we crossed the border. We then drove down to visit our friends the Huichols. Guillermo had just left for the sierra! Too bad. We had an OK time with the Huichols and I once again tried tortilla making and failed. I can do it with a press, but patting it out by hand is beyond me. (Mine always are full […]

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