Food and Drink

#TBT The Mexican Mercado

Everytime a television program comes on about Mexico, Mrs P and I make a strict appointment to be seated in front of the screen at the annointed time. The latest show was a series by celebrity chef Rick Stein, The Road to Mexico. We enjoyed it greatly, particularly when the road crossed from the US into Mexico. If you can access the Beeb’s iPlayer from your part of the world, through fair means or foul, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

In the final episode, Rick sits to eat with a lady who has lived in Mexico for the last 15 years. She made a comment that I can relate to. Food is hugely important to Mexicans, and she made the point that they will warm to you quickly if you try their traditional fare. Even more so if you enjoy it. I remember when I arrived in Mexico, my new family would study my reactions to new foods with some trepidation. They would become alarmed when I reached for the chili and warn me off. Past experience had shown that too many gringos wanted to stick to familiar meals, and would tend to dine at Burger King*.

I passed the culinary tests with flying colours. I must confess, I drew the line at insects, and ate just half a serving of cow foot taco, which was pretty ghastly. I ate as much as I did only because I thought it was a crunchy vegetable rather than an ultra gristly and tough bit of animal. But I think I was forgiven. Indeed, by the time I left, the in-laws seemed to treat my willingness to consume pretty much anything with pretty much any chili as a party trick. I could be taken to casitas anew, where I would spark a new wave of trepidation and alarm as I reached for the chili. What’s the Spanish for ‘Watch this!’?

But this post is really about the photo. The culinary connection? Why, it’s a mural from one of Mexico City’s more famous food markets. A tip of the sombrero to you if you can figure out which one…

* They must have had bad luck with their previous gringos. Whilst I came across a few vegetarians and spice adverse souls who struggled, most of the ones I met enjoyed Mexican food.

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5 thoughts on “#TBT The Mexican Mercado

  1. I can’t identify the mural, but I enjoyed your description of your experience with Mexican food. I too love Mexican food, and my friend in CDMX says that I eat more “chiles” than a Mexican. I have to admit, however, that as I grow older, I can’t take as much “picante” as I used to. And, like you, I draw, the line at insects. And also organs. No brain tacos for me, por favor.

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    • I have munched my way through a few organs in my time. Love a kidney in my steak pie. Liver is tasty when done right. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried brains. But I have so far steered clear of tripe. I did once visit Bar Chon and consider sampling something from their pre-Hispanic menu. Some roasted armadillo perhaps. Grilled snake. Pan fried shark. But I wasn’t 100% certain on how ethical it would be to tuck into any of the more unusual dishes. Besides I was absolutely starving and if I picked something I didn’t like, I didn’t have enough dinero to replace it with something I did. With a certain amount of regret, I played it safe and had Mole Poblanos. Which was delicious!

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