Beyond Burritos and Margaritas: Mexican Food You May Not Have Met Yet

Fruit and Stuff

Tortillas, beans, rice, and chiles are staples in Mexican households and Mexican restaurants all over the world, but in Mexico people enjoy many other foods you may not have heard about. Here are a few of them.

Pitaya

A deliciously sour-sweet watery and nutritious cactus fruit.

Guanabana

Smells like pineapple, tastes like strawberries and apple with a touch of citrus, with a creamy texture, like coconut or banana, and generous amounts of Vitamins B and C.

Huitlacoche

A delicious and nutritious edible “disease,” huitlacoche, the fungus known in English as corn smut, can bring a higher price than the corn on which it grows. Raw or roasted, it makes delicious tacos, quesadallas, enhiladas, and other delicacies.

Flor de Calabaza

This beautiful flower can be cooked or eaten raw, made into poppers, or used as an ingredient in vegetarian pozole.

Nopal y Tuna

It may look like something to avoid…

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Curanderos, Shamans, and Plant-Based Remedies

Coffee Talk

Maybe everyone grows up with a narrow framework for deciding what is normal, what is exotic, and what is abnormal. I certainly did. When I moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, in my early twenties, there were many things about life there that seemed exotic to me. Some things, like mangoes and papayas, became normal to my expanding Texan mind, but wherever I look, even after many years, there are sights to see, foods to try, experiences to have, and ideas to explore that still amaze me.

Back in North Texas, sweet iced tea was the only tea I knew anything about, and home remedies were limited to merthiolate and mentholatum. We went to the doctor for just about anything that couldn’t be treated with those smelly substances. The doctor would prescribe dreaded shots, pills, or terrible-tasting liquids in mysterious-looking bottes. If all else failed, he (the doctor was…

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BEYOND BORDERS

Coffee Talk

THE TRUTH ABOUT ACCENT MARKS IN SPANISH

My Spanish teachers liked to show off their advanced knowledge of linguistics with long impressive words like esdrújula, sobreesdrújula, and penultimate. So, I gave up on comprehending those little marks and just did my best to learn words visually, accent mark and all. When in doubt I sprinkled marks randomly like salt and pepper to give my writing that Spanish-ey flavor.

There are many fascinating things that linguists know about language in general and accent marks in particular, but I will not go into that here because if your goal is to speak and understand Spanish in the real world, you can take courage from knowing that most Spanish-speaking four-year-olds and a few two-and-three-year-olds have already mastered more than you will ever need to know in order to reach your goal, and those pre-schoolers have not yet even heard the…

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PATHS TO BETTER LIVING

Coffee Talk

THREE DEPORTATION TALES FROM THE AIRPORT AT CANCÚN

THE REMORSEFUL FATHER-IN-LAW

Vacationing together in Cancún seemed like a splendid idea, so Dad bought the tickets and made hotel reservations for himself, his wife, their daughter and her brand-new husband. After weeks of anticipation, the day arrived and they headed happily to the Mayan Riviera. Their joyful family vacation was cut short, however, when they reached the Immigration station. The daughter’s brand-new husband would not be allowed to leave the airport and would be escorted to the next available flight back to where he came from.

A few years earlier Dad had been in a much less splendid mood when he found out that Daughter, who was still in her teens at the time, and her teenage boyfriend were “together.” A dad from earlier times might have fetched a shotgun, but this twenty-first century father went to the courthouse and charged…

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