Saturday, September 11, 2010

Food, Glorious Food (Oaxaca Mexico)

Breakfast is oatmeal with quinoa and flax, mango and apple, prunes, raisins, cranberries, and slices of fresh ginger. We add nuts and thin rounds of banana. I want to eat this every morning of my life.

To market to buy a new harness for Lucky the burro. I purchase a kilo of addictive, salty peanuts with whole garlic cloves and chili peppers to replace the batch that I polished off at T's house. If I had a gas stove at home and room in my luggage, I would have bought a comal, a flat clay dish you set atop a stove-top flame to warm tortillas.

We stop off to visit a friend of T's who is providing a bag of corn for Lucky. The fellow lives in a town grown prosperous from the sale of naturally dyed rugs. A. buys four coasters, and I purchase a wool mat with asymmetrical geometric designs in shades of blue, red, orange and green. We drink mezcal and take photos with the young man, whose family has spent generations dying wool. They continue to work with all natural dyes -- with indigo to produce blue, of course; with cochinilla , which yields hues from burgundy to red to purple; and withpersimmons, which make yellow)-- and to weave and sell the beautiful results.

We lunch in Tule, home of an enormous and famous tree. We order two huge quesadillas each of quesillo, mushrooms, and squash blossoms. While we wait, A. goes to the aid of a woman with heart problems, who has passed out in her seat. A. advises the husband to take his wife, pale, clammy, and clutching her head, to the hospital. Half an hour later, they are still in the parking lot and a little while after, they return to the comedor and order lunch. I eat my food and down a huge glass of horchata and, although my stomach is stretching and hurting, I wonder why I didn't try the barbacoa that I see everyone else eating. The oven-roasted sheep is served with tortillas, whole spring onions, and cilantro to people who are licking their fingers with pleasure.

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