Yesterday’s Shopping Cart

I was walking by one of the town’s many (many) tortillerias yesterday when I stopped and positively gaped at something I had never seen before anywhere in Mexico. And that was the production of masa from raw corn. Now, I’ve seen many tortillerias mass producing tortillas on those squeaky, clacking assembly machines but only from bags of processed masa flour. So I was actually dumbfounded to see a couple of large vats of steaming corn kernels simmering in the back of this particular tortilleria.

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Beetroot flavored tostadas (Aren’t they pretty?)

And that wasn’t all. Keep in mind I don’t exactly live in an innovative, upscale, trendy gourmet product friendly kind of town (just the opposite) so imagine my surprise to find that the same place is making flavored – with all natural ingredients – tostadas. Now in Mexico, tostadas are everywhere – historically they are no more than repurposed tortillas – so  putting betabel (Spanish for beetroot) into them seems just so crazy as to be genius.

Midday, I took the bus over to nearby Jiquilpan to have lunch and to purchase some fresh sausage from one of the best carnecerias in the region.

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A kilo of fresh longaniza

I typically use only 40-60 grams at a time to flavor another dish: Like potatoes and eggs. Or to jazz up a pot of beans. And it doesn’t take much to add spice and substance to a simple tomato sauce.

My other shopping stop yesterday was to buy some cheese. Regionally, there appears to be two local choices for queso – nearby Cotija or even closer by, the puebla of Santa Maria. Both of these renowned milk producers make their own cheese as well as other milk products like the delicious Leche Quemada.

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A one month old, raw (non-pasteurized) farmer’s cheese

I consider myself very blessed to have an abundance of these raw quality cheeses sold at so many different locations nearby. I bought a kilo of this particular cheese from a lecheria 3 blocks east of my house. It’s a family operation and the old man who waited on me yesterday was so delightfully formal with his cutting, wrapping and presentation.

The food here in Mexico is so fresh, so available, and so tasty that I think I might stay around a while longer.

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