Checking my favorite Mexican blogs today, I am struck by how different the themes are – home renovation, politics, bicultural pratfalls, self improvement, gardening, sailing, and on and on. But there does seem to be one common denominator; there’s one topic everyone touches on, at least every three posts or so. That would be FOOD.
And no wonder! In this country with all its delectable delights, it is difficult to avoid becoming (just shy of) obsessed. The first time that I raised my forearm to my mouth and licked-up the juice that ran down it from the perfect mango… I knew I had discovered my favorite fruit of all time. I soon found myself emulating companions who close their eyes in contentment as they suck the last morsels from the great seed and pick the sinuous fibers from between their teeth. I almost go into mourning when the mango season is over (as it is now)
But, Dios es muy grande… The Divine sends us avocados, pomegranates, chico zapotes and mandarin oranges to tide us over. In the spring, as we salivate in front of the mango trees, waiting for the fruit to ripen, we are comforted by roly-poly pineapples, (the big golden ones from Veracruz) so sweet that jelly beans would seem tart if eaten after this prickly produce.
Another thing about food in México… it is not served up in easy-to-eat, delicate pieces. There are great bones you must chomp on in order to get to the tender meat; fish served whole, with eyes, that you’d best keep yours off; big, bright pink shrimp that must be peeled, using both hands before the enjoyment can begin. Tacos must be filled and rolled; the dicing and chopping and spreading of 6 or 7 condiments is often part of the pre-eating ritual.
Portion-control is very necessary if you don’t want to look like the Goodyear Blimp within a shockingly short period of time. It is so hard to keep track of all those yummy calories. Bakeries lie so close by; as do bars that serve abundant botanas – complimentary snacks – with your drinks. The beverages themselves, even those without alcohol are not usually “lite”.
Add music, sunshine and sweet people to the culinary delights and you’ve found Paradise. Just ask the 1,000s of northerners who spend part of every winter in Yucatán.
One year after a month with us in Mérida… my sister returned (very tanned) to the frozen north. She went to an outdoor event where the wind howled, snow blew and her tan faded by the second. She spotted another golden-toned Canadian who huddled by the wall trying to look like he was enjoying “Wonderful Winterfest”. He looked at her, shook his head from side to side and said, “I never should have left!” She knew what he meant…
If you are facing too many long, cold months and dreading them – be kind to yourself and book some time in the sun… Merida’s restaurants, markets and beaches are stocked with all kinds of sumptuous fare. What is your personal favorite?
(All these photos are from Google Images…)
And now… one more question.
What will it be…