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April, 2012


April 30, 2012
“Growing up in Mexico City, I didn’t know a single person who celebrated Cinco de Mayo, except for the people who lived in the state of Puebla. We didn’t even get the day off! Sure we studied it in school–the unprecedented victory of a small Mexican militia against the large French army in 1862–but it was a short-lived victory, as the French won right back.

Fast forward 150 years to 2012: the French and Spanish are gone; Mexicans proudly celebrate Independence Day every September 16; yet, for reasons few of us can explain, Cinco de Mayo has become the greatest, most joyous, colorful celebration–for Mexicans living abroad. As strange as the nostalgia is, the longer I live abroad, the stronger the impact Cinco de Mayo has within my soul. These words fluff up like soft conchas right out of the oven, getting fluffier, sweeter and more comforting as the years go by…”

Article written for and published by NBC Latino. To continue reading, click here.

April 22, 2012
Mexican Chocolate 1-thumb-510x342-769

Mexican chocolate is quite different from regular bittersweet chocolate sold throughout the world.

It is sweeter, yet with contrasting layers of flavor that seem to sweep your tongue in waves as you take a bite. It is also grainy, practically gritty.  It is traditionally made from a mixture of toasted cacao beans, ground almonds, regular sugar and cinnamon.

Native from Mexico, in pre-hispanic times cacao beans were transformed into a chocolate paste. In that form, chocolate was combined with water and drank every day, by the liters, by Aztec Emperor Moctezuma. It was served for him, in hand carved precious mugs and spiced up with ground chiles and sometimes honey. Only the high tier of the Aztec hierarchy had access to it, on special occasions. It was only after the Spaniards arrived that it turned into a sweeter ingredient by adding the sugar, cinnamon and almonds.

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Mexican Chocolate

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April 10, 2012
“Tossing a healthy dose of bright, sliced radishes atop a pair of fiery red enchiladas, the crispy jacketed Pati Jinich sounds genuinely baffled when she throws her hands in the air after observing her handiwork.

‘How can anyone say Mexican food isn’t healthy?’ she asks.

Jinich, who has tasked herself with spreading the gospel of her homeland’s soulful and nutritious cuisine, has found an open pulpit at Washington, D.C.’s Mexican Cultural Institute, an educational outreach arm of the Mexican Embassy. She launched a series of classes there five years ago that have since evolved into the PBS show ‘Pati’s Mexican Table.’”

To continue reading, click here.

April 5, 2012

A couple weeks ago, right as I was setting up for one of my classes, “A Culinary Compass of Mexico,” at the Mexican Cultural Institute, Alberto Roblest came over and asked me a great question.

“Pati, do you cook traditional Mexican recipes OR do you create your own?”

Alberto is doing a project with the support of The Office on Latino Affairs. It is called Hola Cultura and explores the contributions of Latinos to DC life and culture, from art to language to sports to cooking.

I think he meant for me to respond with an either or. He really did. Come on Pati, “traditional” OR “new,” he insisted. But I kept answering “BOTH!” As I kept trying to explain why, I realized so wholeheartedly that both traditional and new not only describe my cooking style but also one of the many wonders of Mexican cuisine.

Continue reading Apple, Radish, Watercress Salad with Pistachio and Chile de Arbol


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