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Washington Post


July 14, 2015

“The first time I worked with fresh masa, I was making tortillas for a Mexican feast that friends and I were preparing for New Year’s Eve. I had bought the dough from Moctec Mexican Products, the Landover company that specializes in transforming dried maize into fresh, fragrant masa. I was smitten on first sniff, even after paying nearly $10 for the five-pound bag of white corn masa.

Consciously or not, I had developed an opinion that fresh masa was virtually foolproof, far easier to turn into tortillas than dough made from masa harina, the corn flour available for about $3 for a four-plus-pound bag of Maseca. But as I pressed the dough into tortillas for the griddle, I quickly learned that this fresh product is not the masa equivalent of a Gabriel García Márquez novel, so magical that it’s immune to the physical laws of the universe…

I turned to cookbook author and television host Pati Jinich for help. I explained my New Year’s Eve masa mess and asked whether the fresh stuff requires specialized handling compared with dough made with masa harina. She said no, but then offered a confession: This native of Mexico prefers the taste of reconstituted masa harina over the full-throttle flavors of fresh masa. The former resonates deeply with Jinich; it represents home, family, childhood…”

To read the entire article, click here.


June 28, 2015

For months, Jessica Carbone’s office served as a de facto storeroom for the donated products that would eventually find a place in the demonstration kitchen within the new 45,000-square-foot ‘innovation wing’ at the National Museum of American History. Those gadgets and pricy pieces of cookware soon became sort of stress-relief objects.

‘Over the last six months, whenever anyone had a difficult meeting or something they didn’t want to work on, they’d come into my office and say, I need some retail therapy. What can I look at? ’ says Carbone, project associate for the American Food History Project…

It’s also noisy. Or was noisy in early June, when Smithsonian staffers, along with chef, cookbook author and TV personality Pati Jinich, a member of the Kitchen Cabinet advisory panel to the museum, were loading equipment into the kitchen. ‘We reconfigured the fan a bit,’ Evans says a few weeks later, ‘and the sound is completely fixed…'”

To read the entire article, click here.


December 24, 2014

“A bowl of pozole, with its colorful elements of yellow hominy, emerald cilantro flecks and white onion pieces, can look as if it has been dusted with fiesta confetti. And that’s entirely appropriate. The rib-sticking Mexican stew stars at festivities including quinceañeras and New Year’s celebrations.

‘Pozole is a party dish,’ says Pati Jinich, the locally based, Mexico City-born PBS personality and chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. ‘It’s partially because it takes a long time to make, and it can feed a crowd.’ She and her husband even served it at their wedding…”

To read the entire article, click here.


December 6, 2014

“In the convents around Mexico during the colonial era, the nuns became serious cooks, says Pati Jinich, author of ‘Pati’s Mexican Table’ and host of the PBS series of the same name. The church was a major power, and it was in the kitchens of the convents where traditional Spanish recipes started to take in local ingredients; many Mexican classics like mole poblano and chiles en nogada supposedly came from the convents.

Rompope reportedly was invented in the convent of Santa Clara, in Puebla. ‘Puebla is known as the city of sweets,’ Jinich says, and the nuns had a reputation for ‘an incredible sweet tooth. . . . They brought all the Spanish recipes, the flans and the sweets made with almonds . . . and started mixing the Spanish recipes that were heavy on the sugar and milk — which was very uncommon for Mexico — with Mexican ingredients’…”

To read the entire article, click here.


December 3, 2014

“D.C. is awash in celebrity chefs this week.

On Wednesday, four of them — Andrew Zimmern, Hugh Acheson, Pati Jinich and Nina Compton blanketed Capitol Hill in an effort organized by the ONE Campaign to rally support for Electrify Africa, legislation that aims to give 50 million Africans access to modern energy and add 20,000 megawatts of capacity to the continent. The bipartisan bill stands a chance of getting added to a broader spending package Congress will have to pass before leaving town for the year…”

To read the entire article, click here.


July 3, 2014

“Ancho chili burgers with lime aioli: The flavors of Mexico spice up this new classic from ‘Pati’s Mexican Table’ star Pati Jinich…”

To view the slideshow, click here.



January 28, 2014

“It was 1997, and I was excited. A year after moving to Dallas from Mexico City, where I was born and raised, I would finally have the chance to get what Tex-Mex cooking was all about. I was visiting San Antonio, the capital of Tex-Mex, at one of its most famous Tex-Mex restaurants. And then the food came.

The large, oval combo platter in front of me was supposed to be cheese enchiladas with red rice and refried beans, but all I could see was a thick blanket of cream-colored sauce with melted, yellow processed cheese on top, threatening to spill over the plate and possibly even out of the restaurant. I couldn’t tell whether the tortillas were corn or flour, and they were barely filled; the mealy red rice had a watered-down tomato taste and an overdose of cumin; the refried beans were runny and — oh, heresy! — there weren’t enough of them to eat along with each bite. I was hungry, and curious, so I ate it all. In a strange way, it was comforting, but I was perplexed. After I finished, I told the Mexican waiter: No entiendo lo que me acabo de comer. I don’t get what I just ate.

I still think about that meal because it is emblematic of the problems people have with Tex-Mex. Mexican food purists take swipes at it, claiming it is simply bad Americanized Mexican food, while Texans rush to defend it as its own breed…”

To read the entire article, click here.


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