Xochimilco and the Axolotl

The word “Xochimilco” is Nahuatl for “where the flowers grow”. It is an area of lakes and canals that was a major agricultural centre in Mesoamerica and remains as the only reminder of traditional Pre-Hispanic land-use in the waterways of the Mexico City basin. The Xochimilcas were one of seven Nahua tribes that migrated into the Valley of Mexico, along with the Acolhua, Chalca, Mexica, Tepaneca, Tlahuica … Continue reading Xochimilco and the Axolotl

Sende

Octli (or pulque) from the maguey and tepache from pineapple are well known but the knowledge of one drink, Sende (or sendechó/sende choo) is in danger of being lost. Only a few still know the traditional production methods of this drink. It is a labour intensive product and in this day and age of speed and convenience fewer still are prepared to learn the ancient methods of production. When made … Continue reading Sende

Tepache

Tepache is a traditional drink of prehispanic origin and although it was once produced from the juice extracted from the cooked agave piñas it was soon made from the fruit we now call pineapples. It is believed that pineapples (Ananas comosus) originated in South America in the area around Brazil and Paraguay. The fruit was traded throught the Americas and it was cultivated by both Maya and Aztec … Continue reading Tepache

Chenopodiums

Chenopod – from Ancient Greek χήν (khḗn, “goose”) + πούς (poús, “foot”) One of the most tenacious, hardy and useful species of wild herb is the Chenopodium. The use of this family of plants has a long history. Archaeological finds suggest that some chenopods, such as fat hen, were not only collected from the wild but may in fact have been cultivated as far back … Continue reading Chenopodiums

Yerba Porosa (Unknown Porophyllum)

The porophyllum species continues to surprise. I have recently come across an organic seed seller in Florida who is selling a plant they call Yerba porosa. Yerba porosa is a common name that frequently refers to P.ruderale and translates to “porous herb” (grass) in reference to the oil filled glands (or pores) that give this herb its distinctive flavour profile. The variety of this plant … Continue reading Yerba Porosa (Unknown Porophyllum)

Cerveza de nopal (Nopal Beer)

(Is there anything this plant CAN’T do??) In 2009 a Czech company began importing from México nopal, grown on the slopes of the Mexican volcano Popocatépetl, as an additive to produce gourmet breads. Nopal is known for having a range of health benefits (See Post on The Medicinal Qualities of Opuntia Cladodes) and it would make a valuable addition to bread as it would lower … Continue reading Cerveza de nopal (Nopal Beer)

Dia de Muertos IS NOT Halloween

Death burns the lips of other cultures, but the Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love. Octavio Paz Day of the Dead IS NOT (and has nothing to do with) Halloween. Halloween (which is rooted in Samhain) is celebrated on the eve of 31st of … Continue reading Dia de Muertos IS NOT Halloween