Sunday, November 30, 2008

Love Those Avocados and Limons

"So what do you eat down there?" my mother asked recently.  While our guide book says the average Mexican eats almost a pound of tortillas a day, we are nowhere close to that.  I eat tortillas every day after school with beans, cheese, salsa, and avocado, and some days every meal, but I'd say everyone else in the family is eating them more like every other day.  Although after Tom learned in cooking class to make homemade chips out of them, the kids have been clamoring for that way of eating tortillas.

Tortillas are available everywhere, from the smallest tiendita to fresh-made on the street to the that's-all-they-make tortillarias.  We've spent time at a huge open market here that has a second floor where you can hang over the railing and watch the tortilla-makers work.  We're also enjoying the produce, which is most fun to purchase in open-air market stalls.  I love the avocados, we buy lots of bananas for smoothies, fresh strawberries and watermelon are available, and we recently discovered the joys of homemade limonada.  
Squeeze six limons, which look like small limes but are actually lemons, add sugar and water, and you've got a pitcher of refreshing drink.  Tom plans to bring the limon squeezer he bought home so he can make it in the states.  If we can find limons there.

The family tradition of breakfast dinner once a week survives.  The mix says it is for "hotcakes," and we buy syrup and jam and nutella to put on them.  One major change is that we've eaten very little pasta here.  It's available, but maybe we burned out on it a little after the summer bicycle tour where we made one-pot pasta every third night for six weeks.

Before school, breakfasts are toast or cereal.  A slight wrinkle in the make-your-own-toast routine is that the casita's toaster oven is affixed too high for the kids to reach; Noah can just do it using long barbeque tongs.  Then the kids pack lunches (some kind of sandwich, yogurt, fruit), Tom and I pack snacks (we get out of school earlier than they do) and we're off for the day.

On Sundays, two of us hike down to the Mega, a supermarket that's at a mall, to stock up for the week.  In the photo, the mall is the complex of white buildings.  
We procure several kinds of juice (my favorite is nectarine) and fresh breads from the bakery, which you use tongs to select and place on a metal tray you carry around the bakery area.  Then you bring the load up to the counter and they bag and price the lot for you.  It is the same routine in the panadarias (bakeries).  During the week, we get barbecued chicken from Carlos, fruits from the market stalls, and shaved ice after school from the gentleman with the red ice chest bungied onto a dolly who always has two flavors but they vary every day.  Noah's been adventurous (limon with chile), and Dana and I like mantecado (vanilla with nuts and raisins).

We've been out to eat at an open air taco place that also does baked potatoes, a teeny-tiny Japanese restaurant, and a cafe where the tables are on a bridge over a pedestrian walkway.  We also had an excellent Thanksgiving feast which included cranberry margaritas, turkey with mole instead of gravy, and cornbread stuffing with chipotle peppers. When we are out on the coast in a few weeks, we understand seafood and tropical fruits will be standard fare, but we're certainly enjoying the food here.  And I who love those avocados and limons, am trying not to worry about having to give them up in January.


Springboard said...

so, I was really hoping to hear more about the pumpkin pie Mexican style! Sounds like you are all having so much fun down there, and learning so much. Thanks for updating us with this blog. It's kinda weird here without you.... Missed you on Thanksgiving and lots of other days!

scott said...

Great Post...I was PERSUADED into eating spinal-cord soup when I was there! MMMM!!!! Tangy!!!

Laural Ringler said...

The pumpkin pie worked out well. We finally found dried ginger and the pumpkin was a different variety than I've seen before, but it tasted great. Spinal-cord soup, wow. Tom and Noah tried chapulines (dried grasshoppers with chile on them) but that's as adventurous as we've gotten.

Llew said...

Well, our gingerbread houses are at the Port and we scoped out others to see how they would fare against the Eifel next seson. There is one there, a tree of sorts that is the two feet tall limit. It looks taller on the table. Vonnie is already planning. Grasshoppers! even chocolated sound far, far away from my tasting. Happy holidays to you. We will sing you a carol.

Emily said...

that food looks so yummy, I wish i could just snatch it right out of the picture! but i think i might pass on the grasshopers noah ate well skyping, they sounded very crunchy.
Emily p

Emily said...
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