Diana Kennedy... The Mexican Julia Child

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Her neighbors in Michoacán call her “gringa”; you listen to her speaking English and you can notice her British accent but what is this British-gringa doing all dressed up like a Mexican native.

She was asked what brought her to Mexico in 1957: “the sparkle of an American man” she replied laughing

Diana had to move to México after marrying a man who worked for the New York Times, not knowing that this fact would make her the world’s most famous woman in Mexican cuisine. I looked in history books that are used in culinary colleges and her name appears simply in all of them.

Thanks to Books and Books in the city of Coral Gables, FL, Diana showed us her new book “Oaxaca Al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy”. She told us that keeping in mind that a book like this has never been written before, that took her almost 2 years to make it, where most of the pictures were taken by her and because of Oaxaca is an unknown gastronomical treasure; the price of $50 is a total bargain.

The book is a review of many trips and researches that she made in this so rich in agriculture zone due to the diversity in “microweathers” it has. The book is an impressive journey through each region, accompanied by hundreds of pictures and 300 home recipes with very intimate comments from Kennedy, that only make us addicts to get to know more about the three pillars of Oaxaca: cocoa, corn and chilis. Being this region the mother of 24 important chilis and even unique chilis of the zone; the reason of the delicious and colorful “moles”

This fascinating woman, who’s the author of more than 10 books about Mexican Cooking, told us about her “green house” in Michoacán, where everything that’s planted is eaten. All the water that’s used is picked from the rain and the stove “island style” in the middle of her kitchen, is still made of stones.

Before leaving, she left us with some wise messages:*

  • No one has told you about Oaxaca and its chilis like I do it in this new book.
  • Her favorite drink is the Tejate, a drink made of cocoa and corn, very refreshing and native from Oaxaca.
  • One of her favorite recipes of the book: empanadas of Sierra Azul.
  • Nobody needs to bathe for more than two minutes “she said laughing”… we need to save water.
  • Support the local farmers, is all we have left.
  • Do not eat garlic from China or Korea, México produces excellent quality.
  • Do not eat chile de árbol that doesn’t have stems. If it doesn’t have a stem, comes from China and is not the same.
  • A green tomatillo that’s bigger won’t be yummier…it has simply been altered in California…eat the small ones from local farmers in México.
  • The best apples and bananas of the world are the ones from Oaxaca. There are varieties that I didn’t even know myself.
  • Learn about the real color and size of chiles guajillo so you won’t get fooled by China ones.
  • Oaxaca, the richest in gastronomy region of all Mexico.
  • Not having an ingredient is not an excuse…search, look up, ask, find and cook.

And well… her last message was in private for me… she gave me her number so I could go visit her in Michoacán to cook together a couple of days… I will tell you later on if my dream came true ;)

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Doreen is an Editor of:

 

Doreen is Celebrity Chef of:

Novo Nordisk

 

Doreen supports:

Baptist Health Foundation

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