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A Culinary Tour of Mexico

February 23, 2012

Map of Mexico, with UTSA's culinary tour destinations highlighted: Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Colima,Quintana Roo, Puebla, and Oaxaca

During the 2011-2012 schoolyear, UTSA Libraries, UTSA Rec Center, and student organization La Despedida have been collaborating to host a culinary tour of Mexico.  Each event includes a brief introduction to special collections and UTSA’s Mexican Cookbook Collection, an overview of La Despedida’s activities, and a hands-on cooking demonstration featuring recipes from CONACULTA’s La Cocina Familiar in el estado de… series.

The recipes in these cookbooks were originally originally gathered in the 1980s by Banco Nacional de Credito Rural and published in state-themed cookbooks with titles in the form Comida familiar en el estado de… In the early 2000s, the series was re-issued by El Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Conaculta) and the publisher Océano.  Because the recipes were gathered directly from individuals and families in the various states, these books have something of the flavor of community cookbooks, including a mix of traditional, updated, and idiosyncratic recipes.

During the fall semester, we kicked off with appetizers from across Mexico, followed by flautas de pollo from Nuevo Leon, caldo de ejotes con calabacitas from Sonora. So far this spring, we’ve prepared Camarones a la Diabla from Colima and Enfrijoladas from  Quintana Roo.

January cooking demo - shrimpJanuary cooking demo - group cookingJanuary cooking demo - pomegranate seeds

Prepararing Camarones a la Diabla and Pomegranate Guacamole from Colima  (January Demo). Photos courtesy of Stephanie Sanchez, Communications Specialist.

Attendees have expressed appreciation for the chance to try recipes that are outside their everyday experience.  Nadya Meza noted that she has enjoyed “all the recipes I get to try that I never imagined would go so well, like the avocado and pomegranate guacamole,”  and Ernesto Olivarez mentioned that the dishes are “very unique” and that he’d like to see more of them.

La Despedida student Ana Navarro, who has been instrumental in organizing the series describes her experience of the series like this: “From the early stages of the planning for “A Culinary Tour of Mexico” I knew it would be exciting to expose UTSA students to the traditional foods Mexico offers. During the first cooking demo, students in attendance were so engaged and interested about learning not only about cooking, but culture. I feel like projects such as these tie education and recreation in a perfectly-tasty way.”

February Cooking Demo 4February Cooking Demo 1Enfrjioladas de crema. Photo courtesy of Nadya Meza

Preparing Enfrijoladas de Crema from Quintana Roo (February Demo).
Photos courtesy of Nayda Meza.

And more tasty education is coming up!  On March 7th, we’ll be journeying to Oaxaca with a hands-on demonstration of Estofado de miltomate.  This tomatillo-based chicken stew is richly flavored with capers, olives, almonds, and spices.  Join us from 5:30-6:30pm in the UTSA Rec Center Demonstration Kitchen.

The complete schedule of Culinary Tour Demo Kitchen events can be found at http://lacocinahistorica.wordpress.com/culinary-tour-of-mexico. These events are open to all UTSA students, faculty and staff. No RSVP required … just show up hungry and ready to cook! 

La Cocina familiar en el estado de Oaxaca

La Cocina familiar en el estado de Oaxaca (2000)

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