Many of you may know me, or of me, from days of yore; the majority, not. For those who do, please skip this self referent prattle.
I believe a background story is pertinent to this lovely revival and renewal of Culinary Adventures, Inc.
Marilyn came to me in my hometown of Morelia, Michoacán, when we were both younger and carefree (I am now actually Marilyn’s age when she started up these trips). Cashing in on a family debt-moral, of course! (an interesting tale left to tell on one of our trips) she roped me in to help her set up culinary trips to Mexico. I was duly horrified, being chronically shy and carrying the burden of looking perpetually like a tourist in my land. In her characteristic fashion, Marilyn took me under her wing and cajoled me into help start what has proven to be a pioneering business in Mexico, and thoroughly character building for yours truly, (as she so often would insist with me when I was balking at my duties, ignoring my pleas that I had too much character and needed less, if anything) and, I must say-being the eldest of our trio, for both Ricardo and Ana Elena.
In December 1997, a Northeastern Mexican man crossed my path (take note of him, for he will be mentioned now again on many a future trip, as I rant about his region’s names for ingredients as opposed to mine, wonderful Palestinian-Lebanese food from his family, multi-cultural Mexico– you’ll see) and I left Marilyn in the lurch (she so nicely put it, “to raise a family”), forcing Ricardo to add my role to his and bring our beloved Ana Elena into the fold.
I, madly in love with the handsome northerner, could have cared less: but I did care, for I really missed traveling throughout Mexico with Marilyn and Ricardo and investigating new trips and converting foreigners into Mexico-philes (my secret goal, I don’t think it’s in Culinary Adventures ethos.. or is it? I shall check), along with the fact that said regional travels gave me endless material for my off season work, fine arts. Moving, blinded by love, to the US, created in me an even deeper longing and perpetual homesickness for my country of birth and choice.
Marilyn and Fred invited me to join them in Veracruz this past January, as a farewell to Culinary Adventures. I was very happy to soon be reunited with the people and places I dream of daily, but at the same time extremely sad for all those 30 years of work coming to an end. When Marilyn unexpectedly announced in March that she and Fred had decided to turn the reins over to me, I burst into song. I then stayed up all night musing and reviewing my relationship with lifelong family friends, the Tausends and México.
Today, in late July, here we are, plotting and planning and reinvigorated with the thought of creating new addicts to Mexico, sharing our culture and people with friends old and new. Marilyn is “up” in Gig Harbor, Washington, keeping a long distance eye on me “down” here in Encinitas, California, giving instruction and discussing ideas and plans. Ricardo and Ana Elena are blessed to be in Mexico; we are all brainstorming, and working together cross border as a team to begin this new era of the unique company, Culinary Adventures, Inc!
Very soon to post will be our Mexico City Chefs’ Trip January 22-28, 2018 and then our Oaxaca Trip for Aficionados (late winter) 2018.
Carmen Barnard Baca