Looking Back on our Chef’s Trip to Mexico City…

“No es de donde es el ingrediente originario, sino lo que el ingrediente representa para una cultura” .      “It’s not the origin of an ingredient that’s important, but what that ingredient represents for a culture.”                 –Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita

These words by Ricardo caught my attention before leaving to our Mexico City Chef’s Trip in January.   They got me even more excited for the trip; the reunion with both Ricardo Muñoz and Ana Elena Martínez, our shared sense of purpose, the smells, sounds, colors of people, of foods, structures, skies–everything that makes your land of birth sing to you, always calling you home. These words especially got me looking forward to seeing our guests fall for Mexico and, “getting” the importance of what an ingredient can, indeed, represent for a culture.

And fall they did. Some- once again, others- for the first time, others still- through our viewpoint. A marvelous combination of food people, from different backgrounds and cultures and culinary experiences. They soaked up the subtle difference of a cooked- as opposed to an uncooked- tomatillo in a “raw” salsa, our delicious mestizo food world and it’s class differences- visible in our cuisines, a joyful miscegenation of ingredients and techniques; the depths that corn reaches back into our culture, the soul food of Tlaxcala, a warm northerner’s rock and roll edgy cooking, the happily “surreal” idiosyncrasies of our country and their influence on a chef and perception of  color, a  chef’s conscientious quest to go back- and bring forward- old styles a la slow foods….Chefs Ricardo Muñoz, Josefina Santacruz, Irad Santacruz, Cooks Nicolas Hernández and Dalia Rodríguez, Chefs Antonio de Livier, Martha Ortíz and Gerardo Vázquez Lugo outdid themselves and REALLY showcased those ingredients and what they represent to our multi cultures of Mexico. I can’t thank them enough.

We will be posting photos of the trip now and then between sending out a cry for Oaxaca, which we shall visit in September at the end of the abundant harvests of rainy season. More to come on that fabulous trip!

I had Ricardo’s words in my mind on the way to Mexico City.  But they came back to me while reflecting on Marilyn Tausend’s departure and what she means to me, her unplanned influence on so many people over 30 years, her stubbornness for Mexico, for cooking, writing, learning and, connecting people.  Her lost soul as a child, found again perhaps in Mexico, makes me  realize that it is not her origin that is important, but what she means and represents to the Mexican culture and the world she created.

Mil gracias, Marilyn, q.e.p.d.

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“Tu Ausencia” -not just another bolero, this one is for Marilyn.

A newer bolero, written by Martha Rangel and Alberto Elorza in the ’60’s begins,

“Es tanta la pena que tengo, que no puedo ni cantar…”

I feel so much sorrow, that I cannot even sing. “Tu Ausencia“- Your Absence, is the title.

That is how I feel at this moment, so I shall not attempt to write for a few of days.

But I will again, very soon, with great joy and purpose.

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A Farewell- by Ana Elena Martínez and Carmen Barnard

At the start of a new Culinary Adventures, on Jan 22nd, 2018 in Mexico City, at 6 pm, the inimitable Marilyn L Tausend, started her final adventure to the eternity, leaving from her favorite country, where she started her culinary adventures 31 years ago…
She was at peace.
Thank you Marilyn for bringing all of us together.

Chefs’ Trip to Mexico City January, 2018 By Carmen Barnard

Our chefs’ trip to Mexico City is full and ready to go! Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita has taken out all the stops as usual- if not even more so- with this resounding come back of Culinary Adventures Inc, in an effort to do our own dear Marilyn Tausend proud. Ricardo, Ana Elena Martínez and I are very enthused and happy to see each other again, showing and sharing our country’s cultures through its cuisines along with a dream-like assemblage of avant garde chefs! I will write post trip: be on the look out for an envy inspiring informative tale about our first trip for 2018!

¡Felíz año nuevo/ Happy New Year 2018 from all of us at Culinary Adventures, Inc.!

 

Oaxaca Trip 2018 – DATE CHANGE: September 2-10, 2018! by Carmen Barnard

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Due to a situation beyond my control, I had to cancel our February Trip to Oaxaca two weeks ago. I did let everyone signed up know right away, of course. And just a while ago, I have let that same kind group of people know the new dates that Ricardo, Ana Elena, and I worked out. And now available for our public at large…

Our new dates are: September 2-10th, 2018!

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With a large population of culturally and linguistically diverse original people, plus the variations on Spanish, African and other mixes, Oaxaca is probably one of the easiest parts of Mexico to “see” and get a sense of our how culturally diverse our country truly is.

Attention to detail in a very distinctive manner is a truly oaxaqueño trait, no matter the cultural background. Complex detail is part of the Oaxacan people’s arts; whether culinary, handicraft or plastic (“fine”): the countless textiles, pottery and handicrafts with beautiful detailing, the wondrous and prolific graphic arts school and painting too, the music, and of course, our focus, the cuisine. The market stalls, local herbs, complex combinations, finely ground ingredients, sophisticated methods, delightful breads and nationally famous cheese make Oaxaca a food lover’s dream come true.

 

Between Chef Ricardo Muñoz’s expertise and knowledge, Ana Elena Martinez’s culinary and travel know-how, our friendship of years with local cooks, artisans and guides, and my bi-cultural perspective to help bridge gaps and queries, your trip to Oaxaca will be intimate, guest-like, non-intrusive, delicious, addictive and truly memorable.

We all look forward to seeing you in Oaxaca.

¡Hasta pronto!                                       [musical link: https://youtu.be/lOugXvfi2yw]

Carmen


We stay in a local hotel in the heart of the colonial city of Oaxaca. The zócalo, or main square, is lovely for people watching or enjoying coffee at a sidewalk cafe. The grid layout makes it easy to explore the city and shop during your free time. The nearby market is beautiful, filled with local produce, food, and kitchen utensil stalls. There are endless amounts of cultural things from traditional to contemporary to see, hear and enjoy in Oaxaca, and of course, to taste!

We have limited space on our culinary trips, so if interested in participating, let us know as soon as possible. Celebrating our 30 years of pioneering culinary travel in Mexico, our Oaxaca Trip 2018 is $3750 and includes classes and demos, hotel, two meals a day and all fees associated with the trip, excluding airfare.

office@culinaryadventuresinc.com                                                                                             760-577-2810

Oaxaca Trip February 3-11, 2018: A visual prelude… Thank you to our friend, photographer Ignacio Urquiza, for his beautiful eye. (Trip info posting very, very soon…)

Tejate
Woman mixing the indigenous tejate drink made with cacao. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
armadillos oaxaca
Woman selling armadillos in market in Oaxaca. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
Woman with comal
Woman carring a comal atop her head. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
Reyna
Reyna Mendoza using the local string cheese called quesillo. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
Iguana
Indigenous woman carrying an iguana to the local market. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
Abigail Mendoza
Zapotec Abilgail Mendoza making masa on her metate, Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
Tortillas
Tortillas or blandas from Oaxaca. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza
Clayuda
Clayudas, giant crispy tortillas from Oaxaca. © 2012 Ignacio Urquiza

“Should I? Can I? Why Didn’t I?” A last call… Chefs’ Trip to Mexico City, January-deep winter- 2018 By Carmen Barnard (Marilyn doesn’t know I wrote this…yet!)

Deep into winter, brooding and shivering, these questions could echo in your mind as you lament not having reached out to see if there was maybe, perhaps, one spot left for you on that Chefs’ trip to Mexico City.

As you ponder the depths of your despair, you envision chefs intently observing a class, ricardo-muncc83ozver17-carmenbarnardb.jpegin a beautiful room filled with mind-boggling aromas and scents; market scenes try to form in your head; sounds of laughter and joy as you lift yet another copita de mezcal…(¿qué es mezcal? Why do I now speak Spanish? Why in italics? eh?) You recall Carmen’s much touted,  “kitchen dynamics” and “banter,” between chef and staff–what banter? Why? How do Mexican chefs banter, for Pete’s sake?  Who is Pete, anyway? Pedro? What does Carmen know about chefs or banter? Who is Pedro? Was he at the mezcalería or the cooking demo? at Azul?

All these troubling thoughts and longings could be avoided if you get a hold of Carmen today and see if there is still, perhaps, one spot remaining, just for you. office@culinaryadventuresinc.com

Life is short, Mexico is eternal. Our trip- now almost full.  Mexico City average January daytime highs: 71˚F.  You deserve to learn from the best chefs of Mexico, while you take a break. In a temperate climate.

¡Hasta pronto!

Carmen