Culinary Adventures Again! A Background Tale by Carmen Barnard

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.

¡Hasta pronto!

Carmen Barnard Baca

 

Culinary Adventures, Inc.: Changes in the Works!

After over 30 years of planning and leading Culinary Adventures to various locations throughout Mexico, I am turning the reins over to Carmen Barnard Baca, who was my assistant when I started doing these trips back in 1988. In the meanwhile, Carmen has been busy raising a family of her own, but now has the time to assume the leadership.

Carmen will continue working with her great friends and comrades, Ricardo Muñoz Zurita and Ana Elena Martínez, while I step up to the comfortable role of brainstorming and planning.

We have a Chefs’ trip planned for Mexico City in January 22-29th, 2018 and we are working on a special trip to Oaxaca also for late winter-early spring 2018.

Join Me In Veracruz’s Tropical Melting Pot

January 21-28, 2017

Here in Veracruz you will be engulfed with sensations…the sounds, sights and tastes of this port of call of Spanish conquistadors, and their African slaves, along with those already a part of this first Mesoamerican civilization.

Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Ricardo Munoz will share their knowledge of the local cuisine and regional food historian and anthropologist, Raquel Torres will give a class on Afro-Caribbean dishes.

— While there, sit on the zocalo in the port and listen to the music and the incessant rhythm of daily life.

— Tap your spoon for a café con leche at the over 200 year old Gran Café de la Parroquia.

—Visit the villages of La Antigua and Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, where Cortes first landed in 1519.

— See the site of the ancient city of El Tajin where the Totonac “flying dancers” perform their ceremonial aerial dance, hanging by their feet from a tall pole and slowly spinning to the ground.

—Stay in Coatepec, Mexico’s coffee capital.

—Travel to a vanilla orchid growing region and see vanilla being processed.

—Spend time at the magnificent Museo de Antropologica in Xalapa.

—Join me in eating my favorite mole in Xico, made, of all things, prunes…and of course, other

ingredients, as well.

 

For more information, Contact Marilyn Tausend or Carmen Barnard at Culinary Adventures Inc.

Email:  carmenculinary@gmail.com

Ricardo Muñoz Zurita on His New Dictionary and the Richness of Mexican Gastronomy

ricardo-munoz-zurita-interview

Photo: Mesamerica

In the following interview by Gabe Ulla of Eater.com, Ricardo talks about the dictionary project, his career, and the new generation of Mexican cooks.

Ricardo Muñoz Zurita has dedicated his life to Mexican food. He’s one of the country’s most well-regarded chefs, with several restaurants in Mexico City, but he hopes to be remembered for the eleven books he’s authored (so far) on topics ranging from chilis to salsas to colors in his country’s cooking. His greatest work is perhaps the Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana, a text that aims to codify every ingredient and technique in the vast gastronomic canon of Mexico. The most recent edition, edited by Larousse, represents the culmination of twenty-two years of work. Not to mention Muñoz Zurita took on the project in 80s, at a time when nothing like it existed, and Mexico’s culinary scene was in a sad state of affairs. The Larousse edition has just been released in Mexico and is currently being translated to English by the University of Texas at Austin.

To read the full interview go here.