Marilyn’s Reason For Coming To Mexico Has Departed (July 6, 1933-December 18, 2018)

This past Tuesday evening, December 18th, Fredric Cutner Tausend passed away peacefully in Seattle, Washington.

With him departs a legacy of great legal work, historic cases in American law. One such case brought him to Mexico, via my father, Robert Currie Barnard. Through this unprecedented case, grew a lifelong friendship with not only our family, but with many others throughout México.

I will never forget when Fred and his then wife Sandra, with our family of 5, crammed into a Mexico City taxi on our way to a mariachi and pozole joint off Obrero Mundial. Fred announced, “Bob, I’ve learned to yodel!” and promptly threw back his head to demonstrate. The taxi driver swerved in surprise and proceeded to laugh uproariously. I was mesmerized and fell in love… at age two. A man who loves pozole and mariachis and yodels? What more could I ask for?
When Fred brought his new wife to meet us, with her crazy plans to start culinary trips for foreigners to learn about regional Mexican food, I was taken aback and startled. A British woman [Diana Kennedy] who people revere in the US introducing them to the local ingredients? My godmothers and friends receiving gringos in their homes so they can learn my favorite foods? My markets? Insane. Yet there was something to it that was like a magnet. And, if Fred loved this woman and brought her to us, she must be pretty cool, ¿no?

53 years later, both these monumental figures of my childhood are gone. They leave memories of hilarious conversations about food, religion, politics, endless puns with Fred, Gershwin songs, boleros, plots for operas set in Veracruz, musicals, traveling orchestras that could magically appear at the spur of the moment on the way to Celestun, or Tecolutla. Arguments, disagreements, parental advice, learning to accept others with their own shadows and fears, learning to accept people for who they are, as they are. Thank you both for this.

I miss Fred and Marilyn as much as my own parents, and am, weirdly enough, eternally grateful for the exhausting lawsuit that brought us together and hence, where we are today.

Que en paz descansen.

New Trips, Renewed Vision, Going Back to Our Origins

On our upcoming trips in 2019, you will receive the incisive teachings of Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita. Going back to the origins of our culinary adventures, I am re-integrating the fundamental presence of local cooks on all of our trips. These are the people Ricardo –and other chefs– learn from. And the dynamics between cook and chef are marvelous to behold. It reflects a cultural trait most beloved: the respect and appreciation for our elders and those with deep knowledge of their culture.

Join us. My aim is that you fully enjoy and witness our country’s rich, warm, profound cultures. Through food, of course!

office@culinaryadventuresinc.com                 (760) 577-2810 (PST)

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Nopales/cactus paddles: a delicious millenary food, consumed throughout Mexico. And by those of us living abroad!

What Is On Instagram…

Check us out on Instagram- we post some short and sweet stuff- plus you can then see many of our cooks and chefs this way:

 

Upcoming trip: Mexico City, Puebla, Tlaxcala March 10-18,2019.

Sign up now! office@culinaryadventuresinc.com

Snapshots of Puebla and Tlaxcala, ¡vamos! March 2019

Tiles, cazuelas, Colonial, Baroque, tradition, the origin of corn, ‘ancient grains’, moles, mills, tamales, fresh ingredients, markets, contemporary takes on very traditional cuisines… Just a few key subjects on our upcoming trip to the high plateau of central Mexico– Mexico City-Puebla-Tlaxcala, March 10-18, 2019.

Sign up now! Call or email Carmen: (760) 577-2810  office@culinaryadventuresinc.com

 

 

We’re Ready to Go! *Mexico City-Puebla-Tlaxcala* March 10-18, 2019

We are very happy to announce our March Culinary Adventure to the central high plateau of Mexico– Puebla and Tlaxcala!

Starting off and ending in Mexico City, our very own Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita will launch us into this culinary world and recap at the end of our adventures. We will explore the colonial beauty of Puebla– which is Ana Elena Martínez‘s hometown, the small but mighty and historically weighty Tlaxcala– with Chef Irad Santacruz, Cooks Nicolás Hernández Muñoz and Dalia Rodríguez Hernández, delving into the distinctive, extraordinary foods that each place adds to Mexico’s soul satisfying gastronomy.

Plan to arrive at least a day early to join our group from the very first gathering on Sunday, March 10th, 2019 at 6pm.

The fee for this culinary adventure is $3750 double occupancy, $4000 single occupancy. As is custom these past 33 years, our fee includes daily classes and demos, 8 nights hotel, at least two meals a day and all fees associated with the trip, excluding airfare. All classes include well-served tastings or meals– you do not go hungry on our trips!

A $400 deposit is required to reserve a spot on our trip with the balance due January 25th, 2019.

Ricardo, Ana Elena and I are committed to sharing our respective knowledge, love and passion of our country’s culinary riches, our people, and regional cultures. After 33 years, we still get all revved up planning a new adventure!

Email Carmen now to sign up at: office@culinaryadventuresinc.com

¡Hasta pronto!

Next Stop: Yucatán

Yucatán State–  January 13-21, 2019                          

From the serene, colonial state capital of Mérida, to majestic Uxmal on the Puuc loop of archeological sites, we will soak up Yucatán via regional food –of course– music, and history.

Join us and visit Mexico through our unusual perspective! Email for information at: office@culinaryadventuresinc.com

    –Since 1988– Pioneers in Mexico Culinary Travel   

 

Puebla/Tlaxcala Late Winter

Why Not Start With Dessert? Snap Shot of Micro Xalapa ’18 Trip

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August 10th to 15th, we went to Xalapa, Veracruz to learn from Anthropologist and Cook Raquel Torres Cerdán. Raquel generously connected us with her students and peers.

These dessert photos reflect the new and traditional- from young Chef Alejandra Ramírez of Coatepec, infusing her creations with memories of childhood amidst coffee forests, Chef Luis Palmeros experimenting with his well learned local ingredients in Xalapa (check Instagram: ___whiteroom El Cuarto Blanco) to Pujol-trained Chef Erik Guerrero, revolutionizing fishing near his hometown of Veracruz and cooking up sophisticated delights with, again, local ingredients! Of course we have classic Xalapa with Raquel Torres and her superb flavors.

Below is a slide show of our trip which included Jim Maser of Picante in Berkeley, CA, Omar Rodriguez of Oyamel in D.C. , and Churchill Orchards of Ojai, CA.

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We Are Pretty Like-able, Modesty Aside. Join Us in Mexico!

Check us out! These photos speak volumes about camaraderie, conviction, passion and purpose– join us on one of our next culinary adventures as a guest traveller in our country, not as a tourist– where we share the best of our regions’ food people with you. From chefs trips to aficionados, enjoy our 33 years of culinary friendships and family!

 

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Oaxaca, A Quick Sketch.

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I will let the photos below speak for the beauty that is Oaxaca; its gorgeous landscape, deliciously intricate foods, and marvelous people.

Chef Ricardo Muñoz, our local Chefs and Cooks, food and handicraft Artisans, guides, restauranteurs, and hoteliers enveloped our group with the warmth and profundity of this moving region: Reina Mendoza and Family, Soledad DíazPilar Cabrera, Oscar Carrizosa,  Familia Pérez, Familia Vázquez,  and Familia Cabrera.

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And, I must celebrate our travelers– it is such a pleasure to attend each one of you; every trip reaffirms what I have learned these past 33 years: food always brings people together, restoring one’s faith in humanity!

 

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Xalapa August 10-15: 1 spot left. It’s yours!

Returning early July from a setup trip to Xalapa, I am beyond happy with what is in store for you.

Las Vigas, Ver
seasonal ingredients

The beauty of the region, the bounty of the rainy season, and the knowledge, pride and passion of our cooks and chefs is absolutely inspiring.  There is no doubt that cooking is humanity’s saving grace.

Contact us about the one spot left- it comes with a plus!                                                760-577-2810                                                                                                                                                  office@culinaryadventuresinc.com

Acuyo Taller
Yes! You will be here, learning!
area Coatepc
heavenly shade of acuyo leaves
view from el Perote
No, Veracruz is not just tropical and sub-this is pine forest where we shall have a class!

 

 

The Plaza -or Zócalo- in Mexico: a Place to Reflect.

I keep thinking of the plazas- or zócalos- in Mexico.
The plaza de armas in my hometown Morelia; with Magnolia trees and roses, pink cantera stone fountains, our exquisite cathedral, and surrounding archways with cafés full of all the regional political, universities, art and music gossip imaginable.
The Port of Veracruz’s tiled square, with its rare moments of silence and long hours of vibrancy filled with music, dance and food.
Oaxaca’s majestic zócalo is filled people from every region of the state, mixed in are international visitors. In the rainy season women float by with flat baskets carrying gardenias, as in a dream.
Each plaza in each town or city is like a stage set with different casts, lighting, sounds and sets.
After learning local cuisines all day, those plaza benches are a place to reaffirm, reassess what these regional foods are all about–“take the pulse of the culture,” my father would call it.
You find yourself surrounded by the people who make these cuisines what they are. Without the Mexican people– the humble, average people– there is no Mexican food.
No matter where you are in the world, Mexican eateries cannot taste even slightly like Mexico without its people in the back or front of store or in the mind of the cook(s).
Even in home cooking, when preparing something as “simple” as a pot of beans, one’s mother, grandmother, grandfather, godmother, neighbor, friend, teacher, mentor – a real person- will be perched on your shoulder, accompanying you as you prepare what you have learned by osmosis or intentionally, tutting, encouraging, correcting, scolding.
One of the pleasures of learning through our trips is having these plazas to reflect and ponder and savor what you are absorbing daily.
Join us soon on a Culinary Adventure: Ricardo, Ana Elena, and yours truly are happy to share our country’s many foods and many cultures and bring you in touch with our people in each region- not as a tourist but as a guest!
information at: office@culinaryadventuresinc.com or (760) 577-2810

La Jornada

http://www.jornada.com.mx/sin-fronteras/2018/06/08/anthony-bourdain-el-hombre-que-bebio-tequila-amo-a-mexico-y-a-sus-inmigrantes-5767.html

This article is well worth popping into a translating application. Mr Bourdain truly understood and respected our people, our culture. Que en paz descanse. May he rest in peace.

Our Classic Culinary Trip to Oaxaca September 2-10, 2018– Filling Up!

If you have joined us in the past, you will recognized these two.

Ana Elena Martínez: quiet, dignified, tremendously talented, and kind. A chef and pastry specialist-including chocolate- in her own right, Ana Elena makes coordinating trips seem effortless. (She is also a great joy to have morning coffee with and muse on our days events.)

Ricardo Muñoz: What can I say? As pioneer chef of Mexican cuisine and ardent researcher of Mexican foods and ingredients, he has written many Mexican cookbooks including his Diccionario Enciclopédico de Gastronomía Mexicana [Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mexican Gastronomy] (Larousse, 2012), which awaiting final editing from the University of Texas Press for its English version. In August, 2016, the “Chevalier de l’Ordre Mondial de L’Académie Culinaire de France” was awarded to him. Ricardo  is chef/owner of the Azul restaurants in Mexico City. And on our trips Ricardo brings a contagious joy and passion to his classes which is simply a delight to witness.

Mexico is a place that becomes etched upon your soul, through it’s people, and cultures. Oaxaca is one of the most dramatic of our regions. Our trip is filling up. Take the leap and sign up now!

¡hasta pronto!

Carmen

We have limited space and reservation time, so if interested in participating, a $400 deposit is due asap, balance, July 2.  Celebrating our 30 years of pioneering culinary travel in Mexico, our Oaxaca Trip 2018 is $3750 and includes daily classes and demos, 8 nights hotel, two meals a day and all fees associated with the trip, excluding airfare. (Based on double occupancy, there is a $250 single supplement fee)

office@culinaryadventuresinc.com                                            Carmen’s phone:760-577-2810

Xalapa- August 10-15th, 2018

Our trip is filling up!  Need I say more? Call me with any questions.

¡Hasta pronto!

Carmen

email: office@culinaryadventuresinc.com     Carmen’s phone: 760-577-2810

[This micro trip is $1850 and includes 4 classes, hotel (based on double occupancy), two meals a day, and all fees associated with the trip, excluding airfare. $400 deposit due asap, balance due June 12.]

It might have been.

20170123_193941Ah that sad lament, it might have been. Do not delay in signing up- August will be upon you, the stress of summer never eased by a visit to the region where your cup of coffee on this continent began. [Unless of course you are drinking coffee from its original continent. But go along with me here please, for the sake of lyricism.] Had the dubious Cortés not landed in Veracruz, I would not exist. I would not be here to recount the joys of watching Raquel Torres, as she explains with warmth and serenity, the delights of her regional food. You would not awaken one morning, summoned to gather rainy season mushrooms in a forest in Mexico. Think about that…

Then there is another despondent thought. It is Labor Day weekend. Your nose is assaulted by the smells of hotdogs and other American delights. But you are not drinking  a form of chocolate which clarifies the Latin name of Theobroma cacao in one single sip. “Indeed- the food of the Gods, and I am partaking of it. I am deserving,” you would reflect. Chef Ricardo waxes poetics on the complex flavors of Oaxacan cuisine and life is forever altered. Your tastebuds and your soul  revived and uplifted, stamped upon your memory in a manner that would carry you forth in other days that come when life is not so easy or fun…

Encountering foods from other parts, meeting those who prepare their food with care and kindness, is perhaps one of the most pleasant things we humans can do, putting aside all prejudices and differences. What each region does with the foods it produces is a work of art, a majesty of human nature that redeems us from our destructive side.

Allow us to share the grace and beauty of our country. It will revive and uplift you; you will cast a kinder eye on your own part of the world, finding local peace and pleasure because you saw it in another place, different from yours.  Don’t regret it and find yourself thinking, “oh, it might have been!”

¡Hasta pronto!

Carmen

office@culinaryadventuresinc.com  760-577-2810