I’ve been home from Mexico for a few days, but it’s not been an easy re-entry. It’s been gray and gloomy, no bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine and mountains.
I’m getting over it. Slowly.
It was a lovely week of writing with the inimitable Betty Fussell. She’s brilliant, funny, inquisitive and inspiring. I will forever feel grateful for these few days . What a treat to talk about corn with the woman who knows all about corn. To hear about food as culture, and culture as food, and how the world of food writing has evolved.
And the bonus? Paul Muldoon, Yes, a remarkable poet, but also, a completely hilarious fellow. I’ve been reading his poetry since returning and it’s probably extra special that I can hear his Irish voice reading, but mostly I’m appreciating his sharp political wit and how much he admires clever wordplay. It’s all good. Every bit.
Paul and Betty are long-time friends, which was a joy to experience. We three were houseguests of Janet Dawson and Doug Clark, dear friends of mine who lived here in Washington a decade ago, who are the most generous and thoughtful hosts. Their gracious home is magical. It’s an art museum and Janet is the curator who orchestrates the colors and rhythms of the rooms and how they echo the colors of Mexico, the sunset, the mountains, the marketplace. It’s a feast for the eyes.
So much about this experience was remarkable. My writing got a good shot in the arm. The interplay of workshop, sharing, experiencing with the other writers was exquisite and energizing and I feel so ready now to take on the next stage of book writing and recipe developing. Amy, Annie, Dawn, Dorothy, Felicia, Marta, Perre – thank you all for everything.
I ate my fill of ripe kumquats from the tree at the base of the garden. We all loved Ice Drops, a 2006 recipe from Amanda Hesser that has everything I’ve always admired about Amanda in one exquisitely simple concoction. If you can find kumquats, try this little treat. Your mouth will thank you.
Jeepers, it’s miserable to come back to the produce here after wandering the market selecting tiny apricot colored mangos and perfectly ripe avocados. I miss the warm cloudlike tortillas and the salsas. Chiles piled high. So tonight, we’re having Pati Jinich’s Chicken Tinga - using jars of tomatoes, chiles in adobo, chicken stock and pickled peppers from my pantry, and a little chicken I roasted this afternoon. I’ll make tortillas and slice avocados and put out the crema and queso fresco. And when it’s time to sit down for dinner, I’ll pour a little blue rimmed shot glass of tequila and toast my new friends, the poets and the prosies of Tepoztlan.I ate the grasshoppers Cocinar Mexicano classes. Revelation – peanuts, roasted garlic & roasted arbols = salsa! The fungus among us. Huitlacotche (right) Seta (left) Genius idea we need to adopt. Replace the broom. Re-use the handle.