Thursday, November 3, 2016

MISCONCEPTIONS






No Way Jose !
                                Stereotyping and Generalizations


It has been over two years since I last posted a journal entry.  
A  very  busy time and I apologize for the long silence

We have built a home in Centro,
the historical district of San Miguel Allende

in the state of Guanajuato
Buildings in central Mexico are built of masonry 
WOOD IS SCARCE IN MUCH OF MEXICO
The Guanajuato Countryside



CASA LALA


The finished project is under wraps until after publication

in 2017


If you go back to my last journal entry

 August 2014 

Do you know the way to San Miguel ?


San Miguel is for Lovers...


you will better understand
why we fell in love with this magical town

THE PARROQUIA

This is Mexico ???


NO CAPTION NEEDED

A fun easy read that gives a Gringo insight into the culture and the people


Living here we have learned  that
generalizations and stereotyping simply don't apply

 Mexicans are industrious and hardworking
I promise you will never see one snoozing
(under a cactus anywhere)


They work from sunrise to sunset 6 days a week

RAIN or SHINE

They will keep at it till you are happy with results

They simply have a different mind set culturally 
from what 
GRINGOS 
(North Americans)
are used to

Mexicans are Americans too !
Best NOT forget that

Siesta
is between 1:30-4:00 
when lunch is taken


Sundays are for family

FAMILY FIRST & ALWAYS

COMIDA is FAMILY TIME
and can stretch well into the afternoon
Siesta literally translates into a 20-30 minute nap 
It has become customary  to take a short rest after lunch 
in countries where 
the weather gets very hot

I have never seen anyone 
take a nap on a job site


COZE LINEN
BRITISH Merchants of Fine Linen
Instagram@coze_linen

SO CIVILIZED
                                           ......and good for you
In Britain where the weather is often chilly and wet 
the tradition of siesta seems to be at least as good 

photo by others
A COZE EVENT
fit for a queen


 Followed by Afternoon TEA 
(with scones and clotted cream)

another GREAT IDEA


photo by others

YUMMY

Water for tea should be boiled in an all cast iron pot
to get the full flavor and health benefits 
Authentic and beautiful cast iron teapots will be available


at
www.cremamarket.com

a Cafe and Curated Mercantile
COMING 2017

For all going through withdrawal
 from DOWNTOWN ABBEY

Tune in to NETFLIX
Premiering November 4


A NETFLIX 
10 PART EXTRAVAGANZA
The biographical first years 
of the young queen's reign


photo by others
The young Elizabeth with Prince Charles


photo by others
The Queen hosts President Nieto of Mexico
during the president's visit to Britain in 2014

Mexico is NO MORE DANGEROUS than most places  !!!


The national symbol of Mexico  
Golden Eagle with  a Snake in its beak 
perched on a Prickly Pear cactus

The symbol originated with the Aztecs




Legend has it that a golden eagle landed on a Cactus
 in the spot the
 Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan ( aka Mexico City DF) was built
(No snake originally)

The PRICKLY PEAR

also known as a Sabra has many known health benefits 

including warding off cancers

Sabras- also the name for native born Israelis- ward off a whole lot more than cancers
The designation came from the characteristics of the fruit-
Rough and Prickly on the outside- 
sweeter than sugar on the inside

Go back to my Journal Entry

MAY 2014
Something Old Something New
for a virtual tour of another amazing country
where you will mingle with many SABRAS





Mexico's streets are not filled with gunslingers or machete throwers





... and although Mexicans do LOVE 
     their firecrackers and fireworks
Mexico is safe if you use good judgement


Avoid dangerous areas just as you would
in New York or Chicago, Paris or London

MEXICO is FUN !!!!



photo by others
MEXICO is fascinating!!!




Prince Charles visits The Pyramids in Tenochtitlan
Coat and tie NOT required
Mexico is super casual and relaxed

The Prince came from afar...


This amazing country is right at the back door of the United States 
4 hours flight time from almost any major US city 



Mexico is NOT just the beach !!!

                                         No way Jose


Never quite know where our travels will lead to
     or what we will learn -   
                                                                         
                                                                                kind of like my entries


                                 Mexico can boast many glorious stretches on three coasts


San Miguel Allende



San Miguel Allende
THE HAMPTONS of MEXICO
it is a hill town with steep cobbled streets

 The 17th century architecture has FLAT roofs 
Impenetrable facades hide what lies beyond
and must be painted the required variations 
on Terracottas and Curry



Destination PATZQUARO 
                                                   in the state of Michoacan

Share the road  
Trucks loaded with  assorted hauls


Recycling is BIG business

Pork is the preferred protein of Mexico

CHAMORRO
Braised Pork Shank

(not to be confused with an Austronesian language spoken  on Guam)

Do not expect to find the Burritos or Tostadas
you know from your local Chevy's

Mexico's Culinary heritage is as varied as it's many regions
Mexico has become a world destination for foodies 
Young Mexican chefs
bring a fresh point of view to the recipes they learned from their Abuelas

photo by others

Chiles en Nogada 
boasting the colors of the Mexican flag 
A traditional dish served during the months of August and September


Leaving the arid cactus covered terrain of Guanajuato 
the landscape changes....


and gives way to lowlands flooded and marshy
natural habitats for water fowl



Every village boasts at least one church 
or three or more 
Worth a detour off the main road


Michoacan supplies agricultural products 
to all of Mexico and beyond

FIELDS OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS 

I LOVE THIS BILLBOARD


Mexico is NOT dirty !!!!

                                           No way Jose

Streets are clean
Shopkeepers wash down sidewalks daily

First stop - COMONFORT


The home of the MOLCAJETE
The Mexican version of a mortar and pestle
REQUIRED to make proper salsas and guacamole


SALSA  ROJO


The CLEAN streets are paved and FLAT
Bike deliveries make sense

LUNCH TIME

Fresh handmade Gorditas filled 
with whatever Mama has prepared 


Filling choices are endless ranging from mushrooms
to pork and chicken



VERY FILLING- hard to eat more than one

FEAR OF EATING ??? 

Let it go !!!

Eating from street vendors is safe
You will NOT get Montezuma's Revenge


THE EMPEROR OF THE AZTECS

Stick to cooked foods and bottled drinks
AVOID ANY RAW VEGETABLES AND ICE CUBES
You'll be just fine ! 

Just don't let down your guard on the airplane
going home- This is where many problems arise



On the road again 
headed toward TzinTzunTzan
Fields are abloom with cultivated flowers headed for market





The landscape changes yet again as we
approach the wooded regions that cover 
60% of the state of Michoacan



Where wood is plentiful
Architecture and  crafts change dramatically

This is Mexico ???


Looks more like Tahoe
These "CABANAS" are often whimsical and
sprout dormers from every side


Wood covered boat launches 
dot the many lakes in the region
and the imagery is not like anything 
I ever associated with Mexican design

NO WAY JOSE


With the arrival of the Spaniards
and the conquests of Cortez , the serpent was added
to the seal of the eagle on the cactus,  
representing good overcoming evil
in attempt to evangelise the natives

DIEGO RIVERA MURAL
Cortez meeting with the Aztec leaders
Ministry of Education Mexico City



HERNAN CORTEZ

They built churches and missions
enlisting the local natives
and converting them to Catholicism 

See my Journal

July 2014


EL CONVENTO DE SAN FRANCISCO

Built by the Franciscan Order 
on the site of pre Columbian places of worship

St Francis of Assisi
Frescoed into the walls of the Convento

He is the patron saint of TZINTZUNTZAN
Mastering the Indian names is tougher than learning Spanish

Love how the spring point of this archway 
hits the adjoining wall

Floor stones are also from dismantled pyramids



The natives were taught to paint frescoes 
depicting their conquerors


and sculpt plaster into intricate shapes 
as they still do today


the uncovered square of stone 
exposed in the plaster wall
reveals a carved stone from an ancient pyramid



The Franciscans planted olive trees




Massive twisted trunks reveal their 500 years of age




Local natives maintain the grounds




Last year the entire convent compound and interiors
underwent massive restoration

Young unemployed people of the town were invited to work 
on the project and learn the art of restoration



What remains of the YACATA pyramids of TzinTzunTzan
after they were dismantled 
and reused to build the churches

From Tzintzuntzan the road leads to Patzquaro


Via 
QUIROGA for lunch

Local specialty- CARNITAS

So many stands chopping away 

Ask for MIGAJAS- (mee-ga-has) the crispy crunchy crumbs of meat

I tried to buy a chopping block from one of the vendors

NO WAY JOSE !



QUIROGA
a good place to buy black and green pottery 


and wood carved products

Shopping with the locals


Pass through fields of wild flowers
 and pine forests


and the remains of wooden CABANAS 
that have not survived the elements

LAKE PATZQUARO
Magnificent vistas


The very distinctive and required architectural style and coloration
of all buildings in the town of PATZQUARO 
Roofs are pitched slightly and tiled 

Every home and business MUST comply


Carved stone Over Door
Royal Customs House Entry

The REAL ADUANA
Now a small boutique hotel right off the main square


Built as the Royal Customs House  in the mid 16th century
The Real Aduana is now a private home 
with 5 glorious suites for overnight lodging



SO tastefully done 
Even the utility areas are charming

A perfect blending of 
Mexican Spanish and French style 
reflecting the backgrounds
of the charming owners Gemma and Didier

Tell them Rela sent you

Gone Fishing
The famous fisherman and casting nets on Lake Patzquaro

SO much more to share of Mexico 
coming in future entries

Have I whetted your Appetite ?
                                                               
your Wanderlust ?
Hope to have diminished 
some pre-conceived notions and generalizations

PLEASE 
follow me on Instagram

@relagleasondesign

and

@crema_market


So speaking of Wanderlust ...
pick up a copy
of this gorgeous book by
fellow San Miguel resident 
and lover of Mexico
Michelle Nussbaumer

And as for your appetite...

Green Pozole
A delicious, light and hearty soup 

Viva Mexico



Green Pozole

1 large roasted chicken- Remove all the meat and shred or dice as preferred
Set aside- Saves you cooking and has MUCH more flavor for the stock than raw

I prefer Costco's

YES we have Costco in Mexico and the chicken is exactly as in the US

1 pound tomatillos husked
2 bunches cilantro
3 onions ( 1/2 finely chopped for garnish)
bay leaf 
3 serrano chiles
6 cloves garlic
Hominy ( 2 cans or at a Mexican market you can find the fresh in plastic bags)
Chicken stock-  Caldo en espa├▒ol

A good stock is critical to the success of this soup  I make mine with the carcass of a rotisserie chicken skin and bones  

FOR THE STOCK
Put carcass into a large pot with 4 stalks celery, 6 peeled carrots- 2 whole onions 3 cloves garlic and a bunch of cilantro with 8 Cups water.  Bring it to a boil- lower heat- cover and simmer for 2-3 hours.  You may add Knorr broth powder if you feel it needs more flavour .

Season with salt and pepper to taste and strain.  
Chill and remove all congealed fat

Cook the husked tomatillos with 1 onion (quartered) 3 cloves garlic and serrano chiles (seeded) in 4 cups water . Bring to a boil, lower heat cover and simmer about 1 hour till tender

Drain vegetables and run through blender with an additional 1/2 bunch cilantro -be very careful- IT's HOT

Saute the puree in a little olive oil for about 3 minutes stirring.  Add the Caldo ( stock) to pot and continue cooking about 20 minutes

Add the hominy and half the chopped chicken
Cook an additional 15 minutes

Garnishes- the more the merrier

Chopped or sliced radishes
Chopped or sliced avocado
Shredded cabbage
Minced jalapeno chiles
Finely chopped onion
Peeled sunflower seeds
Limes
Crema- available at all Mexican markets (optional)

In large soup bowl arrange a small mound of shredded cabbage and  chunks or shredded chicken meat

Ladle steaming hot Pozole over the cabbage and chicken and serve at once.  Let everyone garnish their soup to their own taste

Buen Provecho !

Rela