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More Liana

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Everything posted by More Liana

  1. And you refuse to look at Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana, where the Kickstarter fundraiser is mentioned extensively. We met our monetary goal with time to spare, no small feat in this day of proliferating funding requests for everything in the world. You know what? When you're ready to take a little action yourself, I'll be happy to talk privately with you about your ideas. Meantime, Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana and the Alianza have achieved non-profit status, no small feat in Mexico. We continue to travel internationally promoting our action plans (sorry you won't read it to see what's going on) and raising funds. Meantime, I wish you would study Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana as well as the hundreds of articles (including substantial international press--everything from the BBC to CNN to the NYTimes) about Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana) you could Google about the plight of Mexico's native corns. Are you aware of a business called Masienda? I didn't think so. Masienda is the tip of the iceberg in commercial native corn production. You probably don't know about Maizajo, either. Or Molino Pujol. Or...well, investigate. I wrote here about native corns to spark some interest in the situation. If what you're interested in is pulling my chain, that's not going to happen. If what you're interested in is the heritage of Mexico's gift to the world, dig deeper. Don't depend on me, I know you can find your own information!
  2. All of those things have been done and are being done already; for example, I wrote in an earlier post about the Kickstarter fundraiser that we created and achieved. And apparently you also didn't notice that I'm an integral part of Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana, so it would be useless for me to "present the list and get their support on it". I am "them". YOU create a list and as a member of the team, I'll propose your suggestions. Really, I wasn't looking for people to tell me what to do. We do appreciate suggestions, financial support, and intellectual support. I'm a professional, just as is the founder and as are many of the people in this enormous international group. Tiny, it's a non-profit--want to donate some money? And you don't need Facebook to join the Alianza. I posted the link to that in the post you answered 11 hours ago. Did you look at it?
  3. Of course. I've recommended several times that you go to Facebook and join the nearly 350,000 other members of the group Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana. You'll see the several initiatives that we've started--since 2016--and be able to read much, much more information than I've written here. In addition (or if you don't use Facebook), you can join the Alianza por Nuestra Tortilla: http://alianzapornuestratortilla.com/ . You're right, Tiny, the plan of action is crucial if you want to expect a change.
  4. I must have missed something here. This discussion was not only about the differences between tortillas made of processed masa harina and tortillas made of nixtamalize-d corn. It was also about the urgent need to preserve, protect, and promoteMexico's native corns, including, I had hoped, the original native corn: popcorn. You (the generic 'you', not necessarily you personally, CG) might think this urgency is unimportant, but tell that to the farmers. When BigAg comes tromping onto your parcela and your way of life that has come to you from (literally) the Stone Age, having to give that up because the government has sold the nation a bill of goods is a tough business. Folks, there are only 59 varieties of native corns left in all of Mexico. Mexico CREATED corn, and it is being stolen out from under us with ever-increasing speed. Mexico IS the people of the corn. Sin maíz no hay país. Without corn there is no country. See that picture down there? Look at it closely. Look at those ears of corn. Tell me again it's not important. OK, pay no attention. It's not important. Buy your imported American popcorn at Walmart. Buy your processed nopal "tortillas" at OXXO. The hell with Mexico's heritage. Wait, YOU LIVE HERE. Oh yeah, but committed to the place you live? Not so much, huh? Let's see, next? Oh yeah, where can I buy Sugar Frosted Flakes?
  5. Tiny, my use of the word "real" was a direct reference to the original post by Rudy Mallinee. Of course you're right, in that what both Rudy and I are talking about is the "original" tortilla. I would never denigrate your suegra, but you need to ask yourself--and read about--why the "modern tortilla" is so widely used. Trust me, it's not because they're "easier and cheaper" to make. The incursion of Maseca, Minsa, and the like are based more on political decisions than on a housewife's desire or need for a convenience food. If you and so many other people are willing to accept an inferior product stripped of flavor and nutrients, rather than insist on a delicious, nutritious product, so be it. Accepting the "modern tortilla" is--as I have said before--analogous to eating pan Bimbo rather than a loaf of honest bread. You are certainly entitled to your opinion about the "modern tortilla", but I am also entitled to mine. Rudy, thank you for thinking I'm smart. I've extensively researched Mexico's native corns and their slow but steady disappearance, the evolution of the corn tortilla into the inferior product we know today, the incursion of Maseca and other corn flours into commercial and home tortilla production, and the decline in the consumption of corn tortillas over the last 30 years. That kind of research leaves one with a certain amount (and a certain kind) of information, information which is important for all of us to access in order to understand the danger our corn heritage is in at the moment. Remember, "Sin maíz, no hay país." (Without corn, there is no country.) And I haven't even mentioned popcorn yet! POPCORN was the very first corn domesticated in what is today Mexico. Today, about 99.9% of all popcorn is grown in the USA. Read it and weep: http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico_cooks/2017/01/popcorn-the-original-mexican-corn-who-knew-maíz-palomero-el-máiz-original-de-méxico-quién-sabía.html
  6. Chillin, ask your housekeeper when they will harvest the mazorcas (dried ears of corn) this year--that part of the corn harvest is usually in November or December. Ask her to sell you some then, either already desgranado or ready to desgranar. Desgranar means to remove the kernels from the cob. Or even now, if she has more than she thinks she'll need till the new crop, maybe she would sell you some. I was thrilled to read your post about making masa! I'm shining just like your housekeeper. That thing in the photo is an old-time desgranador--you rub the dried mazorcas across it and it removed the dried kernels from their cobs. These things are still fairly common in rural areas. Can you see what it's made of? NOTHING goes to waste! Thanks for the compliment about the FB photo, too. Very sweet. And yes, pretty happy over here.
  7. El Bizco and Rudy mallinee, I am finally home. Rudy, I see that you say that "commercial masa mixes" are not nixtamalized. In the first place, these corn flours are not mixes. In the second place, they are indeed nixtamalized at least according to the Maseca and Minsa packaging, Minsa being the second most used masa harina--i.e., corn flour for making masa. Both Maseca and Minsa indeed claim to be nixtamalized. There are, however, huge differences between what is nixtamalized dried corn for masa and what is nixtamalized corn flour. Traditionally, tortillas have always been made from dried corn kernels that have been removed from the cobs, nixtamalized, and then ground either at home using a metate or a small mill OR which are taken to a small-town mill and ground there OR which are ground on the premises of a commercial tortillería and are made into commercial tortillas. According to cafemediterraneo, Tortillería Elena in Ajijic still prepares its own nixtamal and grinds its own masa. Today, close to 50% of tortillas is prepared--whether commercially or at home--using Maseca, Minsa, or some other corn flour. What's the point of nixtamalization, anyway? Why does any of this matter? Many millennia ago the people in the Puebla and Río Balsas areas of Mexico discovered--who knows how and who knows why--that preparing corn by nixtamalizing it softened the kernels, and particularly loosened the pericarp, the outer 'hull' of each individual kernel. At that time, nixtamalizing was done using wood ash mixed with water. Loosening that pericarp allows the human body to take advantage of the nutrients in corn; otherwise, the body is only able to access the starch layer of a kernel. The nutrients--especially two specific amino acids--in nixtamalized corn combine with the amino acids in beans to create a complete protein. Back in those early, early days, thousands of years prior to first contact with the Spanish, there were no major sources of animal protein in what is now Mexico. In those days, we had protein from javalí (a small wild boar), from deer, from all sorts of birds including the turkey (native to Mexico), from fish, frogs, seafood and insects such as maguey worms, ants, ant eggs, and some beetles. No domestic animals (cows, sheep, goats, chickens, etc) lived here. It's easy to understand the importance of nixtamalized corn combined with beans (another native to Mexico) to provide more protein. The same is true today. Sixty percent of Mexicans earn their livings from what is called the "informal economy"; extreme poverty exists in every Mexican state and town. People who live in extreme poverty rarely have the wherewithal to purchase much animal protein. Beans and nixtamalized corn tortillas fill that gap. Combine beans and nixtamalized tortillas with other crops grown in the milpa (Mexico's ancient agricultural system, still used today) and even the poorest Mexicans have a perfect diet: vegetable protein, squash (a dark yellow vegetable), and quelites (dark green vegetables both wild and cultivated). The problem with Maseca, Minsa, and other nixtamalized masa harina (corn FLOUR) is that the commercial manufacturers remove the nutrient-rich germ and other components of the corn kernel prior to processing it into corn FLOUR. The masa prepared from this masa harina lacks the amino acids necessary to supply people with necessary nutrients. What they get instead is analogous to white wheat flour from which vitamins have been removed in processing and to which vitamins are subsequently added post-processing so that Wonder, Bimbo, and other white flour breads can advertise, "NOW WITH 8 ADDED VITAMINS", or whatever number is currently popular. What aren't added back to masa harina are the amino acids. Furthermore, you will end up with a product that has numerous additives and preservatives that have no business being in a tortilla. A tortilla should contain ONLY three ingredients: corn, calcium hydroxide, and water. Corn tortillas contain NO fat and no other ingredients. Adding anything else (nopal, beets, wheat flour mixed with corn flour, flax, etc) bastardizes the tortilla and makes it NOT A REAL TORTILLA. Furthermore, the use of corn FLOUR creates a tortilla that has neither the texture or the taste of nixtamalized corn. Just this morning I went for breakfast with a young man who is studying Mexico's corns; we ate in a restaurant here in Mexico City that brings dried corn all the way from Oaxaca, nixtamalizes the dried kernels at the restaurant, grinds its own masa, and makes its own delicious and nutritious corn tortillas. My young friend was astonished by the difference between these (as Rudy Mallinee would say) REAL tortillas and the Maseca, Minsa, or other commercial tortillas found at most Mexico City tortillerías. Again, I recommend strongly that if you really want to understand the crucial need to protect, preserve, and promote the use of Mexican native corns and Mexico's corn tortillas, PLEASE if you are on Facebook, join the group Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana. You will be proud to know that you have done your part to save Mexico's native corn crops and to preserve the REAL tortilla. Other tortilla- or corn-related questions or comments? Fire away.
  8. The correct way to use the pila is exactly what you said: only the plastic cup or bowl should enter the clean water. When I was first living in Mexico, I lived in a house where there was no running water other than one cold-water faucet for the pila, outside in the dirt-floor patio. We used the pila for everything: washing dishes, washing clothing, washing hands, filling a bucket with cold water to warm in the sun so that we could bathe--and only the cup ever touched the water in the storage side of the pila.
  9. I have to go out for a while but will answer you in depth when I get back.
  10. THANK YOU! I couldn't remember the name and location. Yes, dried corn kernels are cooked briefly in a mixture of calcium hydroxide (builder's lime) and water, then allowed to soak overnight, then are washed in several waters and drained--creating nixtamal.
  11. Cross-post with you. Read mine and weep. And by the way, masa has never been made with corn meal.
  12. Rudy, the tortilla--and the native corns that are used to produce it--are in serious danger here in Mexico. Overall, consumption of tortillas has dropped 40% in the last 30 years. Maseca--a brand of corn flour produced by Grupo Gruma--has all but taken over both the commercial and household production of tortillas. It becomes harder every day to find a tortilla worthy of the name. Maseca offers all kinds of incentives to tortillerías, starting with certain perks for using the Maseca logo on the front of the tortillería. A couple of years ago CONACULTA (the Mexican national cultural organization) invited me to speak at a conference in the state of Puebla, near Tehuacán. After that conference, my driver took a friend and me to visit the biosphere nearby where the original archeological findings of early, early corn were discovered--in other words, to the cradle of corn in the world. Visiting that cave was one of the most important things I have done during the long, long time I've lived in Mexico. To stand at the entrance to the origin of corn! To know that at least 7,000 years ago, Stone Age people domesticated what is now the most important grain in the world! On the trip back to Tehuacán following our visit to the cave and the biosphere, the driver took us through a small town that calls itself "la cuna del maíz" (the cradle of corn). We were stunned to pass the tiny town's tortillería and see what you see in the photo below. I asked the driver to stop in the middle of the street so I could take the picture. Because it was late on a Saturday afternoon, the tortillería was closed. I would love to have talked to the owner about his use of Maseca rather than nixtamal. The closest place I know to purchase true tortillas, made from nixtamalized corn rather than Maseca, is Michoacán. Women in rural Michoacán still make nixtamal, still make masa in their homes, and still produce real tortillas. As you know, they bear very little resemblance to the current commercial tortilla. It's quite possible that women in rural Jalisco also produce nixtamal and masa at home, but I suspect you won't find a commercial production of nixtamalized corn. At one time there was a tortillería in Ajijic that did continue that practice; ask around to find out if it's still doing it. I live in Mexico City now and can't remember where it is (or was) located. You might like to read this article about native corns and the tortilla: http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico_cooks/2016/10/corn-an-ancient-gift-from-mexico-to-feed-the-world.html If you use Facebook, consider joining the FB group Tortilla de Maíz Mexicana. Founded about two years ago by the friend with whom I visited the cave, the group currently has just under 350,000 members. The topic is always the preservation, protection, and promotion of native Mexican corns and of the tortilla.
  13. The thing that the al pastor meat is cooked on is called a trompo. It's always done over gas, not over charcoal. As Computer Guy said, it came to Mexico with the Lebanese in the early part of the 20th century. It's made of thinly sliced pork, marinated in a kind of adobo and piled slice by slice onto the trompo to make the conical shape. The conical al pastor is roasted as you order it, so that the edges are crispy. It's sliced very very thin directly onto a tortilla or two--the small taco-size tortillas--and a thin slice of the pineapple atop the trompo is whacked off the top in such a way that it flies through the air and lands on your taco. The person who is preparing and cooking the al pastor meat is called a pastorero, which requires a particular skill and is highly competitive. In the second and fourth photos you can easily see how the meat is stacked and where the gas hits it as the pastorero rotates the trompo.
  14. I bought a WENDY brand queen size mattress about 15 years ago in Guadalajara. I buy my sheets in the USA. They always fit perfectly. And my WENDY mattress is still fabulous, best mattress I've ever owned.
  15. Voyeur, from the French, is more common if the Tom is peeping for secret sexual pleasure.
  16. Ummm...I have a lavadero, which I use daily, in my laundry room in my 8th floor apartment in Mexico City. There is NOTHING like a lavadero to get one's clothes super-clean, to wash cleaning rags and mops, and to rinse out things you don't want to drip all over, like the measuring top of a bottle of detergent. I have running water, a washer/dryer, and sewage lines--and need I say it isn't rural here in the middle of the Gran Tenochtitlán.
  17. At the times when I've hired a new household employee, I make a list of the duties that person is supposed to accomplish during the course of a day, talk with the new employee about the items on the list and give him or her a copy. Then I put the list up on the refrigerator so the new employee can refer to it as needed. After a week or two, when the employee no longer needs to refer to the list, I take the list off the refrigerator and keep my copy. Both the employee and I know what work has to be done, nobody has a surprise and nobody has a problem. If the employee forgets something for a week or so, I'll remind him/her. As for the rest of the legalities (vacation, aguinaldo, legal holidays), I follow labor law. My employee and I have a work relationship, friendly with one another but nothing more.
  18. The most common Mexican term for one's female domestic help is muchacha. No, it isn't "politically correct". But it is what's used. Try thinking of it in the same way one calls a waiter joven, regardless of his age.
  19. If you decide to let your housekeeper go and hire Spring Clean, remember that because you are firing her without cause, you are liable under Mexican Labor Law to pay her a finiquito. You'll need to figure out (based on labor law) exactly how much that is.
  20. I'm sorry to hear this, Happy. I hope your other option is wonderful.
  21. An update re this year-old post: as everyone knows, during the last year or so, the cost of everything has skyrocketed. Some of us really feel the pinch, others not so much, some not all. About a month ago I had one of those lightbulb-going-on moments: your housekeeper has to feel the pinch, she needs a raise. I'd been paying her the going rate (400 pesos/day) for a long time. I upped her salary to 500 pesos a day. She's happier, I'm happier.
  22. Beatriz de la Garza, bilingual tour guide extraordinaire. She knows everything there is to know about Guadalajara and is a super-interesting person. 01-33-‭3615 2030 and beatrizdlg@yahoo.com ‬
  23. That's a different City Market, USA-based and not present in Mexico. This is the one Sonia mentioned. it is indeed part of Comercial Mexicana. IMHO they are not much like Whole Foods, but they are several big steps above Soriana and others of its ilk. It opened in late 2017 in Guadalajara's Plaza Patria. Open daily 7:30AM to 10:00PM. https://www.lacomer.com.mx/lacomer/doHome.action?succId=408&succFmt=200&pago=false
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