Sunday, March 8, 2015

Siempre Es Primavera - Guest Blog Post from Mexico City

As this never-ending winter grinds our spirits into filthy slush, it's cheering to think about spring - anyone's spring.

My friend Bethanne has been spending a lot of time in Mexico City, which has a famously mellow average temperature of around 60 degrees. It's always springtime there!  This is sounding mighty attractive right now.

Even better, Mexico City has massive markets that draw upon Mexico's unbelievable agricultural bounty, and a tradition of displaying produce - even at modest roadside stands or hanging out near the socks and toys - in aesthetically pleasing ways.

Playing peek-a-boo near the nopales (pads from the prickly pear cactus), avocados and chayotes, a crisp member of the squash family.

Radishes, herbs like cilantro and mint, and attractively bound young and mature onions occupy market space as proudly as movie tie-in plushies.

Even black trash bags on the ground can make a nice backdrop for flowers, squash, prickly chayotes and mushrooms.

Of course, if the humble roadside stand looks good, imagine what a real market stand will offer!  Citrus fruits, apples, bananas, green pomegranate, peaches, magenta dragon fruit and the scaly monster-with-a-sweet-heart guanabana.

This market photo showcases more dragon fruit, beautifully cut red pomegranate, limes, guanabana's relative, cherimoya, and sapodilla (recently seen in the Filipino markets as the more diminutive chico.  

If huge bunches of herbs (I think I'm seeing oregano, laurel culantro and epazote, among others) are sold next to bags of cement, you know they're pretty central to a country's cuisine.

Similarly, huge bins of dried chile peppers - anchos, chiles de arbol, moritas (chipotles), pasillas, etc. - prove the centrality of these flavor powerhouses in Mexican cuisine.

I'm feeling warmer already. Thanks, Bethanne!

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