Hola! I’m Margaret, chef/ author behind this site and my self-published eBook:
Frutas y Verduras – A Fresh Food Lover’s Guide to Mexico.
I was working as a Personal Chef in Canada when a break-up (yes, it’s always the story!) led me to decide it was time to explore a different part of the world. It was late fall 2009, so– naturally!– I headed south. A plan for a 3-month stay turned into years… and as those years passed, I felt more and more like I couldn’t get enough of Mexico. The colors, sounds, and the food! The fresh ingredients not only tasted better than anything available in Canada 8 months of the year, but the variety and the cultural traditions behind them, inspired me.. I was hooked.
My home base in Mexico from 2009-2016 was in San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful colonial town in the central high desert, about 3 hours north of Mexico City. It’s a popular destination for Americans and Canadians, both visitors and expats.
I’m a people watcher…curious, by nature, about behaviour, habits, how people think and make decisions. As a chef, I frequent markets, and I watched a great many interactions between native English-speakers/ non Spanish-speakers with local vendors.
Often, I would poke my nose in and give advice:
How to choose a ripe mamey (because it is the best fruit ever!)…What huauzontles taste like and how (and why) to prepare them… Which of the prepared guisados on offer by the taco/quesadilla stand were vegetarian…
These were real conversations I had with people both tourists and expats… conversations they had wanted to have with the vendor, but couldn’t. And when they had the information that I had given them, they made a purchase and had the experience of trying something new. And they were HAPPY!
Those who are fluent in the language can more easily explore and be adventurous. But without the language skills, it’s more difficult to venture outside the ordinary –shopping in the local markets can be intimidating. I know it took me awhile to develop a vocabulary that gave me confidence, and I had a local foodie to show me around.Talking with other expats, it became clear to me that many who started out curious about local foods, returned to old habits and comfort foods… often because they hadn’t been able to figure out how to navigate the unfamiliar foods.
Mexico has such diversity when it comes to these ingredients. Traveling around, the more you venture into local cuisine, the more you will see and taste the differences in regional cuisines, from one state and microclimate to the next. From cactus fruits in the desert, to the lush fruits of the tropics, the array of chiles fresh and dried, the myriad ways corn is prepared…it is mind-boggling. All of these foods are preserved by local people who have carried forward the traditions of sustainable farming methods using heritage seeds.
In my own small way, here, I hope to be a part of encouraging these practices to continue , in Mexico, the first country to have been honored by UNESCO for its gastronomical heritage (2010).
Thanks for visiting… Bienvenido!