Mexico is a photographer’s paradise. And if you are a foodie and a photographer, the possibilities are endless. During these past 9 months I’ve been taking my camera everywhere, taking pictures of a lot of the stuff I eat, places I visit and people I see. I have a lot of pictures waiting to be edited and a lot of stories waiting to be written. I’ve been busy working on a very exciting project that hasn’t left me much time for other things. But it seems like the critical first stages are over and things should get back to normal. That will leave me more time to share my food experiences here.
One great food experience I recently had was spending a couple of days with JJ Goode and his friend Matt. They were on vacation in Mexico and Ruth offered them a cooking class that included a visit to the local tianguis in Condesa. It was a great opportunity to bring out the camera and take some pictures of one of Mexico’s oldest traditions, street markets. A tianguis (from the Nahuatl word “tianquiztli” that means market day or harvest) is different than a mercado. A tianguis is an open air market that is held on specific market days in towns and neighborhoods all over Mexico. These markets date back to pre-Hispanic times. They were the most important form of commerce of that era. Evidence indicates that some towns and cities were originally founded as regional markets. Some of them became so important (like Tlatelolco, a market taht served about one fifth of Tenochtitlan’s population) that they were set up and taken down every day of the week.
This tradition has remained unchanged in Mexico. One of my earliest memories is going to the local tianguis on Saturdays with my family. Around 6 am people started to set up their booths on the most important avenue of the neighborhood. By 8 am entire families were eating barabacoa tacos (the most traditional weekend breakfast and brunch food in Mexico City), buying produce for the week or just wandering around the market. By noon the place was so full that it was hard to walk and by 6 pm most of the vendors had already taken down their stands and gone home.
The tianguis in la Condesa on Tuesdays is no different than other tianguis. A couple of streets are closed to the traffic and vendors set up their booths with all kinds of produce, food, clothing, kitchen utensils and anything else that housewives need for their daily activities. Walking in a tianguis is walking in the core of Mexican daily life. A life that finds order amidst the chaos. A life full of color, noise, commotion, music and food, lots and lots of delicious food.
When we got back to Ruth’s house we cooked two delicious dishes that I’ll write about tomorrow and had a tequila taste, the best tequila I’ve ever tried in my life. Ruth convinced JJ and Matt to go to Xochimilco the following day. If you hadn’t noticed, Xochimilco is our favorite market of the city. Here are the pictures of yet another amazing day in Xochimilco:
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