Yucatán Cookbook: Recipes & Tales
Yucatan cooking is one regional treasure that has not been lost to the passage of time. Culinary influences date back beyond remembrance, as generations of sons and daughters passed on recipes they learned from their parents. Wild turkey, deer, and jabali (a type of wild pig) are indigenous to the Yucatan. Corn, tomatoes, cocoa, avocados, bananas, squash, potatoes, yams, frijoles, achiote, chiles, and epazote were used in the Yucatan before the Spanish conquest. Many other ingredients now used in Yucatan cooking arrived with Spanish settlers in the sixteenth century and became popularized after the Spanish conquest. Today's distinctive style of Yucatan cooking is found primarily in small restaurants, cocinas economicas, and private homes. Most of the cooking utensils used in the Yucatec kitchen are ubiquitous throughout Mexico. Common items include a three-legged stone molcajete for grinding, a small wooden molcajete for mixing chile sauces, an iron comal (or griddle) for cooking and warming tortillas, a lec (a gourd) used to keep tortillas warm, a jicara (a gourd) used as a mug to hold liquid, a large steamer for cooking al vapor or bano de Maria, pots larger than those typically used in North American homes, plus knives, forks, spoons, and plenty of hands. When visiting people's homes and dining at restaurants, the author often ended up in the kitchen collecting recipes. Even in cantinas and night clubs, conversations would turn to la comida Yucateca. People everywhere were happy to share their recipes and their knowledge of cooking, for Yucatecans are extremely proud of their heritage.
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