The truth is, I like Mexican food. I like it about as much as I like any other food. I don’t eat that much of it lately, because I have begun doing more cooking on my own. For many years, my housekeeper Mari lived with me and did most of the cooking, and it was all Mexican. And it was all perfectly delicious. But when I returned from a leave of absence last year, I found a great apartment across from my office; the only thing that was missing was a maid’s room. Mari and I worked out a deal where she comes in the morning in time to wake me up with coffee in bed and leaves after lunch, for which I come home. It is working out for both of us. And when I have friends come to visit from abroad, she stays around in the evenings to cook REAL Mexican food for them and everyone is happy.
My take on Mexican food is this. It is best prepared and enjoyed in the home, by home cooks who know what they are doing. By the maids who learned from their mothers and grandmothers in the villages where they grew up. The maid culture here is hard to explain, so I will say this. Almost everyone has one. Even some of the maids have one, because they are off at work and someone has to take care of the family at home. Maids are part of the culture...and part of the family. For me, it is both a luxury and a blessing. Mari and I have a bond that goes far beyond our employment relationship. She is part mother, part sister and part friend. And she makes a REAL mole verde.
When I go out to eat with my local friends, we almost never go to a Mexican restaurant. Why? Because everyone has Mexican food at home daily, prepared by their maids or the few who cook themselves or have spouses who do, and it is better than in the restaurants. Of course there are exceptions to this and if you are in the mood for seafood or tacos, going out, at least among my friends, is more common than staying in.
I am sure as time goes on I will write about Mexican food and Mexican restaurants, but that is not what this blog is about. For those who are coming to the D.F. and interested in finding good Mexican food and places to eat, check out www.mexicocityfood.net and buy Nicholas Gilman’s book, Good Food in Mexico City. I’ve lived here for 20 years and it’s the best REAL advice I can give you.