Tag Archives: maya

Platicas y Pruebas: Female Pioneers in Mexican Cooking

Platicas y Pruebas: Female Pioneers in Mexican Cooking

Thursday 3/14 at 7:00pm 

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Learn about two women who changed the face of cooking in Mexico – Vicenta Torres de Rubio and Josefina Velasquez de Leon.

In 1896, Vicenta Torres de Rubio was the first woman to publish a cookbook, Cocina michoacana. For three decades, Josefina Velasquez de Leon led a cooking empire that lasted until the mid-1960s, publishing 140 cookbooks, including the first bilingual cookbook printed in the United States. A tasting will be offered as part of the program. ($25)

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Sabor a Mexico: A Taste of Yucatan

Sabor a Mexico: A Taste of Yucatan

Thursday 6/6 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm 

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Discover the unique spices and culinary traditions of Yucatan and prepare a Yucatecan feast. Menu may include Panuchos and Papadzules. ($40)

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Chocolate Unwrapped

Chocolate Unwrapped

This article was first featured in Life & Thyme.

From a Mesoamerican Drink to the Modern Bon Bon

Once available only to priests and nobility, today chocolate is prized around the world for its taste and seductive effects—qualities that have been appreciated for centuries.

Our word for chocolate comes from the Nahuatl chocolatl meaning “bitter water,” but theobroma, cacao’s botanical name, is Latin for “food of the gods.” Native to Mesoamerica, cacao was one of its most sacred natural staples, second only to maize. In Mayan cosmology, trees were a metaphor for spiritual transcendence, and Mayans believed the first tree that ever grew was a cacao tree. Its fruit was worshipped as a literal gift from the heavens.

Although the earliest recorded reference to cacao dates to the Olmec culture around 2000 B.C., it was the Mayans who first invented the use of chocolate as a hot, bitter, frothy beverage prepared with meticulous care. After a careful fermentation and drying process, ripe cacao beans were roasted and ground with spices in a metate, one of the oldest domestic tools in the Americas. A metate is a rectangular slab carved from volcanic stone used for processing cacao beans, as well as corn; it was used by women kneeling on the floor and rocking a rolling pin-shaped stone called a mano back and forth to form a powder. This powder was then mixed with flavorings including chiles, vanilla beans, and sometimes a little honey, and then made into a paste.

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