Diana Kennedy: My Mexico
By Jim McKeever
“I set off in the last days of September, when the countryside is at its most glorious after the rains, stopping off in Guanajuato and Aguascalientes, in the very center of Mexico, the Bajío… [There is] always something more to discover; another regional cook, a new recipe, or something I had not seen before in markets.” So starts Diana Kennedy’s journey into San Miguel de Allende and Comonfort, Guanajuato in her new revised book My Mexico. This is Diana’s most personal book about the Mexico — the county that she knows and loves with all of her heart. My Mexico, and also its newly republished version in Spanish: México: una odisea culinaria, takes you on Diana’s excursions throughout Mexico to find authentic recipes from the women and cooks that prepare them and guard them, passing on the techniques and ingredients from generation to generation. Diana’s focus is to document these recipes, so no more are lost. From the Northern Plains to the Central States, from the Pacific States to the Gulf Coast, this is more than a culinary travelogue of Mexico: it is collection of more than 250 wonderful recipes, accurately researched and passionately documented for not only the aficionados of Mexican food, but also for those who want to learn more about this wonderful country and its traditional cuisines. Diana has spent over 60 years studying, documenting, and writing about Mexican cuisine. She is a avid conservationist and environmentalist, speaking out on topics such as the dangers of genetically altered foods and the urgent need to protect local growers of crops in small villages throughout Mexico. She has published eight cookbooks, including the James Beard Foundation “Cookbook of the Year” Oaxaca, al gusto. In her own words, “My life in Mexico has for the most part been, or has seemed to be, a series of fascinating adventures, most of them culinary.” At 90 years of age, she continues to work on her research of Mexican cuisine and is currently working to scan, document, and archive all of her notes, research on foods and plants, and recipes, so that future generations will be able to enjoy the magical foods of Mexico. Diana will be at Camino Silvestre, Zacateros No. 46, on December 14, 11am-2pm, to sign her new re-released My Mexico and México: una Odisea Culinaria. Camino Silvestre will also have all of her other books in print available. The following recipe was from one of Diana’s journeys into the State of Guanajuato. The guacamole’s name “Chamacuero” refers to the older name of the city of Comonfort, just 20 minutes from San Miguel de Allende. This local guacamole recipe is unusual with its additions of seasonal fruits, in this case, peaches, grapes and pomegranate seeds.
2 heaped tablespoons finely chopped white onion
2-3 serrano chiles, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 cups (500 ml) rouglhy crushed avocado pulp
3/4 cup (188 ml) peeled and finely diced firm but ripe peaches
1/2 cup (125 ml) halved seedless grapes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup (83 ml) pomegranate seeds
Crush the onion, chiles, and salt together to a paste. Stir in the avocado pulp, peaches, grades, lime juice, and half the pomegranate seeds. Mix well, sprinkle the surface with the remaining seeds, and serve at room temperature. Pears or other fruits may be substituted.