One of my great joys in life is mocking my wife’s primitive ways in the kitchen. We live minutes away from several cooking stores that sell the latest in kitchen gadgetry, but no!, my wife is content, even joyful at the prospect of grinding pepper in late grandmother’s molcajete when she needs it.
I don’t have the patience for this anthropological field work. When I’m hungry, I grab and go. If there’s no pepper, I do without. Who am I kidding? I go to Noah’s on most mornings.
My wife’s a fabulous cook but I can’t help but mock her ethnic ways. We listen to too much NPR and drink too much coffee in our house, so in the morning, I walk around the kitchen and pretend I’m a field reporter in some remote Mexican village.
High in the mountains of central Mexico, Xochitl rises early in the morning to grind the fiery pepper that will season her family’s food, as her ancestors have done for centuries.
I never realized how Americanized my upbringing was until I married my wife. She cringes when I tell her I never knew tacos were actually made with finely chopped, seasoned meet cooked on a grill, not ground beef. Which goes to show you how sheltered my upbringing was in Salinas, or how underground authentic Mexican cuisine was in those days. These days, you can’t walk 100 feet, it would seem, without running into a neighborhood taqueria.