Before I even came to Mexico for my study abroad semester, my eyes–and taste buds–woke up to the fact that Mexican food as I knew it wasn’t really Mexican food. A month before we left for that fateful semester, my professor held one last study-abroad prep meeting. She served us tostadas.
As I’ve mentioned before, even though I hated beans, after trying Sally’s tostadas, I breathed a sigh of relief that I would not actually starve during my four months in Mexico.
Then, hours after arriving in Cholula, I was taken out for my first tacos árabes–and introduced to the magic that is the Mexican lime.
Lots of Limón
Now, Mexican limes (no one else refers to them as “Mexican limes”) are little key limes. Despite their size, they’re juicer than those huge limes that pass for limes in the US. To add to any confusion, here they’re limones. Yellow lemons are limas (and pretty nonexistent here).
In Mexico, limes go on EVERYTHING. Tacos don’t taste like tacos unless they’ve been thoroughly doused in lime. Pozole (a ridiculously hearty corn and pork soup/stew) is one of my favorite dishes. But on first tasting it, I always forget to garnish it (with radishes, lettuce, oregano . . . and, of course, lime). Once I finally remember the lime, I sit back, inhale, and sigh, “yes . . . this is the source of my happiness.”
At least, as long as the pozole lasts.
Here, fruit trays get sprinkled with lime. I even heard about putting lime in coffee. (But I also heard that was a Cuban thing . . . still, might have to try it!)
Mexicans like lime so much, that I was nearly convinced that after registering a child’s birth at the Registro Civil and filing their birth certificate, the government official signing the birth certificates would perform a short ceremony, squeezing a little lime on the newborn’s forehead, and officially proclaiming him Mexican. A civil baptism, if you will.
I’m inevitably disappointed when we walk out of the Registro Civil with just the birth certificate.
Maybe the more I circulate this idea, it might catch on.
Not the Only Limón
Over my time here, I have stumbled across another Limón who has made Mexican food even more accessible. (This has a bit of a backstory, so hang in here with me!)
Back in 2009, when I started blogging, I was a new mom and new in town. That makes for a pretty lonely combination! I NEEDED to blog, just for some kind of human interaction. Even if it was just virtual human interaction, this medium was a godsend for me.
I felt like I was the only one doing this whole “I-married-a-Mexican-and-am-now-living-in-Mexico” thing. But then, lo and behold, (through the magic of the internet) it became clear that there were a LOT of us! And a lot of us were blogging about this adventure we had chosen.
Our rallying point was (and still is) the lovely and talented Leslie at La Cocina de Leslie and La Casa de Leslie. She had been living here longer than the rest of us and she had been blogging longer than any of us. She formed this blog group that is currently working through the A-Z of Why We Love Mexico.
And her recipes from La Cocina de Leslie are a large reason why I can cook Mexican food today. Even if you don’t live in Mexico, if you want to try to cook some authentic Mexican food, I can not recommend La Cocina de Leslie enough.
Even though I’ve never met her in person, Leslie has been a source of encouragement, laughs, and comfort over the years that we’ve been visiting each other online. As she begins a new adventure, I hope that all the encouragement, support, and love that she’s given all of her Sisters South of the Border over the years will now be showered upon her.
¡Hasta pronto, amiga! I can’t wait until you’re blogging again! 😉
That’s the love I’ve got for my favorite limones!