Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tales of Chiapas - Part 7 - Manuela Cooks! (2) July 2011

First step:  Slice stale tortillas into strips fry and drain.


Meanwhile:  Cook tomatoes in a little water and puree.


 Now:  Saute 2 pans of onions and slice a fire- roasted
Poblano chili.

Next: Shred some Oaxaca cheese.

Then:  Start layering in a big pan or cazuela until full.
(Tortillas, onions, chilis, cheese, and repeat.)

Add:  Sauteed chopped onions and crumble some
Queso Fresco.

Now:  Spoon tomato puree over layers, cover,
and cook on low until cheese is melted and flavors

Manuela also made us Chiapan black beans,
fresh blackberry agua fresca,
and a huge crispy salad with avocados and fresh beets
in a nice vinaigrette.


Post Script:
Manuela cooks at Bela's Bed and Breakfast and the 3 of us
are cookin' up an idea of a cookbook of Manuela's recipes.
Sound like a good idea?  Let us know what you think!

Bela and Manuela will be hosting cooking classes at
Bela's Bed and Breakfast.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tales of Chiapas - Part 6 - Manuela Cooks! July 2011

One of the truly great things about staying
at Bela's B and B is Manuela - and her cooking!
And boy can she cook.

Manuela's Bio - By Bela Wood
Maunela was born in Chanal, Chiapas - 
which was listed five years ago by the UN as one of the poorest
100 pueblos in the world -
and they don't know exactly how old she is.
She is registered as being 52 years old 
(but that was so she could get an ID - they really don't know).

She came to San Cristóbal when she was about 15,
escaping a guy who wanted to marry her. 
At the time, there were women who went to Chanal to take embroidery
to the women so they could make some money. 
Manuela asked a friend to ask them (she didn't speak Spanish)
if they would take her to San Cristóbal and find a place for her to work.
They did.

She worked for a family, she got up at 5:00 am to take the corn
to the mill and then made the tortillas.  She went to sleep at midnight.
They were not bad to her.

Later she worked for another family who had her baptized,
Dr. Hugo is her godfather. He is cool. 

She learned how to cook by watching the women in the houses where she worked.
It was all by watching!

Then she worked for an American woman, where she met Martín,
and watched the cooks there too.
 She didn't get together with Martín until she was 28.
After a while she was cooking and taking care of the kids and cleaning.

I rented that house in 1997 and she and Martín were like caretakers
- they came with the deal.
At that time she had six kids aged 2 - 12
and she was earning $50 a month! 
She's the next to the youngest of 13 kids - her mother is still alive.

Manuela and her mother.

Thank you Bela, for sharing Manuela's story with us!

Next up we will cook comida with Manuela!
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hiking the Rainy Season - Views, Rushing Creeks, Livestock, and Nature's Pornography July 2011

Larry, my hiking buddy, and I picked a muddy road that rose
from the highway into the
southwest corner of the the mountains, hills, and valleys, 
(known as el cerro) surrounding Lake Chapala and
braved the mud, rushing creeks,
road workers, and errant livestock to see what we could see.

We drove until we found a nice big shady
tree to park under, set the nutzo dog free,
and started out.

Larry has already spied something special.

Larry always reminds me of the late - and truly great -
Mrs. T. who lived, and died, not ever far from where I lived
either in Hawaii or in Northern California.

An early environmentalist, Elizabeth Terwilliger delighted
in dashing from one interesting thing to another shouting
"Something special! Something special!"
as she led kids - and adults - romping through nature hikes.

Having received a rainy-season deluge the night before,
we squished through mud and forged several rushing creeks
as we slogged onward and upward.

Until we reached the last gate,
for now, anyway.

Turning around, we headed back while admiring
the stunning views of the lake and the mountains
of south shore Lake Chapala.


And back down through the bucolic dairy land
from where we started.


At least ONE of us had waaaaay too much fun!

Monday, July 4, 2011

El Andalón - Sergio Castro - Humanitarian Chiapas July 2011


For more than 45 years, this man has traveled to the homes
of the Mayan people of Chiapas and quietly treated
their injuries and medical needs - on his dime.

Now he needs us.
Please take a moment to look at the documentary trailer
above and click on the links provided here:



 if you are in my area and would like to donate medical supplies, please leave a comment on this post, or email and I will arrange to pick them up and deliver them to Sergio at the end of the year when I return to Chiapas.