Sunday, February 25, 2007

I have successfully completed Salsa School. I went to Guaymas on Friday with my Mexican cooking class. We took the bus, all seventeen of us. Just outside town, there was a field in which the floats from Carnaval had been parked, so I got to see the floats without having to actually go to the party, old stick in the mud that I am.

At the market I listened to Maria point out all the various chiles, then bought a papaya and a couple of Serrano chiles for my own salsa. I wanted a pineapple, but there weren't any at the market, so I settled for the papaya. I also bought a cazuela. That's a clay cooking pot. It's glazed on the inside only. You bring it home, wash it, then put warm water and a spoonful of salt into it and set it on the stove to simmer for at least half an hour to season it. I've done that, and now it's ready to use. I saw a taqueria in Guaymas that had half a dozen cazuelas lined up on a stove, all bubbling away with various taco fillings in them. I plan on doing mole poblano in mine one of these days, and it will also be my official bean pot. Meanwhile, it's serving as a fruit bowl until my current batch of beans is gone.

At 3:30 on Friday, the class met again so that we could all taste each other's salsas. My papaya salsa got a hand wiggle from the teacher. (I think that was a B, or maybe a C+.) I got all the ingredients right, and the amounts, so it tasted fine, but I cut the papaya up too small. I was just glad to hear that it tasted right. I'm afraid I'll never be a papaya fan. I can't seem to get past the smell. Next fruit salsa I do will be pineapple, and I'll make sure not to dice the fruit too finely. It was fun to listen to the critiques of not just my own, but everybody else's salsa. Mostly Maria figured they had too much tomato in them, not enough chile, and if she had her way, everything would have oregano in it. Somebody made an avocado salsa, though, that was to die for. We all agreed on that, even Maria. I plan to make one of those every week, just so I don't forget how. And of course there's pico de gallo, which has become a mainstay of my meals.

Yesterday R and I took the bus to Guaymas together, just to shop at Ley (the supermarket), which is in a mall. I saw a couple of hair salons there, tried without success to sneak peeks at customers coming out. Some time this week, I really have to go get a haircut.

Today, we cycled out to the west end of town, near the base of Tetakawa. I've found out what Tetakawa means. The word apparently comes from one of the local languages, maybe Yaqui, and it means goat's teats. I also found out about the word Totonaka, but I'll tell you about that later. Anyway, we went out to the west end on our bicycles this morning, and I took a few pictures of the town from that angle. The sky was very clear this morning, so everything was in sharp relief.
There was a glass-bottomed boat out in the bay, but I don't know how much they could see under the water. The sky was clear, but the water was a little murky.

Now I'm about to give the computer up so R can check out the BBC.

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