The following Oaxacan food tutorial is found on the go-oaxaca.com site. Awash in florid descriptives, certainly more poetic than anything Ms. Tomato could come up with what with her tea-and-roses-style prose, we felt it was best reprinted and left to speak for itself. Whether it is the result of a direct translation software program or the side job of a sentimental, enthusiastic romance novelist, we may never know. Either way, definitely worthy of curation here in our little food museum.
To eat in Oaxaca, desire isn´t even necessary. With Oaxacan food, the pleasure enters through the eyes, nose and throat; but if someone doesn´t believe, it´s just a matter of opening his appetite.
And to open the appetite how about a glass of mezcal, and here the saying para todo mal, mezcal y para todo bien, también (for all ill, mezcal, and for all good too) If the saying isn´t Oaxacan It should be, judging by the polish reached by the artisans of this sensational agave.
Mezcal aside, a snack that is better to just taste, so as to not to be full for the main dishes later. Chapulines (toasted grasshoppers), empanadas de amarillo (turnover filled with yellow sauce), salsita de gusanos (maguey worm sauce), totopos (oven toasted corn chips), quesillo (string cheese), chorizo bien frito (well fried spicy sausage) or memela con asiento (thick tortillas with lard sediment).
Better to stop here because with so many snacks we´ll end up snacking and not be able to eat more from the regional table.
To start right, it´s best to stimulate the stomach with a good squash blossom soup, pork spine in tomato sauce, mole in all of its varieties: yellow, red, green, almond and chichilo (squash seed), including black mole which deserves to be tasted separately.
Besides the moles it is impossible to forget the estofado (a type of chicken stew), like none you´ve ever tasted, or chiles rellenos (stuffed chiles) and to top it off some tamales in banana leaves.
Of course that won´t stop a delicious green bean and herb soup or a tasted ground garbanzo or even a cactus leaf broth fro appearing followed by other moles, maybe black or red.
And so that so much food doesn´t get caught in your throat, beverages multiply the beast tastes.
With chocolate, rigorously stone ground, as it should be, served with water or milk, we have a frothy drink that can be drunk hot or cold.
There are also Waters of Casilda, which are not a witches brew for love, but to kill thirst, and they are made with horchata (rice) with prickly pear and nuts, of lemon rind, hibiscus, etc.
If you want dessert, there are no buts, if glory is in heaven the desserts of Oaxaca are a preview. They didn´t acquire a great refinement in the convents for nothing.
For the delight of the glutton and to finish demonstrating the fine sensibility, the cultural delicacy of the Oaxacan soul we have the nieves (home made ice creams) like vanilla, rose petal and burnt milk with prickly pear.
And so the simple daily act of eating becomes, in these lands the grand art of finger licking.