Even though its February, my sweet little guy and a longtime friend Alexandra are discussing Christmas while catching up on FaceTime.
They have been speculating what Santa is doing at the moment… “He might be sleeping till November.”
Elfs, presents, new wishlists. Chatting about what reindeers like to eat.
Ziggy triumphantly declared “There is a Mexican vegetable they LOVE! Guess what? Jicama!”
It’s true. This past Christmas they gobbled it all up and turned their noses up on the carrots.
Our passions, curiosities and drives to explore are different during our travels, but we still honor each other’s.
We learnt to split up at markets and while I hunt for the new to me, they indulge in their glutenous sweet treats and have fun in a different way.
The joy of my new discoveries don’t go unnoticed. While our seven year old might not share my thrill, he keeps his eyes open as he wanders. Often pointing out some new favorite of mine. Calling it by name. Learning.
There are so many ways to travel. Slow, fast, full-time etc. Currently we are slow traveling, staying in one of my favorite states in Mexico and enjoying a quiet life. Stationary at one spot, making day trips, beach hopping and snorkeling to round out our roam-schooling.
There are many advantages of any traveling one chooses. I am especially excited to widen my culinary adventures at the markets.
Wherever we go, we find different, new discoveries each time.
Previously when we were at the Oaxaca coast, cashew apples and mangoes were in season.
Now the joys of paradise plums(local name – Icaco), they delicate taste and their fragile little orbs take center stage. The first time I bit into one I thought that a candy cloud landed in my mouth.
By the dropping mango prices you know the season is nearing and I am looking forward to their vast variety and flavors in a month or so.
The coast is covered with many palms, each variety bringing something special to the table. The soft, tender coconuts with their thirst quenching juice and tender meat is a lovely snack readily available. The older meaty ones made into coconut milk mixed with chia seeds and honey give you a lovely dessert you can easily whip up at home. Want to try the shoots of palm flowers cooked in salt water and with herbs added for a quick, healthy treat? It’s is the season for soyamiche. For ten pesos you get four-five in little bags. Still warm and delicious. Dip it into your favorite salsa and you are ready to go. A lot like hearts of palm, but oh so much better!
You can also get them raw to prepare it yourself.
Many things get preserved in sugar or candied here in Mexico. Finding ripe cocoyul or cocitoes at the market you can see how sugar will certainly enhance the flavor of these mini coconuts. In their raw form they are sticky, aromatic with a strong caramel flavor without the cloying sweetness.
I especially enjoy learning the simple fruits and vegetables that make up the local cuisine.
Anything new and I feel I hit the jackpot.
My family enjoys the hunt even if they don’t feel the pull to try everything. My infectious joy is enough for them.
Our market day adventures might be full of a seven year old’s constant displeasures of the heat, crowds and other maladies, but he sure gets excited for some of the local treats. Our love of tagu nuts from Oaxaca City and it’s fantastic dessert it is made into had to be replaced
by the local coco tostadas that are crunchy and slightly sweet with a lovely coconut flavor. Both of them gluten free makes this mama extremely happy.
Being recognized with a smile, welcomed back week after week at our favorite local stalls is great. Our quirky way of traveling to the market with an egg carton to replenishing our eggs make the ladies smile. The truth is we have not mastered taking them home unbroken in the little bags they are normally sold.
Often when finding something new I just imitate the locals. When we came across papa de agua ( in South America known as oca, the tuberous root of Oxalis )something I knew by pictures only and how to prepare, but never tried before. When I spotted someone eating it raw, I had to try it like that too.
Oh the many wonderful discoveries we came across and enjoyed so far! It makes my heart sing and it shows our son how we are truly trying to embrace what Mexico has to offer when she feeds her people.
What was the strangest thing you tried?
Is there a fruit or vegetable you need identified? Let me know!