Tuesday, 26 May 2015

travelwonderment arises from what sits together

Things that you never even saw sitting together. Typing a little essay, uploading a little movie from the other day, about Haight-Ashbury, I looked sideways (very important in travelling through life) and saw three things that seemed to be huddled together. They had never known each other, never known what they shared: thrust together by airbnb and travel.


  1. Las cosas that airbnb hosts leave on the kitchen table for use and delight
  2. Las cosas you rush out and buy when you've arrived at dawn and need breakfast
  3. Las cosas that previous guests in your airbnb place left for you to use.

And so these three companions in photo:

  1. Our airbnb host's bookshelf ranges from Pirro's L'Esthetique de Jean Sebastien Bach to Bob Dylan: MTV Unplugged. He had placed that supercute vase on the kitchen table, I call her Nuestra Senorita di Cozumel, there being a map of the beautiful island of Cozumel on the wall behind her. A lissome tropic beauty, shoved by my typing and cooking up against the wall to stand with...
  2. ... the 'Bimbo Integral' brown bread I bought for breakfast from the Oxxo round the corner. With its marketing-target family constantly still eyeing me as I type. But are they the market target or the notional pallid aspiration of marketing targets? They do look a bit 'whitebread' to me those people, a term discussed way back in Oregon, also defined here.
  3. And to which incongruous couple I added the little spice jar I had reached for, left I imagine by an earlier guest, as I cooked breakfast and could not see pepper. I tasted and said 'mmm' and put the powder on the eggs and ham at breakfast; then 'mmm' put it with the chicken, tarragon, ginger and mango cooked in coconut oil for lunch, oh yes and 'mmm' also the tiny potatoes and zucchini with rosemary. 

There will be a lot about food in this blog. Go also for a primer on Mexico City (I will henceforth be saying D.F. as in the D.C. of the capital of the USA, D.F. meaning Distrito Federal) and food, by D B C Pierre.

Eventually time to find out what was in the little pot. Which is how this blog gets writ. See the thing, take the shot, have the wonder, do the research.

The label on the pretty pot says:



Some bits easy: a blend of dried chilis with something of something.
From Oaxaca, very interesting food and human diversity place in the south (there's a wondrous Spanish-hearing lesson at link too!) a travel distance beyond us on this trip.

So what exactly is are gusanos de maguey? A first run at the translation of gusano gets 'worm'. OK.

More exploration reveals that this is one of the archetypical elements in Mexican cuisine (cocina Mexicana): the larva of a butterfly (mariposa) that lives inside the maguey plant that is, the agave cactus, from which also comes nearly everything you could want, houses, cloth, pulque, distilled to be mescal, cousin of tequila. And inside the plant, the little grub, which young people in far away places bring up in late night conversation because they've heard this little grub is sometimes in the mescal bottle.

Here from Wikipedia a bowl of roasted Comadia redtenbacheri, the gusano de maguey.

But if you don't put all the grubs in mescal bottles (and there's surely a hugely greater number of grubs relative to mescal bottles) you have surely to do something with those grubs, if they are, because you've ruined their home, never going to be pretty mariposas.

So you eat the gusanos, if you are a wealthy Mexican... an observation from the blog Naturalista Ireverente de Tehuacan from which the photo of the mariposa is taken.

And of course if you don't eat them thus fresh they taste terrific ground up and mixed with chilli and added to anything, or just tasted pinch by pinch.

Which is like travel. 

I rest my case.

... since writing this have been informed that gusano de maguey is an aphrodesiac. 
So is travel. 
These brain foods, you can't beat 'em.

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