We brake for road food! Above is a pic of Mary’s order of young goat with rice, found along the way, a bit north of Matehuala, prior to stopping at Las Palmas Midway Inn. Beyond road food, we especially enjoy the Slow Food Market in Merida, where home cooking comes to market. But you won’t find this fare up north anymore. It’s very sad. The food police have outlawed such cooking across the USA. Why? “Food poisoning.” (Why, really: protection of the restaurant trade, in my view.)
When I was a youngster, one of my favorite visits was to the Columbia Market store. It specialized in genuine Italian foods: cheeses, sausages, rare goods never seen in supermarkets. And the store smelled exotic. After a stint in the Navy, college, and a business adventure in Cambridge MA, I paid a visit to that store in 1982, which had relocated. The goods looked familiar, but the aroma was gone. All I could smell was chlorine. I asked why. The wait staff assured me that health inspectors insisted that smells were illegal! And it has only gotten worse in the intervening years.
Apple cider must now be pasteurized, making it into mere apple juice. Even church suppers have mostly been shut down unless the food is prepared on premises, in an inspected church kitchen, by permit. Next they will be insisting that we boil our salad before we eat it. All to protect us, of course. (Worried about dysentery? Avoid antibiotics, which kill indiscriminately; and try a good probiotic having 12 different strains of gut bugs.)
Fortunately we can still buy real food here in Yucatan, made in the homes of real cooks. Tonight we enjoyed a pasta dish filled with spinach and sauce, made by an Italian housewife named Claudia, who is a regular at Slow Food. Her homemade pasta is sublime. Yes, there can be peril in such outings, but then, there can be peril in eating federally inspected food up north, too. But too much fear of the dark only serves to diminish our immune defenses.