Friday, July 29, 2011
No, No, No, you can't eat that!
Years ago a friend brought me to Patzcuaro, my first immersion into inland Mexican life other than Mexico City or Guadalajara.
You can call it being exposed to the sticks inside the center of Mexico.
The smallest town I had until that time visited was Cuernavaca
Patzcuaro was indeed small.
He had purchased a house here and was proud to show off his new domain.
He was no cook and I did all the cooking for him. That was not a problem, but after a few days I wanted to go out to eat.
That is when it started.
"No, Oh, No, those guys cook dead chickens."
Well I hope so, I would hate to see them flaying about on the rotisserie while they are still alive , was my response.
No, you don't understand.
These vendors purchase chickens that died already from some reason and then cook them, then sell them to unsuspecting residents.
So we wound up driving down to the center of town. I then asked him where we were going?
Oh there is a Carnitas stand between the two plazas. They are the only ones in town that cook good safe pigs.
What do you mean.
It's the same as the chicken vendors, most vendors by dead pigs because they are cheaper and simply cook the pigs.
As we were coming down through the streets, I asked him , well what about that place?
"Oh, No, that stand , his pork has worms in it" , was the answer.
Well he's a local and he's a Mexican, so how could I possibly argue with that knowledge base.
We wound up buying a kilo of carnitas and took it home and it tasted good and all was well for the night.
A few days later, we were in the mercado and I mentioned to him , hey let's have a shrimp cocktail.
"There is no fresh seafood in Patzcuaro, you have to wait until we get to Morelia"
Oh, Ok.....what do I know, after all, he's a local and a Mexican to boot.
We then drove over to Quiroga to buy some stuff for his house. While walking around looking at the same stuff just from different vendors, I said, hey how about getting a few tacos here.
"No, NO, that guy sells bad and dirty meat, often days old.
Well, Ok, he must know, after all he's a local and Mexican with lots of local knowledge and experience.....
Couple of days later we were in Morelia, driving around and his truck started to make some funny noises. I asked him where he gets his cars fixed. He said he know of this mechanic in a small town outside of Patzcuaro and he could take it there...
Why don't you take it by the dealership here and get it checked.
"Because here they take your parts and replace them with used parts" was his answer.
Ok, I understand, after all he knows, because he is a Mexican and a local and I am only a visiting Gringo....
But I learned real fast......
I learned that he only lives 15% of his life never experiencing anything much.
I no longer hang around with him, that was one of the reasons............