Monthly Archives: March 2010

Frijoles Negros con Epazote

The city of Oaxaca, capital of the state of Oaxaca, lies in a valley known as the Etla Valley. Etla is the Spanish rendering of the Nahuatl word etl, which means “black beans.” So the Etla Valley is the valley of black beans, and this is indeed the bean which one encounters almost exclusively in Mexico’s south.

Epazote is an indigenous Mexican herb. It has a strong smell that is reminiscent of something you might use to thin paint, but it actually adds a rich, wonderful, indescribable flavor to things cooked with it. You can find fresh epazote at Hispanic grocery stores. It is said by some that cooking black beans with epazote helps mitigate any gastric disturbances one might normally expect from eating beans, but I’m not sure how much the evidence supports this. I just know that it really compliments frijoles negros. Continue reading


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Seasons of My Heart

Rancho Aurora, home of Seasons of My Heart Cooking School

During my first trip to Mexico, as I was interested in both sampling a variety of cuisines and glutting myself on history and culture, I traveled around a fair bit, from Mexico City to Oaxaca and then across the Yucatan, ending my wanderings in Mérida. Great fun.

While I was in Oaxaca, as I browsed through markets (I have a real fondness for great markets, and Oaxaca has some amazing ones), whenever I encountered a vendor who spoke English, he or she asked me if I was there for the cooking school. I wasn’t, but I made a point of finding out more. Continue reading

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Filed under culinary history, Culture, Food, Geography, History, Language, Travel