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A Clarification on Tequesquite and an Update from Marilyn Tausend


One of my desert island books is Marilyn Tausend's Cocina de la Familia. My copy is literally falling apart. She's also worked on several other classics and givesd culinary tours of Mexico. Regarding my post on tequesquite, Marilyn wrote:

While, tequesquite does come from the highland lakes in and around Mexico's central valley, it is a mineral salt, not an algae, composed of sodium carbonate and chloride. It is used, and has been used since pre-hispanic times as a leavening agent for tamales, and to soften dried beans or corn. I often use it when I cook my nopales as it seems to keep them a brighter green. You can buy it in most Mexican markets in the United States, and of course, in the mercados of Mexico and dilute it with water, boil it, and then let it set until the minerals drop to the bottom, then use the greyish clear water for cooking.

But back to pond scum, or algae,(Spirulina geitleri) or Tecuilayl was an important source of food for the Mexica's (Aztecs) and the other indigeneous groups that lived around the lakes, where it was skimmed off, slightly dried in the sun, and then formed into small cakes and dried again. It was very valuable as a source of trade, and the those first Spaniards to eat it said "it tastes like cheese...but less pleasing and with a certain taste of mud.

When I asked what's new with her, she mentioned that in addition to a new book she's working on, she's organizing a once-in-a-lifetime cooking experience:

We have a few spots for either culinary professionals or extremely experienced home chefs cooking with Diana Kennedy at her home in Zitacuaro, Michoacan. (More on my website:marilyntausend.com). It runs from July 19-25, and starts and ends in Mexico City, and the $3250 cost includes lodging, the transportation to Michoacan, the classes, and at least two meals a day.

If only......

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