A few weeks back, I wrote about a favorite cazuela here on the blog. I'd written the post before a trip to Mexico and while I was there, my friends had planned on visiting the very potter who made the beautiful piece.
It turns out I was completely wrong. The workshop is in Puebla, on the way to Oaxaca. The artist is Lourdes and she and her family make the most amazing pieces from their local clay.
The secret ingredient is the rock that turns out to be talc, as in talcum powder. I touched a bit of it and at first I thought it was slimy but then I realized it was absorbing the moisture in my fingers.
The local rocks are so prized that apparently a young lady from the village married a fellow from the neighboring town and requested that they send over the rock so she could continue with her pottery. The village met and decided it was better to bring him in than let the rock go out so the couple moved back to her village.
I'm not clever enough to explain the process but even I could tell it was a lot of work and the whole family was involved in different parts of the process. I saw other work by other artists but Lourdes is the queen in my book. The final pots are "polished" by rubbing ancient rocks all over them.
Her mother preps the clay and even her daughter is learning the craft. In addition to being a master potter, Lourdes is an excellent cook and apologized for the "fast food" she had to offer us.
Her version of Mole Poblano was much simpler than the traditional recipe. She wrinkled her nose at all the fruit and the plantains. Chiles and spices for her and we agreed after tasting her mole.
Of course things taste better with tortillas and beans.
Now that we have the store almost open, I think we can try and import some of Lourdes' work to sell in Napa.
I love the thought of the pots that start out here and end up in my kitchen.