|Two Fish In A Bowl|
Over the last few years, we heard encouraging reports from sources both close and distant to us that the Cocineras event had greatly improved since it had moved to a new location. The Centro de Convenciones y Exposiciones in Morelia has hosted it in recent years. This year, we decided to attend. After all, with 12 previous events under its belt, it surely must be better than ever.
With Ms RedShoes driving, we arrived Saturday at about 11:30 a.m. Parking was a challenge, in spite of the vast Convention Center parking lots. (Some areas had been closed off for some other event.). We turned ourselves around and crossed Calzada Ventura Puente then entered the ServiPlus Bazar parking lot, (ServiPlus is a large collection of small shops under a hangar like roof.) worth a visit if you are a shopaholic.)
After some negotiation with the parking attendant/guard, and the passing of a $50 peso bill, we were allowed to leave Ms Shoe's car there for a couple of hours.
|Entrance to the Happy Eating Grounds|
Smoke gets in your eyes ... and lungs.
Because the stoves were wood burning, there was a lot of smoke, especially along the right hand side of the pavilion closest to Calzada Ventura Puente. While somewhat unpleasant, we managed to evade it when possible, and figure that it's a small annoyance for such a wonderful event.
|Tortillas baked on a comal over a wood burning stove|
|Puesto # 5: Comida de Apatzingán. Note the toqueras on the comal.|
About five booths along, I succumbed to food lust at Puesto #5. Sra. Cuevas and Ms Shoes were ahead, on the other side of the pavilion. I caught up with them near a puesto featuring Caldo de Trucha and Hueva de Trucha (trout roe). We established ourselves at a tablecloth clad table, with comfortable chairs, under a shady roof festooned with papel picado. There were napkins in holders, and a container of actual metal eating utensils!
|Well set tables were very welcome|
|Cecina En Chile Rojo|
The Cecina en Chile Rojo was very simple but very satisfying. Cecina, as many of my readers know, is a thin sheet of lightly salted, sun dried beef. In the dish I had, it had been cooked in a medium picante salsa de chile rojo, and served on blessed plain, white rice, with small brown beans on the side.
Meanwhile, Sra. Cuevas had a hearty bowl of Pozolillo, a non-nixtamalized, vegetarian version of pozole, made with dried corn, I was told.
|Chiles Capones del Encuento|
|Chiles Capones de La Mesa de Blanca|
Cristina Potter, the notable México Cooks! blogger and Mexican food expert came and sat down across the table from us. She was a featured speaker that day on la Comida Michoacana, but, unfortunately, we could not stay to hear her speech.
Cristina was eating a bowl of Caldo de Chile Relleno, a clear soup containing a small, cheese stuffed chile and a spicier Chile Güero. A young cocinera, dressed in traditional traje (outfit) came by and gave Cristina a gift of three tamales de la milpa, filled with diced vegetables, one of which was topped with hueva. (trout roe). Cristina invited us to taste the tamales, which I did, bypassing the scarce hueva. It was very nice.
|Tamales de la Milpa|
Those at Stand # 5 were more rustic and even better than Fonda Marceva's. Cooks were cutting the kernels from ears of white corn, while another cook passed the kernels through a hand cranked meat grinder. Yet another cook patted the ground corn into ovals and loosely wrapped the masa in fresh, green corn husks.
The woman at the comal then baked the packages until the outside had browned and the masa was cooked.
I asked for three plain toqueras and two with minguichi packed into two of several Tupperware type containers we'd brought with us.
|Toqueras with Minguichi on them|
|A restroom worthy of Don Cuevas.|
|Queso Cotija. What's the jarred version like?|
The experience was further enhanced by the presence of attractive women, both in traditional traje, below ...
|Beauty through the ages.|
... and, wearing contemporary clothing
|Free Tequila samples, served by a pretty girl|
Before picking up the car, we did an quick tour of the labyrinthine interior of the ServiPlus Bazar. If you are to enter, carry a a big ball of string to unreel as you thread your way into the complex, or have a guide.
Encuentros de Las Cocineras tips: wear sunblock and a broad brimmed hat. We always have with us hand sanitizer moist towelettes.
Carry a few Tupperware type containers in order to have reliable carry home containers. Disposable styro foam containers are sold on the site, but they are expensive.
Park nearby, for example at the Plaza Camelinas shopping center, on Avenida Camelinas at Calzada Ventura Puente.
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It would be unwieldy to post all the photos I took, but you can, if you wish,see them as a slideshow (below) or click through and see them in larger format.