Monday, May 23, 2011

Sra. Margarita's Floating Pozole Stand

I went yesterday  morning into Pátzcuaro centro by combi van. When I alighted at la Plaza Chica, I saw this compact cart with pozole for sale.

Young pozole attendant

The pozole was boiling hot in its large pot; a good sign.

I was already in the mood for menudo or birria, but my favorite menudo place is 6 or more blocks away, and we'd had birria on Thursday. I usually think of pozole as evening food, but in Pátzcuaro, they eat it in the morning as well. Could it be the cooler, upland climate?

I asked the price of the pozole, and the friendly Sra. Margarita told me "$12 pesos". At that price, I couldn't pass it up. I ordered a bowl, and Margarita's daughter daintily garnished my pozole with only what I wanted. If you like, you can add more yourself.

Here's what I got for my money (Just over $1 USD.) I had my choice of fatty or lean meat. The maíz was the red, criollo (non-transgenic) corn, with more resistance to the bite. I was grateful that it wasn't the cloudy, starchy "pozole batido) type. The large grains of corn were intact. There was a strong tomato component in the broth. In itself, it was barely picante.

Soup, beautiful soup
It not only tasted good, but was attractive as well. Really, it was the most beautiful bowl of pozole I'd ever seen. I could have also had shredded cabbage or lettuce on it, but I decided not to push my luck. Here's a serving for another customer, unfortunately slightly blurry.

Fully garnished pozole
I was offered a free refill on the caldo, or broth, which I accepted.

How can such good stuff be sold so cheaply? Could be that the overhead is very low. You can stand and eat there, from a china bowl with a metal spoon, or take it to go in a polyfoam container. There's nothing else sold. If you want something to drink, you can get it elsewhere nearby.

There's only one, part time employee, Margarita's daughter. The garnishes are limited to the classics: shredded cabbage or lettuce, finely diced radishes, lime halves, chile manzano, orégano, and chile en polvo. No aguacate, chicharrón, or tostadas.

Margarita's  Floating Pozole Stand changes location, depending on the day and other circumstances. But it's to be found Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, somewhere in or around the west side of the Plaza Chica in Pátzcuaro. Or possibly around the corner by Oxxo, on Calle Ramos.

Now, it's possible that you or I have had better pozole elsewhere, but this one scores pretty high on the charts.

Ratings (if that is possible)
• Food: ****
• Service: *****
• Ambience: from zero to five, depending on your    perspective.
• Hygiene: I would stay away from the lettuce and cabbage, just to be sure. The money/food handling interface is somewhat lax, but I survived unscathed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Marceva Mission

Fonda Marceva, Calle Abasolo, Morelia 
We knew exactly where it is. We’d walked by many times. In the last three years, we’d read many glowing reviews of the restaurant and its cuisine of the Tierra Caliente. For some reason, we often planned to eat there but something would always come up to prevent it.

On Saturday May 14 2011, we had an opportunity to accomplish our mission. We were staying just a few blocks away.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Oldest Operating Kitchen Tool

I just saw a discussion beginning on the Any Port In A Storm forum. It's about Oldest Kitchen Appliance. I believe that ours is a Foley Food Mill, dating back to the 1950s or earlier. (I don't think a tool has to be electrically powered to be considered an appliance. I would include my molcajete as an appliance.)

The Foley Food Mill is a device which predates the electric blender by many decades, yet is still useful today. I'd better illustrate it before continuing.

The appliance is sovereign for straining large quantities of food, such as cooked fruit. The action relies entirely upon muscle power. The food is placed into the wide mouthed receptacle, thence the handle is turned, forcing a curved metal plate against the food, and pushing it through a perforated metal base. Less desirable parts remaining behind in the receptacle can be cleared from the perforated plate by briefly reversing the direction of cranking.

A knurled knob at the exterior bottom is spring loaded and helps scrape off the pureed food as it emerges from the mesh plate. 

Last year, I made Yellow Plum Sauce with Chile Perón for Chinese Egg Rolls, using the Food Mill. I learned that it's important to pit the fruit before cooking, no matter how onerous, thus avoiding the task of trying to mill the plums and their stones within the food mill. In spite of the strain I caused it, it nobly weathered the challenge.

I'll admit that I use my high power blender far more than the food mill. But there are times when the food mill is just right for the task. An example is pureeing and straining the little bitties of carrots in my pasta sauce. (I've since stopped using the carrots.)

While researching this topic, I encountered an old booklet describing the many ways the food mill can be used. I'm uncertain as to whether I can upload it to here, as it's in PDF format. 
No; can't do it. But you can find it here, at

For cooks and fans of kitchen ware, Fante's is fascinating, and not just for food mills. There's an enormous array of foods and tools. Click here.

I suppose I should offer an illustrative recipe, but I'm lazy.
(See comments.)

Thanks to inquisitive commenter Lor, I Googled additional info on "Foley Manufacturing Company".
 I found this on
New Foley Facts and Sale At Mamas Treasures - Apr 30,2007 - One of the great Houseware Manufacturing Companies was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you ask most people about the Foley Manufacturing Company, they will either look very perplexed or say, “ that’s the food mill company, isn’t it?” Most people don’t realize they grew up using a variety of Foley products.
Foley Manufacturing was founded in 1926 by Walter Ringer, Sr. and yes, their first product was a food mill acquired and licensed from a foreign patent in 1933. This product grew in popularity during the Depression years with a reputation for thrifty food preparation and a timesaver in the canning process. This food mill is still in production today. Two other early products that were very succesful was the tri-blade Foley chopper and the Foley blender. Although most of us today refer to the blender as the Foley Gravy Fork. Both of these are very sought after by collectors but more so by people who want to use them on a daily basis.
During the war years the factory concentrated on producing mess kits and other neccessities for the war effort. When postwar production resumed, Foley expanded by acquiring the Meets-A-Need Co. and their Sift-Chine flour sifter and started making sifters under the Foley name.
During the 50s and 60s Foley continued to introduce new products such as handheld juicers, shredders & measuring tools that expanded their kitchenware line. In the 1960s, many of their items were made for them in Japan. In 1984 the Foley Company became part of the Newell Companies and production continued as the Foley-Martens Co. Products are currently manufactured at a plant in Kingsford, Michigan. Because their
products were such useful kitchen tools, finding them in mint condition with labeling intact is very difficult.

(Article continues.)

I checked Ebay for "Vintage Foley Food Mills, and typically, you can get them for under $10 USD.

 Don Cuevas