I’m jealous. Really jealous. You see there’s this woman in San Miguel de Allende. And she’s written this book about food. Mexican food, no less. Specifically, about one of the most fascinating and bewildering aspects of Mexican food. I’m talking about all of those beautiful (and sometimes butt ugly) fruits and vegetables that you find in Mexican markets. I could have written a book like that. Maybe not as well. But I could have done that.
The woman’s name is Margret Hefner. She’s a personal chef. She hails from the second best place in the world to live. She moved from Toronto to the world’s best place to live six years ago and for the last two of those years she’s been researching and writing the words for Frutas y Verduras, Guide to the Fresh Taste of Mexico.
Margret showed me a sample page and told me, “Verdolagas is just one of more than 50 fruits and vegetables that will be covered in a field guide format. Lately, it’s one of the ingredients that people in this community seem to be catching on to because it’s showing up at The San Miguel Organic Market and that’s great, but they may not know about its traditional use in Mexico. That one is not indigenous, but about 70% of the ingredients I cover in the guide, are. So this is a single go-to resource laid out in a easy to use format for how to choose, use and prepare the unfamiliar fruits and vegetables all around Mexico that we don’t see up north.”
Margaret continued, “Some of us naturally experiment with foods that are unfamiliar – but when you don’t speak a language, well, it’s hard to get information on how to choose a fruit like zapote negro. With a bit more information, I hope people feel more confident. My hope is that this will lead them to discover these exquisite foods, not to mention having that experience of interacting with vendors and connecting a bit more deeply with the culture.”
Personally I feel sorry for all those neglected fruits and vegetables, perching like orphans on market stands, crying “choose me, please choose me”. Those guayabos, nisperos and xoconostle that nobody understands. I’m thrilled that someone is going to tell me more about what they are and what to do with them.
Well, actually, what I should say is perhaps going to tell me. For as much as I’m jealous of Margret Hefner coming up with the idea of doing the guide, I’m not envious of her next task. It’s a task that, if failure is our greatest teacher, I am a world champ…or is that chump?
Margret’s next task is to get Frutas y Verduras published. She’s decided to do it in eBook format. Which I think is a very smart thing to do. That way she can afford to do it in color; it can be interactive; and the iPad version will even have audio and be able to pronounce it for you. I also think Margret’s done something else very smart.
She’s enlisted the help of Kickstarter which, in simple terms, collects pledges from people to purchase the book when it does get published.
I’ll leave the fine print to the Kickstarter website but you’ll find all the details you need by clicking here. You can also view her video from this page.
Margret also told me, “If you live in Mexico, full time or part time, this will be an indispensable guide to the local markets. Shopping for and tasting these ingredients should enhance your experience of the culture and excite your palate, too!”
I just pledged my twelve bucks for a download of Frutas y Verduras. If you spend some of your life in Mexico, you might want to too.