Amerindian Foodways of the Other Borderlands

Authored by: Enrique Salmón

The Routledge History of Latin American Culture

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902565
eBook ISBN: 9781315697253
Adobe ISBN:


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My richest family memories are associated with food plants. 1 I frequently remember the seasonings my grandmother, mother, and aunts lovingly added to our meals: epazote, cilantro, frijoles, salvia, yerba buena, and chile pequin. Comfort foods for me include frijoles, guacamole, moles, and of course, maize. These plant-based foods embodied the mural of flavors expressed on the table. These foods were eaten at home but were also central figures at fiestas, weddings, and other gatherings. I recall the many plant-related lessons I learned in my grandma’s herb-house. It was a latticed structure filled with hanging dried and living plants. The roof was no longer visible through the layers of vines that draped over the eaves of the roof to the ground. On hot days, the interior would be nearly ten degrees cooler. Inside, grandma ground her herbs for cooking and for medicines on an old metate. I would often visit her when she was in her herb-house and enjoy the many scents and aromas. It was during these times that she told me about the lives of plants and their characteristics. She described the relationships the plants had with each other. She taught me that the plants were not only plants but were people, too. Some were Rarámuri, while others were Apaches and non-Indians.

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