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The following is an extract from my journal, translated from Spanish.

April 25, 2007

Tampamol贸nAfter the wedding in Huichihuay谩n, we got in the van accompanied by five Mexican brothers and sisters, going to our next destination: Tampamol贸n, the home of two widows. Brother Dugan had already told me their story. Many years ago they were married to the same man, and it came to pass that a certain brother taught him the Gospel, and he wanted to become a Christian. However, the brother told him that according to the Bible, a man can only have one wife, and if he wanted to become a Christian he would have to divorce one of his. So he did this, but only a few months later he passed away. After his death, since the two women didn鈥檛 have jobs, they decided to help one another and make a living by baking bread. The one bakes it in a big oven (which she showed us), and the other takes it to sell; in this way they can make enough money to survive. The name Tampamol贸n, according to an Aztec man who was there, means 鈥減lace of the wild pigs鈥 in the T茅nek dialect, called this because when the Huastecs lived there, there used to be lots of wild pigs in that area. However, these two widows are Aztecs, as are all their neighbors.

They led us to their house, and we all sat down in a breezeway between two buildings. We talked with the widows a good while; they were very nice and showed us great hospitality. They even gave us all Coke, even though it was clear that they didn鈥檛 have much money to spare. The one lady showed us her oven, a large structure made of mud and adobe. They had a dog (or chichi, as the Aztecs say), and the surprising thing is that he was a very friendly dog. The other dogs we had seen were really scared, and when they saw someone with a stick, they would run in fear. They were very skinny, and one could easily tell that they were hungry. But we could see that this dog, Kiko, was loved. He wasn鈥檛 hungry or scared, he barked, and he liked people. Read More

Now that's cheesy

Sometimes I wonder about the people who design food packaging. It seems that lately the folks at Frito Lay have gone a bit too far with their Cheetos bags. I could just tell you how utterly cheesy I think it is, but I shall let you judge for yourself; the text from the back of a Cheetos bag has been faithfully reproduced below for your perusal:

What’s a serving?

With Cheetos Brand crunchy snacks, eat 21 – that’s just the right amount for crazy, cheesy fun!

What more can YOU do with 21 Cheetos snacks?

Break them each in half and you have 42. If you eat half of the halves, you are back to 21.

Honestly, who in the world will meticulously count out 21 Cheetos just so they can eat one serving? Who even cares that the serving size is 1 ounce or about 21 Cheetos? Of those who actually do take pains to eat exactly one serving, how many would break all their Cheetos in half just so they could have twice as many?

Maybe they were just trying to be funny, or maybe even intentionally cheesy, but it makes for a very strange and ridiculous Cheeto bag. Come on, Chester! You can do better than that. Even the hoax about the secret recipe being stolen was more interesting than this.

隆Wana tukapu’!

In the Huasteca of Mexico I had the opportunity to partake of much local cuisine, from Potosian enchiladas at the hotel, to chopped up nopal (that is, prickly pear cactus) at a preacher鈥檚 home. As Mr. Dugan told me, This is real Mexican food!



While in Mexico we attended the wedding of the son of a certain preacher, and after the ceremony they served all the guests a very singular dish dubbed zacahuil (sah-kah-WEEL). I think this is a Huastec food, but I could be wrong. At any rate, I was told that it resembles a gigantic tamale, and its method of cooking is quite fascinating. Read More