Texas Monthly, November 2011

Cocina Confidential by Patricia Sharpe

I wanted to learn the secrets of Mexican cooking, from to posole, so I hopped a bus to San Miguel de Allende.

…Two days before our trip ended, we finally managed to meet with María Laura Ricaud… but not in time to attend one of the weekly classes they give in Ricaud’s small tamal factory in a neighborhood near downtown. The setting is utilitarian–students sit around a butcher-block table in the factory’s kitchen–but she has a passion for cooking, and at $32 the classes are a bargain. Ricaud, who was born in Mexico City, inherited from her French and Spanish ancestors a number of eighteenth-century cookbooks and old utensils that most people have never heard of; she showed us a beloved set of shiny 120-year-old copper pots and a strange antique wood-and-horsehair sieve.

…Her emphasis is on both traditional, homestyle dishes like posole, a robust hominy-and-pork stew, and newer, more nouvelle ones like huitlacoche soufflés and gallinas disfrazadas (apple-stuffed chicken breasts in a smooth sauce made with ancho chiles and dates)…

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