Sunday, August 10, 2008

Two Years in Las Cuevas

August 3 was a red letter day for us. It marked the second anniversary of our life here in el campo, specifically, in La Casa de Gloria en Las Cuevas.

To celebrate, we made a party for our neighbors and friends on Saturday, August 2nd. They have been so friendly to us and had shown us many kindnesses.

We had no idea how many people would show up; we estimate from 25 to 75. As it turned out, we had about 35 guests. Our neighbors, Sra. Chucha and Sr. Mateo lent us tables and chairs, as did our neighbors on the other side, the venerable Sra. Jesús and Sra. Praxedes. Our Alabama American neighbors brought us a tent and 2 chairs. We were set. Guests began to arrive at 2:15 and by 2:25 all were present

The menu was simplified from a similar party from December 10th, 2006:
Two salads, 4-bean or Italian coleslaw; pasta mushroom and cheese bake; pizzas. We also served soft drinks and beer was available, but almost no one took a beer.

The expected tormenta de lluvias arrived, but we were dry under the entryway where the guests gathered.

When it was over, Susan and I were tired yet happy. It was worth the work.

I'll give more details of the pizzas and recipes for the salads on my food blog, My Mexican Kitchen. (coming soon).


Bob Mrotek said...

Wow! You should have posted a warning to dieters on that slide show. I started salivating immediately and I swear that I could smell the pizza right through the computer screen. By the time I got to the last picture I was ready to pass out from hunger :)

Trent said...

I hope those Pizzas are homemade.
The pizza at typical Mexican places are DISGUSTING and over priced.

Michael Warshauer said...

Trent, of course they were home made. But they weren't the best I've made. The reason is that certain compromises had to be made to feed a crowd. Tomorrow I'll make pizza for a couple of friends, and it will be very good.

Now, about the adjective, "DISGUSTING" that you used.
I think that's a bit excessively strong, and you should allow some tolerance for cultural preferences. There are other instances where such strong adjectives have been used by others; eg, "inedible" and "garbage" regarding Mexican mayonnaise.

While we may not like some of these foods as prepared and eaten here, I think some of us can accept local mayo, make pizza to our own taste at home, or find the occasional restaurant that makes good pizza. I'll tell you one: Pizza Rústica in Oaxaca makes great pizza.

Another thing to consider is that pizza is not native to Mexico. Naturally it has undergone changes to adapt to local taste. (Like putting weiners and pineapple on pizza, then dressing it with overly sweet catsup plus mayo. There's a combo for you!

Probably the Napolitanos in Italy would heap scorn on your or my favorite U.S. version of pizza. So, I think we should give the Mexican version of pizza a little slack.

If you want to discuss native dishes, like menudo, chicharrón en salsa verde, charales con huevo, then we have fertile grounds for criticism.

Bruce said...

Congratulations on your 2nd anniversary, Michael. I like your defense of Mexican pizza. I have just joined the blogosphere with my We couldn't wait for conventional retirement and took our jobs and shoved them, moving down to Merida, Yucatan last spring. So far we have been in the right place at the right time. Please check it out when you can. If you like I would love to exchange links with you. Keep up the good work!

Michael Warshauer said...

Felicitaciones, Bruce. I read your blog and left a comment. (After I figured out where the comments section is.)

One of our American neighbors here, a Tejano soltero, lived in Mérida for a year or more, buying and renovating a large house. He made a nice profit when he sold it just after a year, but left Mérida for Morelia, then to here. He couldn't take the heat, so he got out of La Península.

Where we live, the rents are almost as low as the temperatures. I'm using a small, portable propane heater right now as I write in the pre=dawn chill.


Bruce said...

Hola Mike,
Yes, it does get hot here in Merida, with the average high in May of 98F, although it is a cool 61F this morning. Renovating old Colonials in Centro is still the rage but the resale market has slowed, I am told. I'm curious, what are rents in your area? Here in Merida, basic furnished one bedroom apartments in Centro are available for about 3000P.

Michael Warshauer said...

Bruce, rents in our immediate area are from 1500 to 3000 pesos a month, ranging from a small, 1 or 2 bdr house to a fancier 2 bdr house (ours); nice bathrooom, great kitchen, big lvg-dng rm, lots of windows with effective flyscreens, enclosed garage with washer hookup. Big lot, good iron fencing/brick walls, excellent variety of colorful broken glass embedded atop walls.

The downside for many expats is that this area is somewhat removed or isolated from the social and cultural milieu of Pátzcuaro.

But it is quiet, except for the propane trucks blaring annoncements.

Our landlady recently gave us notice that our rents would be going up by 500 pesos, as of Jan 1. It took me about a day to come to terms with that idea, but when I calculated it at the recent rates of exchange, I realized once again how fortunate we are.

But, I think our situation is exceptional. I'm not too familiar with rents in Pátzcuaro, but a nice apartment starts at 4500 and up a month, as far as I know. Of course, we haven't looked at these for over two years, as we are very content here.