Although the campground, El Rancho La Mesa, is further from El Centro (the center of Patzcuaro) than my last ‘home,’ I enjoyed my walk into town more. I had the choice of either taking a Combi (minibus) or walking and I frequently choose the later. The route wound it’s way through the vecindario called La Pueblita and it took a good 30 minutes to complete. Over the course of a month this leisurely walk gave me the opportunity to become familiar with a few of my neighbors. I always enjoyed the enthusiastic ‘buenos dias’ or ‘buenas tardes’ exchange with the adults and had the added treat of talking with the school kids as they walked with me up the long steep cobblestone street.
There is great pride taken in improving and maintaining this neighborhood.
The streets are clean and decorated with pots of flowers but with small herds of cattle, wood-laden ponies and donkeys and well fed dogs it’s advisable to watch your step.
Back in the ‘States’ I hated going to the grocery store and frequently let my refrigerator go bare just to avoid the chore of shopping.
One of my joys here in Patzcuaro is the daily visit to the Mercado. Much of this joy comes from all the social exchanges, buying the freshest of produce and knowing that I’m supporting the local growers who offer small amounts of home grown fruits, herbs and vegetables or fresh lake caught fish.
It’s also a treat to see the early morning bustle or feel the buzz of enthusiasm when a new crop comes in. One day there might be bushels of corn heaped onto the ground and the next day an explosion of color from potted geraniums.
The Mercado is located in the center of Patzcuaro and the main source of fruits and vegetables but other foods come from specialty shops or street carts found in the outlying neighborhoods. Each food type has its own vendor and eventually you figure out whose prices are the best, who carries the freshest produce and more importantly who carries the most flavorful Chorizo. I’ve become addicted to Chorizo and it might be an exaggeration to claim that I’ve tasted every Carnicero’s product in Patzcuaro, but I’ve tried a lot. Everyone has their own recipe and my favorite comes from the Carnicero next to the Basilica. It’s sweet and hot with just enough fat to get your mouth-watering.
My favorite Legume
I knew that beans were one of the staples of Mexico but I had no idea how many types exist. Unlike many of my friends, beans have never been a favorite food of mine (except green beans which don’t really count). Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve changed my ways and I now enjoy incorporating these tasty tidbits into daily cuisine.
My favorites are fresh from their pods.