Adventures in Mexican Cuisine

Yum, had me some nice, fresh huitlacoche (pronounced “QUEET-la-coh-chay) for dinner last night.  That’s Aztec for corn fungus. Well actually, huitlacoche translates as “raven’s excrement”. Nothing like a little bird poop to get the ol’ taste buds dancing.

To U.S. farmers, Ustilago maydis (as it’s also known) is a disease to be irradiated. North of the border, it’s known as corn smut. To Mexicans, it’s a delicacy. You say po-tay-to; I say po-tah-to. It’s black and looks as disgusting as you would expect something a/k/a “corn smut” to be.

According to, huitlacoche has an “earthy and somewhat smoky” flavor. I had it cooked up in a thick, creamy soup. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I had pollo stuffed with huitlacoche (you can never have too much raven’s excrement). The soup was good. The pollo? Well, let’s just say I should have ordered the mole. But I’m thinking that may have been the restaurant’s, not the fungi’s, fault.

If you’re thinking you want to give corn fungus a try, I’m told you can buy it canned in some Mexican markets in the U.S. Wondering what to do with your fungus? Here are some recipes. Huitlacoche souflle. Huitlacoche crepes. Huitlacoche pasta. Even corn smut ice cream.

All righty then.

One of the joys of traveling, especially when you don’t speak the language, is to see what shows up on your plate after you complete your negotiations with the mesero.

I don’t know a huevo from a cuervo but I do know the words, “Que recomendia?” A couple of days ago, lunch was deviled eggs, fish in mushroom sauce, bread with incredible salsa and pineapple juice. A strange combination (at least for a gringo) but…how do you say “happy belly” in Espanol?

Let’s just say I have an adventurous palate. For breakfast yesterday, I had a big glass of the jugo del dia from the Via Organica: cucumber-pineapple. Fue bueno. My last jugo adventure at Via Organica didn’t turn out nearly as well. I couldn’t resist trying the cactus juice. If you Google “cactus juice”, you’ll find mostly skin care products, not culinary delights. There’s a reason for that.

But let’s get to the bueno part: postre. Or more specifically, ice cream. This area of Mexico is known for its helado. Or more specifically, for its innovation in helado.

This morning I set off to the Jardin for some ice cream for breakfast. I had that whole “Life’s short, eat dessert first” thing going for me. It was way too early for tequila ice cream.  And no way I’m eating shrimp helado. Should I go for the corn? Avocado? Squash blossom?

I finally settled on the guanabana sherbet. Vientre feliz.


One Response

  1. Ha ha! Hey Sharman, keep eating well while you’re away. We miss you in Mobile but know you’re having a great time! See you soon!

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