Monday, September 26, 2011

Queso Fresco

At the house I stayed at in Teotitlan del Valle, one of the women made queso fresco, or fresh cheese daily. I imagine it is a tough and unglamorous life. Around the time I got up each morning to prepare for another day of linguistic analysis, she was already loading a motortaxi with her day's wares to sell at the morning market.
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On several occasions I bought a round of cheese and ate it alongside one of my breakfasts. Other times I just gave it to one of my friends who is simply crazy about the stuff. It's soft, moist, a little salty, and goes great on tortillas with beans, avocados and salsa. Makes a killer sandwich as well. This is a style of cheese you can find just about any place in Mexico. It might be a common food, and even a mundane specimen for how common it is, but its simple freshness is very hard to beat.
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Another family member made quesillo, otherwise known as Queso de Oaxaca outside of Oaxaca. This stringy stretchy cheese is great for quesadillas and sandwiches. While staying in Oaxaca City I spent a few days eating mostly this, which was kind of a mistake. However, I'm still not sure I got my fill after a number of weeks.

These cheeses are a reminder of something I always enjoy about the developing world.  Fresh, and even handmade food is the norm not the exception. In my current home of San Francisco the current food revival has made celebrities out of those who make food from scratch, using older methods of preparation. In other parts of the world where the food systems have not yet been completely taken over by agribusiness and convenience foods, you are likely to find foods like these cheeses a part of daily life.

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