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Authentic Ah-Beets in Mehico

As you all undoubtedly know by now we spent some pretty formative years in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, gun crimes, and phenomenal pizza. Our standards are ridiculously high. For us the matter of pizza has been a vexing question since our arrival on these tortilla shores. I am pleased to report that tonight we made a remarkable leap ahead toward a pizza reality we can finally feel good about.

Regional food is so important, right? The specialities of home make us feel, in turns, comforted, proud, nostalgic and blissful. Living here we’ve learned a little about what makes Yucatecan cuisine exquisite and a world apart. Any profane ideas about monster taco salads and gooey enchiladas have been banished from our thoughts, and instead have been replaced with dreams of sublimely simple tacos consisting of a small, soft, corn rounds, a sprinkling of shaved pork, a squeeze of lime and maybe a little onion and cilantro. This stuff is fresh and way different from the food of Oaxaca or any other state in Mexico and certainly separate and distinct from anything On the Border or running for it.

Over the years we have tried Pizza Messinas and tried to live with ourselves for ordering from Domino’s. We experiemented with frozen and Boston’s and ham and pineapple pies. Mister Pizza left us cold while slightly closer approximations left us longing for the real thing. We cannot condone deep dish concoctions; French bread or English muffin crust is simply unconscionable. We were resigned that our needs could not be met here.

But there was one last glimmer of hope in that old dark, medieval era. And that hope was within ourselves. Yeah. We had since this adventure’s inception spoken in hushed tones about the prospect of learning to cook from scratch. We always knew that living here we would have to get in touch with the flavors and techniques of our favorite ethnic dishes and to some extent we have succeeded. It has also been a tremendous boon to have prepared foods and spices becoming more prevalent here; their availablity has aided and abeted our creative efforts. And it has been inspiring and enlightening finding recipes and reading about how immigrants replicate the tastes of home with ingredients found wherever they have settled.

One of the most impenetrable mysteries has been the alchemy of dough. For some reason I was never able to wrap my mind around how flour and water and sugar and salt become the basis for bread and other wonders; the process seemed elusive and beyond my comprehension. But my intrepid husband was up to the challenge. Tonight in Chelem Malcolm devised a white pizza that was, I dare say amazing. Tonight we came one small step closer to making our home anywhere in this whole wide, round world.

There Are 6 Responses So Far. »

  1. A few months back I met this lady. I’d say she was in her mid 40′s or thereabouts. She claimed to have been from New Haven. I said, “Hey, I’ve been there!” At some point during the conversation I mentioned the whole ‘apizza’ thing and she was completely oblivious. Does this make any kind of sense to you? I mean, I’m not the most observant guy in the World, but I must have seen at least 10 pizza places with the word ‘apizza’ on their signage. What do you think? Is she just oblivious or what?

  2. It’s not that she’s oblivious: It’s that she’s a stinking liar.

  3. Yes, yes, yes. Sometimes you just have to have a taste of home, or childhood. Sometimes when I have written about looking for a certain ingredient I’ll have a comment about doing as the Mexicans do. Fine. I do that most of the time but I have been known to pay $7 for a little jar of real horseradish from the cold case.

  4. Birdie made pizza dough in school yesterday so now we are all on this pizza kick. Love woodfires oven pizzas so I’m going to try it on the grill next.

  5. I salute Sir Malcolm and his pizza making! Pizza has been our 2 year plus struggle as well since leaving NYC. We eventually found suitable pizza in NZ and believe it or not we found TWO amazing pizza places so far in Vietnam – just delectable and even better than the places in NZ. Who would have guessed?!

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