I love to travel. My somewhat nomadic childhood might be to blame, but there’s nothing quite like the thrill of planning a trip, discovering a new place, and, of course, eating the local food. My friend from high school, Cristina, is from Central Mexico. After college (we also overlapped there), she moved home. I had visited her before, back when we were young and tan and we ate smoked oysters and cheese and slept in hammocks at her aunt’s house in Tulum. We saw a real pirate on the beach and jaguars in the jungle. It was one of those trips. Magic.
A few years ago, I began visiting her again. She has a small goat farm and makes her own goat cheese. I’ve brought a couple of friends down to visit and we’ve returned relaxed, full of fresh cocada (the coconut candy), stuffed full of Cris’s amazing goat cheese. We might have a turkey egg for breakfast, fried with a bit of homemade oven-roasted tomatoes, crispy blue gorditas made from local blue corn and hand ground. I bottle fed Lupita, the baby goat and snacked on freshly made churros in the local market. I bought bags of dried chilis and stash them in my pantry next to cones of non-processed sugar, piloncillo. Sweet and smoky, the cones are a perfect addition to beans.
This year, we’re taking the kids. Until then, I have my chili peppers to tide me over. And tonight, this soup.