WaJe, antidote to corporate food
18 November 2016
Last week was a rough week, I haven’t felt so betrayed since JFK was assassinated. I may not live long enough to see to have a president of the quality and values of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Having her as president at the end of my life would have been recompense for the long battle our lives, hers and mine, have been, just to be recognized for the professional contributions we have made to society.
I have been looking forward to participating in a Waje (https://www.facebook.com/waje.com.mx/) event since I learned about them and on Saturday, 12 November I got to spend and evening orchestrated by them. In anticipation, I thought the experience, on a Saturday evening– the evenings here in Oaxaca are very beautiful, and my favorite– I tried to calm my mind and open it all sensory experiences, new and old. I tried to be in the moment and mindful.
From the time I contacted them, I was treated with dignity and respect. The invitations had been planned to give a spare contemporary style. The event was called Cenizas Vivas. We were transported to an outlying village and into a outdoor space under a huge flor de cacao, or cacahuaxochitl tree (Quararibea funebris) . The path to the table was lit with luminarias and the table was elegantly set, under hanging candlelights.
Each course had a story. Respect for tradition, variation, and innovation was evident. The start was chocolate, mezcal and cream, all very Oaxaqueño. The next 3 tiny plates were eaten in pre-columbian style, with our fingers. Chia seeds, squash blossoms and huitlacoche all made an appearance. The meal continued with interesting ingredients and thoughtful preparation, and impeccable presentation, many edible flowers included. A breathtaking palate cleanser. We had wines or local beers. Seasonal ingredients. Ambiance was Day of the Dead with marigolds everywhere.
Each ingredient was sourced from a local grower or producer. We were told the stories of many of the courses. There are people out there who still care about what they are doing and producing, making sure that the spinach leaves they provide are at the peak of their flavor or providing cilantro with flowers. These marvelous young men are doing their research into special growers and suppliers, innovating new preparations and combinations. These events support not only the these inspirational endeavors but a whole chain of growers and suppliers what work with care and heart to produce the best they know how–not what corporate food companies want– to be uniform, last forever in the stores and make the most profit– taste and nutrition lost. The pace of the meal was just right, in both amount and timing.
I hear the same themes about the food that I hear about the textiles here:
That is how to preserve the cultural heritage that is unique to Oaxaca.
A lovely, magical evening.