THERE ARE LOTS of positive aspects to Mexican life. Food ain’t one of them.
Basically, here’s what we eat. Rice, chilies, cheese, beans and stuff made from corn. Pork chops are like old, thin, shoe soles. Beef is gristly. We do fairly well with chicken, especially roasted chicken.
We cannot make a decent salad, and when we make one we offer no dressing. We’re expected to squeeze lime juice on top, period. The Mexican table, at home or in restaurants, will have salt. It will not have pepper.
Here’s a partial list of what I miss from above the Rio Bravo:
Grits. A great way to start any day is a mound of grits next to runny eggs, white-bread toast, butter and jelly. You’d think that, due to Mexico’s love of corn, we’d have grits, but we have nary a grit.
Muffuletta sandwich. This is primarily a New Orleans thing. A good muffuletta is a religious experience. There is an Italian whiff about it. Get it to go, and walk down Decatur Street to Jackson Square. Sit on a bench.
Sausage like andouille, Italian and, especially, boudin. I do love boudin. Andouille and boudin are Cajun items. I lived in Louisiana for 18 years. Sausage in Mexico is usually greasy chorizo. It can be tasty. It can also spawn a heart attack.
Boiled crawfish. What I would not pay for a plate of spicy boiled crawfish and a couple of cold Dixie beers. If you say crayfish, please step away.
Po-boys. Best ordered in New Orleans. My favorite is Italian sausage, but since there is no Italian sausage here … I also used to eat fried-potato po-boys. Greasy French fries inside sliced French bread. Carb attack! But tasty!*
Boiled peanuts. Leaving Louisiana now and moving east. It’s a seasonal thing you’ll find in Georgia. Probably Alabama and Mississippi too. I could eat these things till I’m sick to my stomach.
Raw oysters. You can find raw oysters here sometimes, but not the big, plump ones. I wouldn’t eat them anyway. Not now, not anywhere. I don’t want to commit suicide. I ate my first raw oyster one afternoon in the bar of Schwegmann’s supermarket on Airline Highway in Metairie, Louisiana. I had quite a few beers in me or I wouldn’t have braved it.
Vietnamese pho. When the war ended, lots of refugees settled on the Texas Gulf coast. Houston is full of funky Vietnamese restaurants, and I used to eat in one almost daily. My favorite dish is something called pho. You’ll find no pho anywhere near me now, sadly.
Paella. This is a Spanish dish, not Mexican. Finding paella in Mexico is not difficult. Finding good paella is almost impossible. The only passable paella I’ve encountered was here in Ajijic. I used to frequent a wonderful Spanish eatery in Houston that served a killer paella. You had to phone in advance.
Fried catfish. Another Southern specialty you won’t find south of the Rio Bravo. I do so miss it. My child bride loves fried catfish after that evening we ate in a restaurant near the Howard Johnson’s motel on an interstate in central Alabama about 12 years back.
Alas, I am condemned to live out my life with tacos, tortillas, skinny beef and pork, rice, beans (never beans & rice like you get in New Orleans), and stuff swimming in melted, white cheese.
* * * *
* I weighed 50 pounds more when I lived in New Orleans.
HERE I SIT on a rocker. It’s around 10 a.m., and I’ve already watered the veranda potted plants and the hanging ones too. I’ve cleaned the glass-top table on the Jesus Patio, and I’ve changed the yucky birdbath water.
At 11 we’ll be having second breakfast — either oatmeal or cereal — and then I’ll don old pants, take off my socks, slip my tootsies into ancient Crocs and circle the yard perimeter with my new Stihl weedeater.
When that’s done, I’ll shower and dress myself up. Later, I’ll make lunch, which will be fish burgers, wild rice, sauteed veggies and lentil soup from a can. I’m no elitist.
After lunch, we usually watch a show on Netflix before heading downtown. My child bride to her sister to gossip and me to a sidewalk table with café and my Kindle. I’m currently reading a bio of Ronald Reagan by H.W. Brands.
Tonight will find us in our soft chairs watching two more shows on Netflix while supping on big salads that I create myself. We don’t have real jobs, of course.
This routine is so grueling that we felt we deserved a vacation, so next week we’ll be heading to Colima and Comala for a few days. I’ve never been there. I want to see the volcano.
Now, on to politics: The California Democrat primary takes place Tuesday, and Bernie might beat Hillary, which would be an hilarity. And then the Brexit vote comes on the 23rd, and I’m rooting for a British departure.
SEE THAT CHAIR down there, just opposite? That’s my chair, and it’s where I sit when I eat a morning bagel or an afternoon pozole. The King’s Chair, and I’m the King.
The Queen sits to my right. The Princess and her Prince by marriage live in Georgia and have yet to visit the castle.
Perhaps one day.
Nobody sits at this table for the evening meal, which at the Hacienda is always a green salad with diced chicken on top. I make that, and we go upstairs and watch something on Mexican Netflix, a great service.
We have side-by-side recliners separated by a tiny table.
But this is a view I rarely see, which is why I photographed it. What I always see is what’s behind the photographer’s back. That would be me at this moment.
There’s a big window to the left, and another behind, both of which provide great outdoor views.
But it’s uplifting to view life from a different perspective now and then. I think so, and I want to stay uplifted.