July 16, 2018 – Food & Wine
In June of 2016, while picking out ingredients for a dinner in Mexico City, chefs Norma Listman and Saqib Keval had a revelation.
As they wandered the aisles of the Mercado San Juan, Listman, who grew up in the historic town of Texcoco just outside Mexico City, talked through family recipes with ingredients like tamarind and corn, staples of Mexican cooking. Keval, born and raised in California to a family with roots in the northwest Indian state of Gujarat by way of Kenya and Ethiopia, rattled off his own family’s uses for the same ingredients. “It would be so similar but one degree off,” he recalls, “like two sides of the same dish.”
Though Listman and Keval had cooked together many times before back in the Bay Area, where both lived, they had never developed an entire menu together. “That was an aha moment,” Listman says. That dinner became the first in a series of pop-ups that they called Masala y Maíz.
July 2, 2018 – Taste
In December of last year, as Mexico was gearing up to replace its much-loathed president, Enrique Peña Nieto, the three-time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose party, Morena, won a sweeping victory in last night’s elections, tweeted a brutal insult at his anticipated opponents from the bizarre right-left alliance known as Frente Ciudadano por Mexico, and the establishment PRI, which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000: “The posh candidates for ‘the power mafia,’” he wrote, “on top of not visiting villages to understand the feelings of the people, have missed out on eating the succulent barbacoa at ‘El Carnalito.’”
The tweet included an image of López Obrador, better known to his supporters as AMLO, pulling fat-slicked nobs of mutton from the charred surface of an agave leaf, a beneficent smile illuminating his handsome, grandfatherly face. To date, that tweet has garnered 9,902 likes, 3,454 retweets, and 2,105 replies. To know the people, he suggested, is to know their food. The people seemed to agree. (more…)