Monthly Archives: August 2010

Thinking About Food and It’s Meaning

Here’s an idea we are thinking about: food and memoir writing! What foods trigger your memories about love, family, children, places you’ve lived or wished you had? What about markets and gardens? What do they evoke? We are planning a culinary adventure in Oaxaca complete
with cooking classes and demonstrations, market and farm visits as the foundation from which to write about what food evokes in you. Interested? Let me know.

Recipe: Oaxaca Barbacoa Mole Coloradito a la North Carolina

Yesterday we invited friends for dinner and I said to Stephen, “the choice of entree is up to you.”  We have a freezer full of meat (lamb, beef, pork, duck) that we have butchered at our farm over the last several months.  Believing of course, that these grass fed critters are probably the healthiest meat we can eat.  Next thing I knew, there was a slab of beef ribs immersed in a marinade soaking up the juices from a pan on our kitchen counter.  Sorry, we ate it up too fast to take a photo.

Stephen had mixed up a variation on a Oaxaca brew that included:

1/2 C. Mole Coloradito

1 C. Honey

Fresh lime juice

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 C. water

1 t. salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

He put the ribs in a huge plastic bag and covered it with the liquid mixture, starting at about 10 a.m.  It marinated in the fridge all day.  I turned the bag about every two hours so everything would soak from both sides.  At 7:30 p.m. he started up the grill and cooked the ribs on both sides, basting them continuously for about 30 minutes total.   They were coated with this crusty, savory taste of spicy chocolate that is only reminiscent of the Oaxaca we love.

Storage of fresh mole: I buy my mole at Mayordomo on Calle 20 de Noviembre just south of the Benito Juarez Market.  I ask for the fresh mole that they pack right then and there in double plastic bags.  Each bag feels like it weighs 5 lbs!  I wrap it again in plastic shopping bags and transport it in my suitcase.  When I get home, it goes immediately into the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.  I have stored mole this way for a year and it still tastes good and fresh!

Of course, if you can’t get to Oaxaca to buy your mole, the next best thing is to find a recipe book and make yours from scratch.  Last resort:  the can or jar from your local Mexican tienda.

We’re Excited: Eric and Janet Arrive in NC on September 30

It seems like it has been FOREVER since brother and sister, Eric and Janet Chavez Santiago, have visited us in Chapel Hill and Pittsboro.  Eric is taking a vacation — a well-deserved break from his work as director of education at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.  Janet, who has been managing the family rug gallery in Oaxaca for the last year, will be staying on in the U.S. for a while to travel and visit friends.  I am so happy they are coming.  It is always fun and lively when they are around.  We get to practice our Spanish, do a little extra cooking and recreate some of our Oaxaca favorites, and go visiting.  Both have created a network of friends and supporters during past visits here.  Plus, they have established friendships among people from throughout the U.S. who have visited Oaxaca and met them either at the museum or the gallery.  Eric and Janet are like family to us.  We claim them as more than friends.  I am so proud of their commitment to their Zapotec heritage, the work they do to promote arts and culture and the weaving traditions of their community and family, and bringing the ancient traditions of natural dyeing to the foreground of what makes a quality handwoven rug.  More than this, they are extremely good and nice people.  I am eagerly awaiting their arrival.  Maybe when they are here we will be able to organize an open house with a natural dye demonstration.  Would you be interested in that.

Oaxaca Purses and Handbags for Sale

The first handbag is handwoven in the Saltillo style by master weaver Erasto ‘Tito” Mendoza.  Tito was invited to participate in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Expo this summer.  His work is very fine and quite extraordinary.  The hand braided strap is 50″ long and the purse body is 9″x10-1/2″  I am offering this bag at $165 plus shipping.

The second bag is a multi-color extravanganza from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  The bag measures 14″ wide by 11″ long and the strap is 16″.  I am offering it at $175 plus shipping.

The third bag is handwoven and naturally dyed by a friend Rocio in Teotitlan del Valle.  It is made with palo de campeche dye which is the bark of a tree that yields a soft lavender.  It is interwoven with natural gray and white undyed wool.  The bag is 10″ x 14″ and has a zipper closure.  The leather straps are 26″ long.   I am offering this at $85.

The fourth bag is handwoven on a backstrap loom in the village of Santo Tomas Jalieza by the Navarro Gomez Sisters.  It is 100% cotton and features figures of deer, eagles and lions, in red, black and yellow.  The bag is 10″ x 13″ and the strap is 42″ long making this a very comfortable shoulder bag.  It is $55.

The fifth bag is woven at the Bii Dauu Cooperative in Teotitlan del Valle. It has a zipper closure and is made entirely of handspun naturally dyed wool using two shades of cochineal.  The bag is 13″ x 10″ and the strap is 27″ long.  It is $65.

Cochineal Bag #5 Detail

Bag #5 Cochineal, $65

Sto. Tomas Jalieza Bag Detail

Sto. Tomas Jalieza Bag, $55

I am happy to accept a personal check or PayPal.  Prices listed do not include shipping.  Please contact me for a shipping quote.

Palo de Campeche Bag, $85

Palo de Campeche Bag Detail

Tehuantepec Bag Detail

Tehuantepec Bag, $175

Tito Mendoza Bag, $165

Tito Bag Detail

Oaxaca, Mexico Rugs For Sale: Handwoven with Natural Dyes

Most of these tapestries are handwoven by master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa from Teotitlan del Valle who uses 100% wool dyed with natural plant materials and cochineal.  I guarantee that these are THE REAL THING!  One of the rugs comes from my personal collection and has never been used.  Prices do not include shipping and packing materials.  If you tell me where you live, I will be happy to send you a quote for shipping costs.  100% of  the sales from Federico’s rugs goes directly to the family in Teotitlan del Valle.  I do not take a commission.  If you are interested, you may pay by check or PayPal.  Contact me at

Diamond + Greca, $400, 36" x 50"

Zapotec Greca, $185, 2' x 3'

Greca Coral and Turquoise 2' x 3'

Traditional Greca, $400, 30-1/2" x 64"