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Norma writes for Selvedge Magazine Issue #109 -- Rise Up, November 2022
Norma Writes for Selvedge Latin Issue #89
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with weavers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. Our interest is in creating connection and artisan economic development.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
- Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university program development experience. See my resume.
Study Toursd are personally curated and introduce you to Mexico's greatest artisans. They are off-the-beaten path, internationally recognized. We give you access to where people live and work. Yes, it is safe and secure to travel. Groups are limited in size for the most personal experience.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, universities and other organizations come to us to develop weaving relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
- WEAVE Podcast: Oaxaca Coast Textiles & Tour
- NY Times, Weavers Embrace Natural Dye Alternatives
- NY Times, Open Thread–Style News
- NY Times, 36-Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico
- Cooking Classes–El Sabor Zapoteco
- Currency Converter
- Fe y Lola Rugs by Chavez Santiago Family
- Friends of Oaxaca Folk Art
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca Hikes
- Living Textiles of Mexico
- Mexican Indigenous Textiles Project
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca
- Oaxaca Lending Library
- Oaxaca Weather
- Taller Teñido a Mano Natural Dyes
Oaxaca Cooking: Flavors of the Grandmothers
Quesadillas with quesillo, huitlacoche, corn, chiles poblanos, salsa fresca
Written recipes for traditional Oaxaca cuisine are a recent phenomena. As with most cultures that create art through food, the way of cooking is passed through the hearts, hands, and soul of women, generation to generation, a folk-tale. Everything is by hand and by memory, intuited. Measurements are imprecise, to taste and to touch. Add a dash of this, a handful of that, stir, taste again, “correct the seasoning.” The the preparation of mole, salsas, tortillas, the growing of the food that ends up on the table, is not easy because everything is prepared fresh. Yet, this is satisfying for those who cook because it is a blessing of the sisterhood and creativity. And, for those who eat the food, it is a blessing of sustenance, flavors, aromas, and appreciation for what has gone before us.
Quesadillas in the making on the comal
Oaxaca chef Pilar Cabrera Arroyo says that you need to have a passion for the food to create authentic cuisine. The outcome of a meal depends on the cook’s state of mind, the “estado de animo.” If things are not going well in life, that is reflected in the taste of what is prepared that day. I can believe it!
Chef Pilar Cabrera Arroyo with cooking class student
Years ago, when I led a group of people on a culinary tour of southern France, starting in Lyon and fanning out through the Loire valley, we visited some of the great chefs of the time: Paul Bocuse, Georges Blanc and Alain Chapel. Their auberges (country inns and dining rooms) were on the lands of their parentage.
These were the first generation of men who sat at their mothers’ and grandmother’s knees in the kitchen and popularized French cooking (to say nothing of Julia Child). They learned the mother cuisine, translating it into 4-star and 5-star brilliance for the world to know and enjoy. Gourmet French cooking has its roots in Lyon in the kitchens of the grandmothers, just as Oaxaca cuisine has its roots in La Cocina de la Casa at the comal and in the fields. Fresh ingredients, organically grown without pesticides, harvested by the men, prepared by the women. This great tradition has been translated by Rick Bayless, Diana Kennedy and Susanna Trilling through their books and restaurants.
Pilar Cabrera learned at her grandmother’s knees and offers us the experience of authentic Oaxaca cocina de las mujeres through her cooking classes. For that, I am grateful.
A Su Salud--To Your Health. A shot of mescal at the end of the cooking class and before we sit down to eat lunch.
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Posted in Cultural Commentary, Food & Recipes, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture, Travel & Tourism, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged classes, cooking, cuisine, culinary arts, food, Mexico, Oaxaca, postaweek2011, recipes, tourism, travel