Welcome to Minervaland

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Welcome to Minervaland.

In Minervaland, all food is Mexican -- or should be -- and tostadas are easily consumed all the way through without breaking. Strawberry ice creams bars can be found on every corner, every cup of coffee is face-smackingly strong and is always served with a concha; those domed, pillowy pastry with seashell-like sugar ridges. Those concha calories magically do not count if each torn piece of pastry is dipped into the coffee before being devoured.

See also: -Anatomy of a Polvorón with Minerva Orduño Rincón of Muñeca Mexicana Handcrafted Food -Is Barrio Cafe's Take on Mexican Food Authentic? And Does It Matter?

In Minervaland, tamales are made with lard, guacamole is never insulted by being referred to as guac, cilantro is chopped stem and all, and calling mole poblano a chocolate sauce is a punishable offense. In Minervaland, lemons are always green, ceviche is consumed the very same day it is made, and the top of every icy cold can of Tecate is gently kissed with a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Burritos do not exist in Minervaland, unless there's a baby donkey around; tacos no bigger in circumference than a baseball are kid food; and flour tortillas are transparent-thin and big enough to cover the world.

Minervaland is obviously a land of weak opinions; but it is also a land celebrating a Mexican childhood, a place where a life is built upon a colorful culture filled with food bordering on too much flavor. There is no absolute claim to authoritative knowledge in authenticity in that land, but an exploration of a long and tasty history. Minervaland is a one-woman land inhabited by me, Mineva Orduño Rincón, a cook, a baker, a caramel and mole maker (but sadly not a candlestick maker). It is an island surrounded by a sea of horchata, but an island with a friendly harbor ready to receive visitors.

I was born and raised in Hermosillo, a tasty city in the great northern Mexican state of Sonora, an architect who grew to need more than the drudgery of the cubicle world and ran away from a paper-filled desk to work in a the circus world of professional kitchens.

I have not looked back since and I've been lucky enough to work for some of the best chefs and cooks this city has to offer; I owe them a huge debt for sharing their skills and love of food with me.

Each week, here on Chow Bella, I will share a recipe, a history lesson, a new culinary discovery. Or maybe I'll just rant. Hey, it's my world.

As proprietor of Muñeca Mexicana handcrafted food, Minerva Orduno Rincon makes everything from mole poblano to goat milk caramel to spiced (not spicy) cocoa. Find her at a farmers market near you.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


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