Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mexican Food - A World Heritage

The U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization has placed 'Mexican food/cooking' on a list of important intangible cultural heritage bringing a recognition and protection to the culinary art in the country I call home. Of course, this is something every ex-pat living in Mexico simply takes for granted as one of the top reasons to live in Mexico.

Yahoo News on the story.

MEXICO CITY – The quesadilla had more zip Wednesday and the taco tasted just a bit sweeter as Mexico celebrated its food being put on the United Nations list of intangible cultural heritage, alongside the lofty art of eating in France.

The U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized everything from the growing of corn, beans and chilies to Mexican dishes prepared with grinding stones and mortars as an ancient process worth safeguarding in the face of encroaching global influences.

"Collectives of female cooks and other practitioners devoted to raising crops and traditional cuisine ... express community identity, reinforce social bonds, and build stronger local, regional and national identities," said the committee of 24 countries that determines the list.

The group, meeting in Kenya this week, announced additions to the list Tuesday that also included flamenco in Spain and carpet-weaving in Azerbaijan.

UNESCO, known for designating world heritage sites such as Peru's Machu Picchu and India's Taj Mahal, also lists traditions such as performing arts or social practices as activities worth preserving.

"I heard about the UNESCO thing this morning on the TV, and I was drooling all morning," Martin Tellez Romero, 45, said as his snack of beef-and-cheese quesadillas sizzled on the griddle of a sidewalk stand. "I couldn't even wait until lunchtime."

I was captured by Mexican food long is easily the number reason I live here and not in Canada (with the much better climate being a close second). Every time I make a trip home, I can think of only one thing...the good food I'm missing. It's difficult for friends and family back home to understand since first-world Canada offers just about every dish one can imagine, but it is never quite right. Far from right, actually.

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