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Tip of My Tongue — deep food stories

Grape leaves, roasting hens, tortillas, pork, avocados, epazote

Epazote was noticed in 1948 in Escondido, about five miles south of Lake Hodges.
Epazote was noticed in 1948 in Escondido, about five miles south of Lake Hodges.

No Mexican food without epazote

When I finish cutting back my epazote, I can’t get the smell off my hands. It reminds me of a friend who, while living in rural Mexico, once purged herself of hookworm by every day eating an epazote-and-papaya-seed paste. Ascaridol is deep in my skin. If I have worms in my gut, they must be, I think, nervous. What is he up to with that stuff?

By Max Nash, June 14, 2001 Read full article

When times are hard, I still make her stuffed grape leaves.

Grape leaves and the Gulf War

The week 150,000 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, Leah’s father in Melbourne was diagnosed with cancer. I almost felt relieved when I went with Marc and Leah to the airport Security was tight. A lot of plainclothesmen in bulky Israeli sportscoats stood around the lobby. They carried briefcases we all knew contained Uzis. It wasn’t a time for long goodbyes.

By Max Nash, Feb. 3, 2000 Read full article

The hen’s buttery smell filled the kitchen.

A roasting hen and divorce

“He monopolized my time on my honeymoon” is what my wife told Star and Bob, our marriage counselors, by way of expressing her past and present dissatisfactions. I sat there and wondered about my wife’s use of the possessive, “my honeymoon.” But what did I know?

By Max Nash, May 4, 2000 Read full article

A corn tortilla is no Twinkie.

The fat boy and his tortilla

As a proactive measure she enrolled me in a diet program called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). Members who either gained or failed to lose weight were obliged to stand before their weekly meeting and sing the Pig Song. There are, of course, “experts” who might suggest that humiliating a fat and high-strung child wasn’t the best way to help him lose weight.

By Max Nash, July 13, 2000 Read full article

The Marrams always kept a sausage or two tucked away in a kitchen cupboard.

Jews, Christians, and the pig

My friend’s sister as a teenager began to complain that her nose was large, that her hair was kinky. She started reading books by Christian author C.S. Lewis. She saved her allowance to have her hair straightened. One evening my friend and his mother went to a movie. When they returned, they heard Handel’s “Messiah” blaring from their home.

By Max Nash, July 27, 2000 Read full article

Avocado needed something acid, like lime, or tomato, to cut its richness.

The gruesome heritage of the avocado

While they would have appreciated the spirit of the Super Bowl, the Aztecs might have wondered why the winning team didn’t sacrifice at least one of the losing players. The Aztec diet wasn’t limited to tortilla chips and avocado sauce. The Aztecs loved turkey, duck, tomatoes, and plump hairless dogs with floppy jowls.

By Max Nash, Feb. 1, 2001 Read full article

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Epazote was noticed in 1948 in Escondido, about five miles south of Lake Hodges.
Epazote was noticed in 1948 in Escondido, about five miles south of Lake Hodges.

No Mexican food without epazote

When I finish cutting back my epazote, I can’t get the smell off my hands. It reminds me of a friend who, while living in rural Mexico, once purged herself of hookworm by every day eating an epazote-and-papaya-seed paste. Ascaridol is deep in my skin. If I have worms in my gut, they must be, I think, nervous. What is he up to with that stuff?

By Max Nash, June 14, 2001 Read full article

When times are hard, I still make her stuffed grape leaves.

Grape leaves and the Gulf War

The week 150,000 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, Leah’s father in Melbourne was diagnosed with cancer. I almost felt relieved when I went with Marc and Leah to the airport Security was tight. A lot of plainclothesmen in bulky Israeli sportscoats stood around the lobby. They carried briefcases we all knew contained Uzis. It wasn’t a time for long goodbyes.

By Max Nash, Feb. 3, 2000 Read full article

The hen’s buttery smell filled the kitchen.

A roasting hen and divorce

“He monopolized my time on my honeymoon” is what my wife told Star and Bob, our marriage counselors, by way of expressing her past and present dissatisfactions. I sat there and wondered about my wife’s use of the possessive, “my honeymoon.” But what did I know?

By Max Nash, May 4, 2000 Read full article

A corn tortilla is no Twinkie.

The fat boy and his tortilla

As a proactive measure she enrolled me in a diet program called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). Members who either gained or failed to lose weight were obliged to stand before their weekly meeting and sing the Pig Song. There are, of course, “experts” who might suggest that humiliating a fat and high-strung child wasn’t the best way to help him lose weight.

By Max Nash, July 13, 2000 Read full article

The Marrams always kept a sausage or two tucked away in a kitchen cupboard.

Jews, Christians, and the pig

My friend’s sister as a teenager began to complain that her nose was large, that her hair was kinky. She started reading books by Christian author C.S. Lewis. She saved her allowance to have her hair straightened. One evening my friend and his mother went to a movie. When they returned, they heard Handel’s “Messiah” blaring from their home.

By Max Nash, July 27, 2000 Read full article

Avocado needed something acid, like lime, or tomato, to cut its richness.

The gruesome heritage of the avocado

While they would have appreciated the spirit of the Super Bowl, the Aztecs might have wondered why the winning team didn’t sacrifice at least one of the losing players. The Aztec diet wasn’t limited to tortilla chips and avocado sauce. The Aztecs loved turkey, duck, tomatoes, and plump hairless dogs with floppy jowls.

By Max Nash, Feb. 1, 2001 Read full article

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No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

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Tacos Lily: good enough for Anthony Bourdain!

I raise my Tecate to the Master.
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