SBS Food’s Blog Appétit – our round up of food blogs worth bookmarking – visits Pati's Mexican Table.
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20 Feb 2014 - 12:01 PM  UPDATED 26 Sep 2016 - 12:20 PM

Creator Pati Jinich was born in Mexico City, where she lived until she married her husband, also Mexican, and moved to Washington DC in the US. She worked as a political analyst for a number of years until the itch to work with the food of her homeland, her true passion, became too strong to ignore. In 2007, Pati launched Mexican Table – cooking demonstrations, dinners and workshops – to overwhelming popularity. A blog to share recipes, answer students’ questions and explore her own unending curiosity came next and in each post she shares tried and true dishes, detailed info on local ingredients and the history of Mexico’s well- and little-known fare. American fans now watch Pati on her own public TV show, Pati’s Mexican Table, and she has a cookbook of the same name. For Australians looking for a truly authentic taste of Mexico, there’s no better place to start than right here.

“Mexicans will spare no amount of money, time or effort to supply a table full of soulful food. We have a saying: 'Tiramos la casa por la ventana'. It means: We throw the house through the window. People will literally sell their belongings so they can feed the entire town for a wedding or a quinceañera (15th birthday) fiesta. I’m always cooking more than we can manage to eat in one sitting; not out of carelessness, but because it is the way of Mexican homes to provide plenty of wholesome food that brings people to the table for any occasion. Plus, this leaves many fabulous leftovers to play with in different ways over the next couple of days. Whether I’m catching up with my boys after school over molletes, a favourite snack of crusty rolls topped with refried beans, Oaxaca cheese and salsa, or taking a nostalgic 'trip' back to Mexico City with my husband over a shared plate of barbacoa. Or, I’m inviting everyone we know over for bricklayer tacos to celebrate a birthday, to break a piñata or just because...

“I started my blog as there is never enough time for me to say all that I want to convey, as my friends and students at the Mexican Cultural Institute know. My blog allows me to share all of the things I am continuously amazed and humbled to learn each time I travel through Mexico or try a new recipe in my kitchen. Plus, I started getting requests for more and more recipes, and the stories of where they come from. My passion is teaching others about the food of my native country, the traditions that surround it and how it is evolving inside and outside of Mexico. I have been very fortunate to expand this interest into a public TV show and now a cookbook.”

 

The must-cook recipe on my website is...

Chicken tinga. It has long been a staple in my home. I usually make more than one batch since it can be beautifully repurposed in tacos, tostadas or enchiladas.”

 

I can’t wait to go back to...

“Santa Fé de la Laguna in the Mexican state of Michoacán to eat brisket in pasilla chile sauce – it’s the best brisket I’ve ever had.”

 

My current food obsession is...

Mexican chocolate. I sneak a little triangle of it in each night before I go to bed.”

 

Eating flan takes me back to my childhood.

“It makes me so happy to be able to make it now for my own kids in many versions.”

 

Nugget of cooking wisdom...

“Don’t cook for others what you wouldn’t feel like eating!”

 

I learnt to cook from...

“My mum and dad, who are both amazing cooks and voracious eaters like me. I learned so much from them. All my sisters are in the food world, too and we are continuously exchanging recipes and ideas.”

 

When I go back to my home town, Mexico City, the first thing I run to eat is...

“A hot fudge sundae from Chianadoni, an old ice-cream shop that my grandfather used to take me to. An Italian immigrant opened it up at the turn of the 20th century and it remains just as when he opened it. They use Italian techniques and Mexican ingredients, like corn, avocado and exotic fruits. But my weakness is their hot fudge sundae.”

 

Friends always ask me to cook my...

Red pozole. It’s happy, festive, exuberant and perfect for a party or the day after a party, too. My husband and I had it for our after-wedding celebration. I use my mother’s recipe, which is my favourite.”

 

The one thing I can’t cook is...

“Rabbit. They are too cute.”

 

If I ever met...

“Frida Kahlo, I would ask her to take me to her favourite Mexican market and show me all the ingredients and decorations she liked and then bring me back to her kitchen and plan a meal from beginning to end together.”

 

I always have...

“Black beans, chipotle chiles in adobo and sweetened condensed milk in my pantry, full-cream milk and eggs in my fridge, and pecans in my freezer.”

 

My favourite biscuit to dunk are...

Piggy cookies, which I dunk in tea, coffee, or milk.”

 

My most sauce-splattered cookbook is...

“Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts.”

 

The most difficult food to shoot and make look tasty is...

Any kind of mole sauce. They are so delicious, but tough to make look good with a camera.”

 

Beyond my own blog, some of my favourites reads are...

“Old, really old, cookbooks and culinary manuscripts. The older, the more entranced I get.”

 

Check out Pati's Mexican Table