I swore that I wasn’t going to run around so much this year, but I’m presently getting ready to board a plane for Mexico City. The SFA Potliker Film Festival in Greenville, South Carolina is already at my back. I’m on an unexpected long weekend trip to get some writing done. I had thought about a getaway, then a magazine assignment came up, so here I am. I’m hoping that this trip will focus me a little on the immigrant stuff I’m working on, but whenever I get to Celaya, I behave so badly that I hardly remember having been there. So, wish me luck.
The crazy pricing of air fares means that for time being I will come to Celaya by way of Mexico City. I consider this lucky since I love that city. I’m giving myself most of a day there on the way back. In Celaya, I plan to spend a morning in the the Flor de Celaya Chicharroneria in the big wholesale market. This is the pork rind factory where Pancho works. I’ve written about this place before. It’s a mad house most of the time. Always busy, always lots of employees running around. Somehow, there is often also a card game going in at the back, plus a drunk or two perched on stools in the middle of everything. The place and the guys who work there are fascinating. The place of the chicharron in Mexican cooking is equally so. The Flor de Celaya sells truckloads of them every day. When they are fried up crispy, they weigh next to nothing, so a kilo of them will fill a garbage bag. I prefer them like this, but there are many preparations where they are stewed in salsas or simmered in scrambled eggs. Of course, this second method results in soggy pork rinds. These things often taste ok, but I’m not crazy about them. There are a few other pork skin products available. One is a pickled version called “cueritos”. I’ve only just warmed to these. Luis’ mother, a very good cook, made us a salad one night with cueritos, jicama and mango. Then there is something called “prensado”. I can’t honestly tell how this is prepared. It is a sort of pink wheel of layers and layers of pork skin that appear to have been pressed. It looks raw but it slices like well done meat. More about this when I’ve had time to investigate.
More from Mexico soon…..