By Manzanillo Sun Writer from the May 2014 Edition
A few years ago, for the ‘Manzamigos Association’, I put together a book of translations for everyday items at the grocery store. It was very successful but because of the immense amount of work that was entailed, the cost of production, and the lack of available help it was eventually laid to rest.
The need has again risen for this book to become available and the Manzanillo Sun E-Magazine has decided to undertake this task.
The original book is unavailable, due to old software not being compatible with latest versions of computer operating systems, thus the entire book will be redone with a new updated look and more invaluable information. Hopefully, it will be ready by the time everyone arrives back in Manzanillo in the fall, but in any case it will be available on line, making it easier to obtain and market.
We are asking for your help with information on everything you have ever needed in the local stores but were afraid to ask! Our scouts will do the digging for you.
This new book will contain phrases required, as well as actual names of items. One section of particular interest and even used by local chefs, was the list of herbs and spices. These are not words used in everyday conversation and this list is where we will start. Besides the name of spices that are needed for our northern type cooking, there are several used solely in Mexican cooking, which although unfamiliar to us, give extraordinary results. These will be included with information as to how they are used.
Many day to day spices are unfortunately not available in Manzanillo. However, they are actually available in the larger cities in Mexico. The Bahia Deli in Las Brisas can very often get them, but they need to know what to ask for. The supermarkets occasionally carry different spices but as we all have discovered, if you don’t get what you like or need when it is available, it may never be there again. Stock rotation and reordering is not in the local supermarket guide to good management, it seems.
Often an unusual or imported item’s price is often out of sight, but we are prisoner to our desires and many of us just grumble while we pay, sometimes more than double what we would back home. Many precious spices travel down south with us, but as I found (much to my chagrin), they do not keep well in the hot and humid climate of Manzanillo. Never before have I come across so much solid garlic powder or moldy mustard powder in my life. Coming from the other extreme of dry cold temperatures in Alberta, Canada, I didn’t know that powders could solidify so quickly. The answer to this is, don’t bring down too much, smaller quantities are the name of the game with a large refrigerator!
The Herb and Spice list is included in this edition of the Manzanillo Sun and we would appreciate your comments and welcome all possible additions.