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Entry from November 24, 2007
“Chile is one of the few foods that has its own goddess” (Diana Kennedy)

Chile con carne is the official dish of the state of Texas. Famed Mexican cookbook author Diana Kennedy provided one of the best chili quotes when she said that chile “is one of the few foods that has its own goddess.”

Wikipedia: Diana Kennedy
Diana Kennedy is an author and authority on Mexican cooking. A native of the United Kingdom, she moved to Mexico in 1957 with her husband, Paul Kennedy, who was a correspondent for the New York Times. She has spent 45 years traveling through Mexico researching cooking techniques and the history of Mexican cuisine. Her first cookbook was published in 1972. She currently resides in the state of Michoacán.

Ms. Kennedy was awarded the Order Of The Aztec Eagle, by the Congress of the Republic of Mexico for her contributions to the documentation of regional Mexican cuisine. The Aztec Eagle is the Mexican equivalent of a knighthood for non-Mexicans.

Chili Quotes and Trivia
“The chile, it seems to me, is one of the few foods that has its own goddess.” - Diana Kennedy, cookbook author

Food & Wine
Diana Kennedy shares 7 recipes from her Mexican kitchen.
By Diana Kennedy

The chile, it seems to me, is one of the few foods that has its own goddess. In Mexican cuisine and lore, this “Respectable Lady of the Little Red Chile” is a deity that represents the chile’s everlasting significance in the ritual life of the culture. Losio, the Zapotec god who looks after newly sown crops, also takes an interest in the chile. And in Pahuatlán, Puebla, Otomi Indians believe in chile plant spirits that protect the seeds and the harvest.

When Mexicans aren’t praising the chile, they are eating it: fresh, dried, smoked, pickled or skinned and then dried (pasado). Whole chiles are stuffed, shredded, ground, chopped and mashed for everything from vegetable side dishes to relishes and thickeners for sauces.

In my many years of wandering in Mexico, I have learned one important thing about chiles: you can never be quite sure what you’ve got. That’s understandable since Mexico has the greatest variety of chiles in the world; a few years ago, a Mexican botanist hazarded a guess of 200. Each small village or larger valley has its own local chile.
DIANA KENNEDY, author of The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book, Mexican Regional Cooking, Nothing Fancy and The Art of Mexican Cooking. These recipes come from My Mexico (published by Bantam Books). English by birth, Kennedy is a longtime resident of Mexico and has been decorated by the Mexican government for her work on cuisine and culture.

This article originally appeared in April, 1996.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 24, 2007 • Permalink