Yesterday, Today & Tamales

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Rick Bayless defies the old adage to never shop when your hungry—he always shops hungry, to provide a source for inspiration.

In the Mérida market, inspiration comes in the form of homemade tamales—made from fresh corn masa flavored and filled with achiote-seasoned chicken or pork and steamed in banana leaves.  Those tamales tap into Mexico’s past which is present everywhere you travel.

At Uxmal’s Pyramid of the Magician, Rick gives us a brief lesson on water and corn which brings him back to the Mayans and their pit-cooked tamales.  To learn their secrets, we visit Silvio Campos’s home for a step-by-step class in mucbipollo—rustic chicken and pork tamales baked in an earthen pit.  Silvio serves the crusty-hot tamales to Rick with slivers of fresh habañero and ice cold beer.

The aroma of the achiote motivates Rick to make Tamales Colados (Yucatecan Pudding Tamales) at home.

Fresh chaya leaves in the Mérida market inspire Rick to experiment with growing his own chaya in his urban garden.

In Topolobampo, Rick’s fine-dining restaurant, he shows us the ancient Mayan tamal—Dzotobichay (Yucatecan Tamales with Greens, Pumpkinseeds and Egg)—made Rick’s way with local chard leaves and elegantly served with a roasty habañero-spiked tomato sauce.




It's a Shore Thing:  Seafood dishes that capture everything that's perfect and irresistible about a day at the beach.

Fusion Revolution: Mexican cooking might even be called the original "fusion cuisine."

Quest for Fire:  Rick can't resist the kind of well-seasoned, simple food grilled over a fire pit Mexican food is famous for.

The Capital of Hip:  Rick takes us on a dawn-to dusk culinary tour of Mexico City that separates the hip from the hype.

Eat, Drink & Be Mérida:
Fusion of Mayan traditions with Spanish influences resulted in Mérida—the "Paris of Mexico."

Fresh Chiles, Hot & Cool:
Everything about the Yucatán’s beloved habañero with its one-two punch of flavor and heat.

Yucatan Snack-a-Thon:
Who wouldn't like to snack from dawn to dusk on all kinds of Yucatecan specialties?

Modern Mayan:  Mayan culture is experiencing a rebirth in the Yucatán today—in revitalized food, art and architecture.

Paste Sensations: Mérida's colorful, aromatic essential seasoning pastes are the key flavoring for many of the region's dishes.

Hacienda Renaissance: The hacienda is being reborn—as museums, as production facilities for fine rums and liqueurs, and as luxury hotels.


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