I went down to the second floor of Coffman to visit the kitchen where a nice Mexican lady was preparing mole. She was grinding the ingredients with a Metate y Mano — a hunk of basalt like a rolling pin and another hunk like a small concave table. She conversed with a girl from La Raza (the student group hosting the mole workshop), but my poor command of Spanish left me mostly confused. I would catch words like Maize and canela, but most of the instructions were way beyond my understanding.
The ingredients were arrayed around a sombrero (I was too embarrassed to take pictures, and I only had the film camera anyways, so I can’t really share). There were two kinds of dried chiles: pasilla and mulato and fresh green poblano peppers. The cook fried everything — the peanuts, almonds, bananas, raisins, onion, and garlic. I think that the piloncillo (a cone of unprocessed, unbleached sugar) and chocolate weren’t fried, though. She was just about to transfer the paste of ingredients to the cookpot to add chicken stock and water when I had to come back to work.
I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to skip class to attend their dinner, so I got a sample, plus a bit of chicken, a spoonful of rice, and four corn tortillas. Since I didn’t see silverware handy I just rolled up the tortilla in my hand and used it to shovel food into my mouth. It tasted like heartbreak. With each bite a smile flashed across my face and then warped into sadness and bemusement. Every swallow felt post coital — I stood wavering in shock — should we sweatily embrace in a trance of bliss, or scoop another mouthful of happiness and rice?
I had to leave to come back to work, where of course I had to post about the brown heaven that filled my mouth before I could get any actual work done. Amazing.