Seņora Martha Favela de Valdepeņas is the mother of 8 and the grandmother of 19.  She lives in Lerdo, Durango in north-central Mexico.  Most of this entire website is about her and her family and the fat gringo (me) who lives with them.

She has never owned a cookbook -- her knowledge of cooking has been passed down to her by her mother, aunts and grandmothers along with almost half a century of daily cooking for her family.

I talked her into doing these photo essays because I think she is an outstanding cook.  I take the pictures as she is cooking -- nothing is staged or posed for the camera; if I don't pay attention, I miss the shot.  The one concession she makes to me is going light on the hot stuff because she knows my gringo mouth is not up to it.

Generally, quantities are not given because she does not measure things.  Timing is not reported because she doesn't time things.  She goes by look, taste and experience.  So these photo essays are not cookbooks, they are visits to a Mexican kitchen.

We hope you enjoy them.

What is "authentic" Mexican cooking?  Beyond a restaurant's promotional slogan, it probably has no meaning.  Mexico is a large country with many ethnic groups, local customs and, even, local languages.  Many of these local and regional groups have diverse culinary histories many hundreds of years old.  Some of them have incorporated Spanish cuisine in various ways, thus creating a patchwork of regional recipes all falling under the broad heading of Mexican Cooking.

Doņa Martha's tamales wrapped in corn husks bear little resemblance to the ones from southern Mexico wrapped in banana leaves.  Who is to say that one is "authentic" and the other isn't.  Likewise, the various regional versions of buņuelos or enchiladas, and on down the list.

So you can be sure that when someone insists that there is only one "authentic" way to make a Mexican dish, he is not as knowledgeable as he would have you think.

These endless variations add to the uniqueness of dining in Mexico.

Cooking Directory