Mely Martinez is the culinary expert in Mexican cuisine on 196 flavors.
Passionate about Mexican gastronomy, Mely Martinez writes about the traditional recipes that are familiar to most Mexicans. After moving to the United States, and seeing how different the concept of Mexican food is represented there, she decided to start writing a food blog and collect authentic Mexican recipes for her teenage son.
Over the years, her blog has been a source of comfort and familiarity for many other Mexicans living abroad who long for the meals of their childhood. It is also a place where people of all cultures who are Mexican food enthusiasts can learn about traditional recipes and the history behind them. The blog presents the recipes in an easy, step-by-step process so that readers can cook an authentic Mexican meal in their own kitchen; each post also adds a little background about the history of the recipe and the region of the country where it originated.
Mely loves to collect antique Mexican cooking books, and her passion about food has led her to take several university courses in nutrition.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I am a Mexican food blogger from a coastal town in Mexico called Tampico, in the State of Tamaulipas. The oldest daughter of 8 children, growing up being the oldest meant that you have to help with the house chores and that included cooking. I have always loved cooking. I used to watch my aunts cooking different things than the ones my mom used cooked at home, and then I was trying to recreate those same dishes from my aunts at home. Each one of my aunts has a very different cooking style. During the summer time, my mother used to send the older ones to spend a couple of months with my grandma in a farm located in the State of Veracruz. With my grandma I learned how to grind corn and cook the essential meals of Mexican Cuisine in the most rustic ways. I love home-style meals and I love to learn about the way they used to be cooked before the microwave and all the modern conveniences.
Tell us more about your knowledge and experience when it comes to Mexican Cuisine
As I mentioned above, I learned from my mom, aunts and grandma, the old fashion way at home and asking other home cooks. I have had the opportunity to live in different regions of Mexico and to travel to many of its states, visiting markets and small eateries. Over the years, I also educated myself with vintage books and with online courses focused in gastronomy and nutrition from prestigious United States Universities.
What makes Mexican cuisine unique? What differentiates it from other cuisines?
Mexican cuisine is so diverse and immense; every region of the country has something unique to it, whether some ingredients (fish, vegetables, fruits, spice) or cooking techniques that you will only find in that particular area of the country.
What is your favorite Mexican recipe or the most unusual dish of the country?
That would be mole poblano, a very rich and complex mix of flavors, a dish that represents not just the State of Puebla but more importantly a symbol of our gastronomy and it originality.
What other cuisines do you like or influence your cuisine?
I love Indian and Thai gastronomy, their use of spices and vegetables is marvelous. Maybe, it is that in a way they resemble Mexican cuisine for the intricacy of flavors that I like them so much.
Which place would you recommend to visit in Mexico?
My first thought will be the Yucatan Peninsula for the richness of their cuisine and the history behind it. But you can also go to Mexico City and experience all the different cuisines of Mexico in one big city since there are several restaurants that offer the cuisines of Yucatan, Puebla, the Huasteca Region, and other states.
What are the main difficulties in Mexican Cuisine?
I can’t identify any difficulties in preparing authentic Mexican dishes. If you are passionate about cooking, then you will love preparing Mexican dishes. But perhaps the only difficulty that I could think of, is the fact that Mexican cuisine is still unknown to the rest of the world, and therefore many people would go through life without knowing one of the richest cuisines available to humanity.
What would you suggest if you had to prepare a complete Mexican Menu: starter, main course and dessert.
Main Course: Carne a la Tampiqueña, Ensalada Cesar
Dessert: Flan Napolitano