Wednesday, 8 August 2007


Oh, the irony. I just came back from my local gourmet food store where I was browsing for dinner ideas. I decided, while in the vegetable aisle, to make some guacamole and have it with black beans and rice. I gathered ingredients then headed over to the bountiful cheese section to find something to go on top of the beans. I wanted to use a Mexican cheese - preferably Cotija, the salty, crumbly one, but Oaxaca cheese, the melty one, would do.

Of the hundreds of cheeses on offer, not one was Mexican. This in a store where the vast majority of staff are Hispanic, some from Mexico, and in a city with a growing Mexican population. The bias is towards European cheese, as it usually is, but there are hardly any American cheeses on offer either. In the end I had to buy Ricotta Salata to stand in for Cotija.

I know the reasons behind this - there is not much demand for Mexican ingredients at gourmet food stores in downtown Manhattan, there are probably hundreds of other stores in the city that sell it - but there are some anomalies. They sell fresh corn tortillas, why not Mexican cheese? Frozen burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas, but no cheese to make them. Sad.

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