Skip to main content

I Did It Maguey



Friends,
Maguey (aka Agave) plants live somewhere between 10 to 25 years –unless, that is, they’re harvested for tequila, or its cousins, mezcal, sotol and pulque (a worthy topic for another blog J). These spiny plants are arguably one of the most useful known to man. They can be planted atop fences for protection, dried-up for rope or used as needle and thread in a pinch. There are recipes for desserts made with its flesh and, as we mentioned, strong drink can be brewed from its juice. It’s a versatile construction material –the leaves can be used as roof tiles and the flower stalk as a house beam. It also serves as a billboard to carve your loved one’s initials. There are quite a few varieties. Blue we all know. There is also the green agave and in the Andean highlands above 9,500 feet grows a variety we call Achupilla, among many others.

When the end is near, a thirty-foot-tall flower stalk shoots-up from the center of the plant. This glorious reproductive display becomes its final act. Not unlike males in some spider and praying mantis species, agave plants go out with a bang. I’ve often thought it a shame that this spectacular growth spurt (massive exrection? –sorry, couldn’t resist) is followed by death. Couldn’t the plant simply forgo this stage and continue living indefinitely? Perhaps, but then, that would be the end of the line. Without the “chahuarquero” (Ecuadorian for agave flower stalk), there would be no new “pencos” (Ecuadorian for agave). And so, in death there is new life. Like a grain of wheat must die in order to become a new plant, so too the penco dies to bring life to the next generation. There’s something beautifully poetic about this thought, don’t you think? And speaking of wheat, I think I’ll grab a donut and ponder the circle of life (get it?) as it applies to my newfound career stage. Heck, a shot of tequila might be the perfect complement.
Happy Friday!
Agave  Neglecta with Chahuarquero
Blue Agave with Chahuqrquero
Achupilla with Chahuarquero

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Happy New Year!

  Friends, Happy new year (and, technically, still Friday). As many of you know, my household has a peculiar way of ringing-in the new year. We build effigies representing the old year and burn them at midnight. This year, although we made the tough call of canceling the accompanying annual party, I felt it was important to go ahead with the burning. The theme, of course, was CoVid. My kids and I developed a dozen mutations of the virus and staged them in our backyard. Then, at a quarter ‘till midnight, we proceeded to read the old year’s last will and testament (or, as might be expected for a year like this, an un-will and un-testament). Shortly thereafter they were summarily burned. We then proceeded to stay up way past my bedtime (which in part helps explain the unusual tardiness of my weekly note). In any event a couple of donuts and a day of rest have got me back to my old self. By the way, I’ve posted a public video of the Facebook live stream event on Facebook. Key markers on

THE Oasis

Friends, The book  Ready Player One  sent me down memory lane this week. The journey was not triggered by the author’s excessive references to the 1980s, which border on obsessive. Rather, it was the name of the massive virtual reality simulation used by characters in this dystopian future to escape their grim surroundings: The OASIS. You see, that was also the name of my grandfather’s country estate, the setting where a disproportionate share of my treasured childhood memories were created.  La Quinta Oasis was a bucolic old whitewashed house with a massive stone staircase, three foot thick adobe walls and wooden window shutters that, when closed at night, would submerge the residence in pitch darkness. With no running water, electricity, phone or indoor plumbing, the only modern convenience was the battery transistor radio on which my uncles would listen to “Chucho el Roto”, a radio soap opera. The Spanish fighting roosters crowed long before sunrise, making it difficult to fall back

Accidental Culinary Innovations

Friends, Have you ever inadvertently fermented spaghetti sauce? Yeah, me neither… until yesterday, that is! Imagine my surprise when the half-full bottle, sitting in the fridge from time immemorial, made a sound akin to opening a beer bottle, instantly filling the glass container with a hazy smoke. As the carbonation dissipated, I grabbed a spoon to conduct the obligatory taste test. How was it? I’m glad you asked! Let’s just say chunky carbonated tomato beer is not my thing (although I must admit that if I had been expecting it, my reaction might have been a little more… composed). Now, if you forgo the fermentation and switch the tomato paste with spicy salsa… that might be the next million dollar idea! Sparkling sriracha anyone? How about Carbonated Cholula?   Bubbly Habanero? Fizzy Jalapeño?? I could go on, but I have a feeling Gassy Guac might not fly off the shelves. Now, if only I could stumble on a way to improve donuts. Carbonated Jelly filling… yeah, maybe not. I think I’ll