Quesadillas de Sesos
When Rosario joined our household, she asked us what kind of food we wanted her to cook for us. We told her that we would like her to prepare the same things she would cook for her family.
We asked for Mexican home cooking because wherever we travel, we find that the regional cuisine of ordinary people is the best. Trying to obtain good ol' American food in other countries usually is disappointing. I'm thinking of the pizza I ordered many years ago in Tokyo, that came topped with canned button mushrooms and squid.
We also knew we would all be happiest—Jean, myself and Rosario—if she could make the dishes she had learned since girlhood. She would know what produce was in season, and how to make the most of the particular ingredients available in San Miguel de Allende.
Rosario has introduced us to many new dishes, and we've enjoyed almost all of them. Yesterday she served us a new one. She proudly announced we were eating quesadillas de sesos.
I said, "¿Como?" I wasn't sure I had heard right.
She repeated, "Quesadillas de sesos. Muy sabrosas."
I said, "Claro."
Jean asked, "What are these? What did she say?"
Like any good husband, I know when it's prudent to lie. I said, "Some kind of quesadilla. I didn't get what kind." That way, I was able to get Jean to enjoy her meal and complement Rosario as she always does.
I was able to eat my portion as well, but a little queasily. Because sesos are brains. In this case, pork brains.
Mexican people are much more prone to eating what in the U. S. are euphemistically called "variety meats."
In the photo, you can just make out a tray of pork brains, to the right of the attractively braided intestines, beneath the hanging pigs' heads.
What is it about "variety meats" that give so many of us gringos feelings of revulsion? My Mexican friends think they're delicious. Tacos de cabeza (head)? Menudo (tripe stew)? These are treats!
I hear that asian people find cheese revolting. I see these same people shopping in an American-Chinese supermarket where you can buy a plastic-wrapped styrofoam tray of fleshy pink rings with a label that reads "Pig Bung." I'm not making that up.
Clearly there's come cultural thing going on here. But what?
This morning at breakfast I asked Jean if she felt OK. "No stomach upset?"
"No. I'm feeling good. Why?"
I asked her, "Well, you know those quesadillas we ate yesterday?"
"Yeah. They were pretty good."
"Well, the filling was pig brains."
"Eeewww! If i had known that, I wouldn't have eaten them!"