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After an action-packed week of hosting cookbook author Diana Kennedy as she taught classes at Kitchen Conservatory, here are some of the things we learned from the grande dame of Mexican cuisine:

  • A plastic bag (any plastic bag) should be reused and reused and reused.
  • Constantly compost.
  • Superior Mexican cheese is sold at El Morelia Super Mercado on St. Charles Rock Road.
  • Not only is Mexican oregano different from Greek oregano, but cassia cinnamon cannot be substituted for Mexican canela cinnamon.
  • In the kitchen, the hair must be pulled back. (“Who do you think you are, Rachel Ray?”)
  • All questions must be addressed to the chef; there are 364 other days to chatter among yourselves.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are an abomination; chicken backs are the best part of the bird.
  • Always salt-cure beef tongue before cooking, then add an extra half-cup of salt at the end.
  • If fresh lard is not available, use duck fat.
  • Add pork ribs when making chicken stock for fuller flavor.
  • Never, ever use canola oil because it is overprocessed. Also never use corn oil. Sunflower oil is acceptable.
  • Capresso coffee grinders are superior at grinding spices.
  • Toast sesame seeds, but do not toast pumpkin seeds when making a green mole.
  • When using any dessert recipe, double the butter and halve the sugar.
  • Spirited discussion and debate over breakfast is the best way to start the day; the earthquake on Friday was quite minor in comparison.

3 Comments for “Kennedy-esque”  

  1. Alanna

    I suspect you held your own, yes, Anne?! I love especially the double the butter and halve the sugar. I’m known for #2, now I’ll have to try #1!

  2. Paul

    Diana was great – but I wonder what the support staff was thinking afterwards. Diana really put everybody through their paces!

  3. Anne

    Yes, she kept us on our toes because nothing less than perfection was acceptable. She may be an Englishwoman in Mexico, but she ruled the kitchen like a French chef!