On holiday last year my two travelling companions and I joined a cookery course in a Mexican restaurant. There were eight participants, all keen to learn the secrets of the nation’s cuisine. The students ranged from people who already had some expertise in the kitchen, to totally unskilled people like myself.
Our teacher, Liana Cabrera, started with a short talk, then handed out some notes giving explanations of terms we’d be coming across. Soon we were trying out a range of exotic ingredients, with suprisingly good results. Cabrera started giving cookery lessons five years ago, and has become quite a celebrity, with a long waiting list for her courses. And because of her extensive knowledge of almost-forgotten regional dishes she is also a regular contributor to cookery programmes on national television.
In the afternoon I joined the salsa-making team, with rather disastrous results. My colleagues complained that my food was so painfully hot it made their eyes water. There own efforts turned out considerably better than mine. The communal meal at the end of the day was delicious, and I’d not only learnt something about cooking, but I’d also broadened my understanding of Mexican culture.