The average American consumer is used to having the same foods available 24/7, 365. We tend to take it for granted that the restaurant down the street will offer many of the same dishes in June as it does in January. We expect fresh oranges and apples and bananas in the grocery store produce section regardless of whether it’s April or August.
In Mexican cooking, things are different. The cuisine is tied more intimately to place and season, and what is found in the markets or served for dinner one month may be very different the next. And that’s a good thing, according to chef Kori Sutton. “It’s funny saying ‘[Mexican food]’ because Mexico has so many different regions. For instance, the Northern reason uses a lot of meat, it’s heavy [in] beef, cattle, goat. So they’re very meat-heavy. …And then [in] the inland parts of Mexico, you get a lot of vegetables, a lot of game, a lot of moles and sauces. And then the coastal strips, it’s all seafood. So you get an amazing array of fruits, vegetables, meats.”
Sutton also stresses that in Mexican cooking (as in many fine cuisines), sometimes less is more. “Living in Mexico, I [saw] how simple ingredients were and how much flavor was put into [dishes] with spices and herbs. And then also being able to see the fresh fish from the fishermen, from the actual ocean, flopping in front of their boat. And you’re sitting there, and they’re selling it. And you’re eating it fresh.”