Mexican cuisine is as wildly varied as the country and an essential part of a beautiful, ancient culture — but don’t let that intimidate you. This week, journalist and cookbook author Lesley Tellez talks to us about what Mexican food means to her as a third-generation Chicana food writer, and how she draws from that meaning and her personal history to make easy, everyday Mexican food in her NYC kitchen for her family. Her stories and tips help us make easy, everyday Mexican food that celebrates Mexican culture, too, and just plain put delicious food on our tables.
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Crunchy, Tangy, Spicy
The key to cooking great weeknight Mexican isn’t Taco Tuesday, but it also isn’t having to understand the entirety of Mexican cuisine. Rather, the key — or keys, because there’s more than one! — are curiosity, great tortillas, and making sure every meal has something crunchy, tangy, and spicy.
And don’t worry, the spicy part can be hot sauce served separately!
This week, journalist and cookbook author Lesley Tellez shares with us the meaning of her work as a third-generation Mexican-American food writer. She also tells stories of how she grew up eating in Southern California, what she learned about Mexican cuisine while living in Mexico, and how the two interact to shape her everyday Mexican cooking at home.
And, oh yea, she’s the mom to two small kids, so that plays a big role too. Sound familiar?
Listen for Lesley’s tips on how to pull Mexican flavors into your kitchen with ease so that you and your family can go beyond tacos and burritos.
Links mentioned in this week’s episode include:
Migas Norteñas (we shared this one because of the step-by-step photos, but search
Here’s another recipe for Migas using a guajillo salsa
The Fish Tacos from Cup of Jo that Lesley mentioned
Best Black Bean Soup at New York Times that Stacie recently adapted for her IP
Instant Pot Carnitas (Stacie does a wing-it version of this using just a little OJ, salt, and a bay leaf)
About Our Guest: Lesley Téllez
Lesley Téllez is a journalist, cookbook author, and entrepreneur whose work focuses primarily on Mexican food, culture, and identity. Her cookbook Eat Mexico: Recipes From Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas, was published in 2015 by Kyle Books. She also contributed to Nixtamal: A Guide to Masa Preparation in the United States, published by Masienda and Mini Super Studio in 2018.
Lesley’s writing — about Mexican food, tortillas, and more — has appeared in TASTE, Food & Wine, New Worlder, The New York Times, Saveur, Eating Well, The Kitchn, and Eater, among other publications. Since 2010, Lesley has been owner and founder of Eat Mexico, currently one of the top-rated food tour agencies in Mexico City.
A Southern California native and a third-generation Mexican-American, Lesley lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
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Let’s Be Friends
Be sure to join our private listeners’ group on Facebook (our favorite cocktail is WHISKEY — you’ll understand when you try to join). There, we’ll be sharing more of our favorite everyday Mexican recipes and favorite Mexican and Mexican-American food writers and bloggers.
We want to hear from you too! Did you grow up eating Mexican food? What dishes? What does Mexican food mean to you? Tell us!
You can also find us at @didntijustfeed you on Instagram and on Facebook at large. And if you happen to love us as much as we love you (we really do!), you can find Meghan as @meghan_splawn and Stacie as @staciebillis on Instagram.
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