American Desert

“I discovered Huevos Con Machaca, a heaping pile of pillowy eggs, fiery green chile and Machaca”

Last December, my Dad mentioned he was visiting an old friend who picked up and moved to a coastal town in Mexico. With little holiday plans of my own and no idea of where the town was, I hopped a two-flight connection to Guaymas. A far cry from the Bubba Gump Shrimp baskets and sugary Señor Frogs margaritas of Cancun, Guaymas is a Mexican working class hub where the Sonora desert abruptly meets the Pacific.

The next day, I rode a rickety bus 45 minutes into the mercado central where I pulled up a stool at a lunch counter where the butchers, cheesemongers and shop owners ate. After turning a few heads as a hapless gringo trying to order in broken Spanish, I ultimately settled on the age-old tactic of a finger point to signify “I’ll have what he’s having”. Here I discovered Huevos Con Machaca, a heaping pile of pillowy eggs, fiery green chile and “Machaca” a Sonoran desert staple of dried beef which was a means of preserving meat for long treks through the country. Fifteen minutes and fifty pesos later I’d eaten one of the best meals of 2014 and I was hungry to learn more.

That night, energized by my findings at lunch I began researching foods of the Sonoran Desert, discovering a treasure trove of local food customs. How the locals drank Bacanora (a local mezcal type liquor made with Wild Pacific Agave), harvested prickly pear cactus fruits and foraged for skittle sized native chili peppers called chiltepines.

Back in Manhattan, recalling that day, it struck me that more attention could be paid to foods of the Desert and the people who make them. So we set out to do that, we hope you enjoy.

Reggie Milligan, Co-Founder

August 2015 Curator’s Letter | “American Desert” Mantry

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