The grande dame of Mexican cooking, Diana Kennedy, paid Sacramento a visit last night and gave a cooking demonstration class for about 70 of her appreciative fans, my mother and I included. If you have heard of Diana Kennedy, you know that for the last 40 years she has almost single-handedly introduced authentic Mexican cuisine to the English speaking world through her classes and popular cookbooks – The Art of Mexican Cooking, My Mexico, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, and her latest, From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients.
The evening was filled with amazing food (especially one guacamole prepared with avocados, peaches, grapes, and pomegranate seeds), anecdotes of Mexico and Diana’s environmental home there (read outhouse), and amusing banter between the great lady and her sous chef for the evening, Peg, a local Sacramento chef.
“More than anything in the world, I hate that canola oil,” was one remark that found resonance in the crowd. Ms. Kennedy has a clear and strong opinion about the use of fat – lard, and chicken fat, olive oil – in her cooking. It’s good for you and it is needed for the flavor.
“Never take the seeds out of serrano chiles,” was another instruction from Ms. Kennedy; “they never do in Mexico,” she added. I usually take them out. Hmm. Must take a note of that.
All in all it was a delightful evening. I highly recommend seeing her if you get the opportunity. She claims that this is probably her last tour through the states. She appears to be in her mid 70s, so see her while you still can. I think it was mentioned that they are up in Seattle next.