How to make a proper chile en nogada

On the face of it this is as far removed from the Fife Diet as possible. But the thought and care and the cultural rootedness, the sense of occasion and the precise seasonality (“Every year in late summer and early fall, the chile en nogada makes its brief run through Mexico”) make it absolutely a local food gem.

The dish is made of ingredients reflectingt he colours of the Mexican flag and is supposedly the work of the nuns who also created the mole.

Reading this recipe also made me reflect on the issue of ‘convenience’. The dish isn’t easy: “Chiles en nogada is not an easy dish, and it’s not meant to be. That’s part of the tradition. Walnuts must be peeled. Spices assembled. Raw and dried fruit, chopped. Even after assembling your chile, you must dunk it in egg batter and fry it.”

At a recent environmental conference our table were required to workshop (in time honoured fashion) the issue of ‘how to persuade people to be greener’. The call went up that we needed to make it easier, more convenient, we needed to provide whhat the supermarkets provide etc etc. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that this is precisely NOT the way we – as the local food / transition / the wider ecology and anti-globalisation movement should go, and chile en nogada has swayed me futher. Let’s not compete with the world of omnicide which hides all of its costs and realities behind convenience and cheapness and face up to the real world we live in.

As Joanna Blythman wrote recently in the Sunday Herald:

“Nowadays, we live in a comfort zone, largely liberated from repetitive effort by everything from the microwave and the dishwasher to the car and the internet.

This is widely taken as a sign of progress. When we get sick from the illnesses endemic to this lifestyle, the “diseases of affluence” that have largely superseded infectious disease, we look around for someone or something – usually the state – to save us all from ourselves.

Read How to Make a Proper Chile en Nogada here.