Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars


Sonoran food described as "bland"


Restaurants & Bars 27

Sonoran food described as "bland"

The Rev. Canon John C. Fowler | Aug 17, 2000 05:12 PM

Some good person on these boards has referred to Sonoran/Mexican food as "well--bland". You might as well described "the roast beef of old England" as bland. Cooked by a good English (or Irish) cook, roast beef is not bland--though one might like a little Coleman's hot mustard or proper horsebradish sauce on the side. So, well cooked Sonoran food is simply not overwhelmed with chiles. The seaoning of Sonora is careful, restrained, like most peasant foods around the world. A bit of cummin, a touch of oregano, some green or cooked red chiles, the refined taste of FLOUR tortillas pulled to proper thinness by an expert, fluffy beaten egg whites, grated goat's cheese with its distinctive (not strong) flavor, the green chiles which Americans call Anaheim rather than the burning chiles favored by amateurs -- such things as these are the stuff of Sonoran Desert cooking. Lard is almost its strongest flavor (and lard is essential to Sonoran cooking, since it is what the peasants of Sonora could and can afford). Chicken, beef, pork, all come into it when salaries are good, but they are not bludgeoned by heaps of burning Tabascan-like chilies. Children eat the delicious food of Los Mochis and Hermosillo and Tucson as easily and eagerly as their parents. The part of Pennsylvania I now live in has endless "chile cook-offs", by which they mean chile recipes which burn the hotest, produce eyes that water the most, tongues that sting the most. It is all amateurish and ridiculous. Texas has the same things. They have learned to eat the food of immigrants. Indigenous Sonoran food is not "bland". But it is flavored with care and restraint. It can be eaten daily with the same appetite as one came to it the night before. One never tires of it because it has the widest variety of dishes, all meant to touch the palate with gentle vigor. I can cook foods in the Tex-Mex or New Mexican style with the best of them, and I like it on occasion. It is hearty-rough, with a cert

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound