Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Triqui Family Makes Life in Alaska,Violence Grips Triqui Region in Oaxaca (with recipe for Reyna's Oaxacan Chicken Mole)


Reyna Martinez DeJesus stood before a line of smoking grills at the back of “Ricos Tostaditos,” a Mexican food stand at the Northway Mall Farmers’ Market. Tall pots, tightly covered and steaming, crowded two of the grills. On another, flank steaks cooked over flame, sending their tantalizing aromas out into the market.

The irresistible smell of grilled meat drew me over. I ate some in a tostada, dressed with fresh homemade salsa and hot sauce. I wanted more of Reyna’s food. I ordered pozole, traditional Mexican soup made with hominy corn and finished with red chile sauce, intending to take it home for lunch. I tried taking just one bite, to see how the chile sauce tasted. It was amazingly good. Before I knew it, I’d powered down every bit of the pozole.

During repeat visits to Ricos Tostaditos, I learned Reyna, 35, her husband Lorenzo DeJesus Flore, 40, and their six children are Triqui, an indigenous people from the mountains of Oaxaca, a southern Mexican state. Triqui, not Spanish, is their primary language.

So how did a family of Triqui end up in Anchorage, Alaska? It started with Lorenzo’s decision to leave his violent region for the United States.

Lorenzo and Reyna told me their story when I was at their house learning how to make Reyna’s Chicken Mole. I wanted a cooking lesson. Lorenzo wanted somebody, anybody, to know what is happening to his friends and family in San Juan Copala.

As for Reyna’s Chicken Mole, like every bite of food that Reyna makes, it’s delicious.







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14 comments:

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

what a fascinating and courageous story Laurie! Wow! The mole and tomato rice look and sound delicious...thank you for sharing this!

AKmamaOf6 said...

Wow and Yum!

Edith said...

Thank you for another wonderful post! We will be visiting the NW Mall market next year for sure!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this is quite an incredible story - immigrants' reasons for leaving their country and making a new home in a new landscape that bears very little resemblance to their hometown has always been a source of inspiration for me and my writing

the range if chilis looks quite interesting - i dont think i have ever seen a black chili before, nor one of the sizes depicted here

the bright colours on the plate look so enticing too - what a colourful meal

MAG said...

Thanks Laurie for this wonderful article and the tasty recipes :)

Katerina said...

It is amazing how we take some things for granted while for others are qualities that have to fight for. There is so much violence in this world that never ceases to amaze me. The story of Triqui is the story of thousands if not millions of people in third world countries where human life has absolutely no value. I loved your post and the dish coming from these people. I only wish I could do something for all the people in need apart from giving just money.

bellini valli said...

How soon we forget the tragedies of other countries on this planet. We truly are very lucky no matter how hard we complain. Thanks for sharing this wonderful dish with us and a truly remarkable story of courage.

Peter M said...

I'm amazed at their will for a better future. Trading a home that many would consider paradise (Mexico) for chance at a better life in the harsh environs of Alaska.

Keep'em comin' Laurie!

Edith said...

Steve wants to know where they are cooking when they are not the market.

Maria said...

We surely do take things for granted. Great post Laurie and the recipe looks mouthwateringly delicious.

Dee said...

So glad they have found a safe home in Alaska. The food & recipe look delicious. When our family moved from Texas to Alaska in the 1960's & 70's we were always searching traditional Mexican cuisine. This looks perfectly wonderful. Years later having lived in Mexico a number of years I am familiar with the Triqui people in Southern Mexico. Not only do they have a wonderful cuisine but they are a very talented group of artisans & craftsmen too. Thank you for sharing their story.

Joie de vivre said...

He's had such a hard life, but it's nice that it ends happily, for so many people from his region I don't believe it does.

Magda said...

What an AMAZING post. My god, those people.. what have they been through. What is their tribe going through still! It saddens me so much...
You are right, if anyone out there could expose this atrocity to the general public, perhaps something positive could be accomplished, perhaps help could reach those villages.
Thank you Laurie, it's good to know what's going on in the world, not only in our own back yard.

Shayne said...

there is too much truth in this story. I so wanted to visit Oaxaca when we were living in Mexico last year but the violence we getting bad and we were brough back home to Michigan early. there were so many great places we visited but were were luck to avoid war and violence only by a few day if not a few hours on some trips and were forced to stay close to home towards the end and yet bodies were showing up weekly there too. I worry about friends still in Mexico.