Mole de Olla ~ Spicy Stew from the Pot (Mexican Beef Stew)

Mole de Olla (H)If it weren’t for my fiance, Roberto, I’m not sure I would have ever ventured into a fonda in Mexico City. A fonda is a small, family-run restaurant that usually serves a home-style lunch to the many working individuals that don’t have enough time to go home for la comida, which is the largest meal of the day in Mexico. The menu at each fonda changes daily and usually includes rice, soup, or a salad, a main dish (fish, chicken, beef, etc.), an agua de sabor (fruit water), and sometimes a small dessert like a Jell-O or rice pudding.

Roberto used to work at the Secretaría de Salud (Secretary of Health) located in la Colonia Roma. Every day, he had two free hours for lunch from 3-5pm; I usually finished work around 1pm. Roberto would often invite me to have lunch with him and his colleagues, and more often than not we frequented a nearby fonda. There was usually a daily menu out front for passerby to decide if they liked the lunch selection.

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Tamales de Calabaza de Sra. Inés ~ Inés’ Pumpkin Tamales

Cooked tamales

My mom and I always joke around that when a recipe doesn’t work out, it must be a “Mother-in-law Recipe.” What is a mother-in-law recipe? It is a recipe that has been changed ever so slightly so that it won’t come out just right. It is a trick that mother-in-laws play on their daughter-in-laws, so that their sons will always like their mom’s cooking just a little bit better. The mother-in-laws wouldn’t deny their daughter-in-laws of the recipe, but they never tell them what the secret step or ingredient is.
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