JFK In My Post?…Not Only A Cooking Blog.

Kennedy HeadlinesIn 1963, our family owned several retail stores in the Zona Rosa of Mexico City.  I was 10, and had been given permission to walk by myself from one store to the other, as long as I didn’t need to cross the street.  The names of our stores were, Riviera S.A.,  Martha Sastre, Marlen, May Boutique, Sabra, and Susan Kay.  The stores were all located within about a one mile radius of each other.                                       

On the afternoon of November 22nd, I set out from Martha Sastre my mother’s store, to May Boutique, and Sabra, my grandmother’s and my Uncle Mundo’s stores.  As I stepped out and turned left, I paused one door down, to look at the beautiful European pastry display in Konditori,  a very fancy, (I thought), restaurant .  I happily continued my stroll down Genova Street,  looking at all of the store-front displays as I went.  When I reached the corner and turned left at Hamburgo Street,  I suddenly heard a commotion.

Alarmed grown-ups were shouting  up and down the street, “Mataron a Kennedy, Mataron a Kennedy”… “They’ve killed Kennedy, They’ve killed Kennedy”.   At 10 years of age, never having been outside of Mexico, I knew who Kennedy was, because my parents spoke a lot about him at home.  As young as I was, they had made me and my brothers understand that Kennedy was a hero, that he was the hope of the world…the hope for freedom, equality and justice.

So many sad days followed.  My mother didn’t go to work.  I cried because my mom cried. She almost never cried so when she did, it deeply affected me.  She sat on that nest shaped chair, legs folded into fetal position, black ballet flats tucked under her. I watched her watch the funeral at Arlington Cemetery. 

Children learn sensitivity from watching their parents’ sadness and heartache.

No Fail Potato Latkes With Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce

 It’s best (and prettier) to click on the link, to read recipe on the blog-site rather than in your e-mail inbox.

By now most of you  have heard that this year Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap, and that this happens more or less every 70,000 to 80,000 years.  In the spirit of this occurrence I have devised two recipes that blend the flavors of both holidays.  I will serve this at our family Thanksgiving/Hanukkah celebration this year.

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 ripe mango cut into small squares (you can use apple instead)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (less or none is o.k. too)
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish (add more if you like the zing it gives)
  • 1 cinnamon stick soaked in warm water for 30 minutes


Pour orange juice and water into a medium-sized saucepan, that you have placed on the stove over medium high heat. When liquid begins to boil add the white sugar and brown sugar.  When the sugar has dissolved add all of the other ingredients except for the cinnamon stick.  When mixture comes to a boil, lower heat and continue to simmer while you stir intermittently for 15 to 20 minutes.

After the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened remove it from the heat.  Mix in the cinnamon stick with a bit of its liquid, and allow it to sit and cool, then refrigerate.  When you are ready to serve, remove the cinnamon stick.  You will see that the cranberry sauce has gained a thick and jelly like consistency.

Serve with No Fail Potato Latke Recipe bellow:

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1/2 of a large onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup matzoh meal
  •  teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Canola oil for frying


Peel and quarter the potatoes, and grate them in the food processor or with a hand grater.  Place a strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with cheesecloth or a thin dish towel, and allow the liquid to drain.  After the potatoes give off most of their liquid lift them up inside the cloth and wring them out as much as possible. Slowly, discard the liquid and keep the potato starch that has settled at the bottom of the bowl.

Grind the onion along with the garlic clove and drain separately in a strainer.  Place all of the ingredients in the bowl with the layer of potato starch except for the egg whites, and mix thoroughly.

Separately, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, until stiff.  Gently fold the egg whites into the bowl with the potato mixture.  Heat the canola oil over a medium high heat for 3 or 4 minutes.  Take the amount of about 1 tablespoon, gently place into the hot oil, and pat it down with the back of a spoon to flatten it a bit.   Allow the latkes to fry for about 6 minutes or until the sides are a deep golden color, then flip them over and fry them for another 6 minutes.  Remove to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet, and drain excess oil.

Serve the potato latkes nice and warm, along with the cranberry sauce or any topping of your choice.


Calcule Girl… A Mexico Story

Liceo Franco Mexicano“Pero Mami yo no quiero aprender frances”…”But mommy I don’t want to learn French,” I protested, as loudly  and vehemently as my seven-year old self could, when I found out I was being taken out of the American School.  I was to start at the Liceo Franco- Mexicano, the French Lycee in Mexico City,  in a couple of weeks.  “You’ll like it Susie, your brothers are going to go there too, but they’ll be in the Mexican section and you’ll be in the French section.”

I became apprehensive and fearful, because I didn’t want to leave my school,  I didn’t want to leave my best friend, Nan Gonzales, and I didn’t want to be separated from my brothers.  “What is the French section?” I asked, “Oh,”  My mom answered,  “It’s the part of the school for very special children…very smart children.  It’s the part where you’re only allowed to learn and speak French.”  “Why aren’t my brothers going to the French section with me?”  “Your brothers will go into the easier part of the school where they will learn a little French and they’ll continue with their Spanish and English.”

“That’s not fair mommy why don’t I get to go to the Mexican section too?”  Her answer, whatever it may have been, made me feel smarter than my two big brothers, but I was still mad and a little heart-broken at leaving my other school and my friends.

The schools my mother chose for us were always with one aim in mind.  Get the best education possible, get as worldly as possible.  At the American School in Mexico City, we learned and daily improved in English, while at the same time keeping up with our Spanish, but the inevitable day came, when we were transferred to the Liceo Franco-Mexicano.  My mother thought that it would be good if I learned French.  It was very becoming of a girl to speak French, she thought.

So, in 2nd grade I was placed directly in the French section, which was complete French immersion.  We were not allowed to whisper or even breathe a hint of a language other than French.  I was not happy but I did pick up the language quite easily.  We wore uniforms of grey skirts and white blouses, and our navy blue sweaters had to have the school emblem sewn on them.  White socks and black shoes were mandatory.

The teachers were strict and never smiled, and particularly disliked me because I was left-handed.  In those days being left-handed was not acceptable and they tried to get me to write with my right hand until my mother told them to stop coercing me.  The principal, a tall bespectacled, big-boned woman, would be called in especially to discipline the mischievous kids by slapping the backs of their hands with a long ruler.  The victims were always, what I thought to be, normal 7 or 8-year-old, energetic boys they didn’t know what to do with.  I made up my mind never to get hit, and I never did.

My teacher was very stern in her black net, which covered her black frizzy hair, that starkly contrasted with her milky white skin. Daily, she wore a crisp and fresh white button down sweater, and she never smiled.  One day I asked her a question and as she leaned over my small pupitre…desk,  I accidentally stained her white sweater with my blue ink pen.  The look she shot at me injured my 2nd grade psyche so badly that I still remember it today, more than 50 years later.

There, in the French section of the Liceo Franco-Mexicano, close to Sears Roebuck, and Company, and across from the  railroad tracks of Polanco, I found that even in French, I loved math…maybe because it was another language altogether.  One day the word came that one child from each grade had been named the best calcule, or math student.  And when my mother  and father screamed with pride, and hugged and kissed me when they found out that I had won the award for “Calcule,”  I felt so happy.  I got a special certificate for being the best math student in the class, and from that day on, and even into adulthood my mother always called me her “Calcule girl.”

Scrambled Eggs with Yucca Flower, Prepared Mexican Style.

Yucca Flower in Bloom Los Angeles is full of Yucca Trees, in fact there is a street in Hollywood called Yucca Street, named so because of the prevalence of the trees with the long and dagger-like  leaves. I am fortunate to have a Yucca tree in my back yard and every so often the top bursts into bloom, and a beautiful cluster of white flowers appears.  For years I never paid much attention, as it would come into bloom and then dry up.  Then, about 15 years ago, our housekeeper Doña Tere asked me to ask our gardener to cut it down because the flower was edible, and a popular  diet staple in Central America.  She prepared it in the style of her native Guatemala.  A few weeks ago when the yucca flower came back into bloom I asked our gardener to cut it down for me.

Click on the above video to see my step by step preparation of Huevos Revueltos A La Mexicana Con Flor De Izote, Scrambled Eggs with Yucca Flower, Prepared Mexican Style.

If you are lucky enough to have a Yucca Tree  (Yucca flowers are also available in Hispanic markets around L.A.), or if you have a friend who does, don’t let that wonderful cluster of flowers go to waste, tell them to have it cut down, and give it to you to prepare the way I did:

1 cluster Yucca Flowers

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup diced onions

1 serrano pepper chopped (optional)

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

4 eggs beaten with a fork

Salt to taste

1 avocado diced

6 corn tortillas

Serves 3-4

Remove the individual yucca flowers from their stem, and remove the pod from the center of the flowers, soak in water for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.  Bring a quart of salted water to a boil.  Place the yucca flowers in the boiling water, allow to boil 4-5 minutes, and drain.

Heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion.  When the onion begins to shimmer add the serrano pepper, stir for a couple of minutes, then add the yucca flowers, stir again, add the diced tomatoes, and then stir a few more minutes.  Add the  beaten eggs and stir over a medium high heat, until they reach the consistency you prefer.

Serve with diced avocado and warm tortillas, for making tacos.