crop gives to the others when grown close together. Corn stalks are great poles for bean sprouts to climb to reach the sun. Squash plants have spiky vines that fend off predators and keep the ground moist. Beans are nitrogen-rich and help to fertilize the soil. The fourth “Sister” could well be wheat, though it is not native to Mexico. After the Spanish-Aztec War in 1512, European trade brought in crops like wheat and sugar and domesticated animals such as goats, pigs, and cows. The Three Sisters remain present in modern Poblano cuisine. Maseca , or corn flour, is used to make corn cakes, polenta, and tortillas. Calabazas , meaning pumpkins, are often cooked with onions, spices, and cotija cheese. Additionally, a wide variety of beans are found in all kinds of Mexican dishes. Being able to import resources across its regions helps Mexico benefit from and take advantage of its climatic diversity. Ingredients found in Poblano cooking today could include jicama , a white root vegetable looking somewhat like a turnip, but with a sweeter taste; amaranth , a


Puebla is home to the first public biblioteca (library) ever built in the Americas. It was constructed in 1640 by Bishop Palafox y Mendoza. He donated more than 5,000 books from his own collection but said he wanted them to be read by anyone who wished to read, not just by upper-class patrons. The library is named Biblioteca Palafoxiana after the famous Bishop and features ornate staircases and gold-leafed details throughout its interior. It was designated a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site (2005) and a historic monument by the Mexican government.

Chapter 1: Poblano


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