Book, Food, and Magic

Book, Food, and Magic

By Carmen Rioja 


Talamura Culinary label made its first foray into Mexico in collaboration with Los Senderos and The Restaurant with two events through which they will donate 10 percent of their profits to the educational programs of La Biblioteca Pública de San Miguel de Allende, A.C. These two gastronomic moments were made with so much love and effort that they captured the hearts of all the participants, producers, diners, and staff.


In magical San Miguel, it happens that suddenly a person arrives, falls in love with the town, years go by, dreams of San Miguel happen, and he/she has to return with more friends. For example, Jaqueline Kennedy, Pablo Milanés, the Dalai Lama, Dr. Norton, Naomi Campbell, and Angela Peralta have all passed through here. This is what happened to chef Selene Johnson when she dreamed of returning to San Miguel and brought her friend Dorothy, a magician in “production” in the area of culinary events. I say production in quotation marks since it is a minor word to define the perfection, naturalness, and real contact with the human being that they gave to all the assembled attendees. Normally these are not characteristics of what is known as production whether it is film or commercial, where there is a stage that is filmed and a fourth wall that only observes.


But that’s not all—the promise of chef Jeremiah Tower’s coming and cooking in person was fulfilled! About Tower: Anthony Bourdain, who has been my hero for decades, produced a documentary where he honored Tower’s story and recognized him as the “Father of Gourmet Californian Cuisine.” Bourdain also says Tower reinvented something as old as the concept of “eating.” He is appreciated among connoisseurs of international gastronomy as a legend and they assure that there is a before and after Tower in the food revolution.


The three chefs in coordination offered a dinner at Los Senderos and a meal on the Moorish patio of The Restaurant, two of the most beautiful settings in San Miguel. And they managed to make us travel with a fantastic six-course meal which Marco Polo must have also experienced when he tasted foods and spices that now appear in basic recipes from various continents.


We could not believe it when the chefs, next to our table, gave their introductions to the dishes that we would taste. Chef Tower was wearing his iconic red shoes!


At both events beautiful volumes of used books from the gastronomic collection were exhibited as donations to the Library. All participating staff members were recognized with a membership for their admirable effort and contribution to the promotion of books and health in gastronomic culture. There is already talk of the learning experiences that they gleaned from the hands of these three experienced chefs.


The gastronomic results were spectacular for the details and the freshness of the ingredients. In particular Tower’s two-cheese souffle, made with corn, pea shoots, and squash blossom was like a poem recited by King Solomon. Chef Masterton’s pomegranate glazed quail and tequila salmon still makes me sigh.


We hope that this discovery provided by distinguished visitors will continue to bring us good education, cultural exchanges, and lots of healthy ingredient production by our local farmers.


Congratulations to chef Johnson who put her heart in the dessert and paid tribute to the products of America and especially Mexico with chocolate. Xtabentún Cannoli is a delicious chocolate and ricotta cheese that brings to the heart the love of the land and the ingredients that our ancestors used in the oldest cultures such as the Mayan cocoa. By tasting in the spirit of cultural interaction, fine results are achieved through art and harmony.


We invite families, all citizens, and visiting tourists to learn about the new cultural, educational, and artistic programs of La Biblioteca as well as the billboard at Teatro Santa Ana that has been recently renovated thanks to the immense contribution and leadership of Jennifer Posner. The theater now has a state-of-the-art lighting system and equipment for all audiences to enjoy plays, concerts, presentations, and keynotes.


If you like cooking or books or both take a tour of the reading rooms. It is like traveling in time or going around the world 80 times, thanks to the number of recipes, cultures, customs, and characters that changed the history of gastronomy. Admission is free.


Carmen Rioja, Mexican artist who specialized in art restoration, and creative workshops. She likes to write stories and poems and throw them in imaginary bottles into the sea. Riohja has published the books “La Muerte Niña” and “Rojo 43.”