Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm Getting "Méxican-ized"

The first time I bought chicken breast at the market in Progreso, the butcher sliced it thin, in a modified butterfly fashion. I learned that this is so it cooks faster, a necessity in the hot, humid tropics. Even we northerners know enough to try to avoid turning the oven on when it's hot.

It seems that those of us with European ancestry are used to thicker slices. I suppose it's because hearty slabs of meat were needed to provide sustenance during the long, cold, winter months, in the days when indoor heating was nothing more than a woodfire and the longer cook time for thicker meat wasn't as big an issue as it in the tropics. Isn't it interesting how various cultures adapt to their environment?

At one of our local grocery stores here in Canada, we have several Méxicans. My favourite deli meat slicer is the little Méxican gal. The first time she served me, she sliced it thinner than I'm used to and I discovered I preferred it to the typically thicker slices.

The other day, I asked for it to be sliced thin but not shaved. The gentleman cut it thinner than usual, but it still wasn't as thin as what my little latina makes it.

Last week I told her that she was my favourite slicer and she beamed. I'm going to have to ask her what setting she uses so I can request it from the other slicers.

I've always said that the stork dropped me off in the wrong country...that I was meant to live in the tropics and not in the frozen North. It tickles my funnybone that I've adopted the preference for thinner deli meat and the practicality of thinner raw meat.


  1. That's really interesting about the slices of meat. It certainly makes sense. And you know, most of us eat too much meat anyhow. Thinner slices makes it seem like more, I think you enjoy the flavor more, and you actually consume less.

    I hope to see you guys here again some time soon. We'll go get us some thin-sliced bistek.

  2. I love the thinner slices of meat! Makes cooking that much faster and easier. :)

  3. Marc, sounds good! Our next trip down is being planned. November. For 3 or 4 weeks. Can't wait!!

    Leslie, it really does make cooking faster and I've happily changed to doing it that way. The concept of slicing the meat thin was completely foreign to me. I was entranced watching the butcher.

    I sent you an email about cookware the other day. Did you get it?

  4. So nice to hear from you, Barb. I missed your voice on the blog in recent weeks, but figured you must be pretty busy these days. I haven't bought meat to cook in Merida yet (it's become my vacation from kitchen duties) but now I am inspired to try out your thin-sliced chicken. Hope to see you in the fall if our travel schedules overlap.

  5. Debbie, thanks for your kind words. I completely understand your desire for a vacation from kitchen duties. :-) But when you try the thin-sliced meat, you won't be disappointed. It cooks so darned fast that meal making isn't the chore that it is up here. I'm hoping our schedules overlap, too.

  6. I'm not sure the thinner slices have anything to do with the tropics. I live in high, cool, central Mexico, and they slice it the same up here too. Same for beef. My theory on this is that it simply is less expensive.

  7. Felipe, I think your high, cool México still isn't as cold as our frozen north. *smile* Still, it's a good point. Thinner slices means the same amount of meat can be stretched farther.


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