Next week, the best National Rugby League (NRL) players from New South Wales and Queensland will face each other in the first of three annual games to prove which state has the most powerful team. There is lots of news coverage and many people are preparing to attend the game either live, at some bar or home with some close friends.
Thinking about the game, besides figuring what kind of food I will serve that night (or maybe persuade Mr. Richard to go to a bar and spare the pain), it came to my attention that this cup’s name also makes me think about my own Mexican state of origin: Distrito Federal (DF).
DF as a cultural, political and economic centre
Mexico City lies in the Federal District or DF, something similar to what Canberra is for A.C.T. After the Mexican revolution finished around the 1920’s, my city started an incredibly fast population and economic growth. Its great development was many times contrasted to the lack of such in other country’s provinces, which led to a bit of jealousy. By the time I was born at the beginning of the 1980’s DF was a cultural, financial and economic centre, contrasted by a large food and water dependency on the rest of the country. It made us DF citizens a bit undesirable for the other states and they criticised our food dependency and the constant rush of the city by alleging our city had nothing
original to offer to Mexico’s rich gastronomy. When you visit places such as Yucatan, Oaxaca or Puebla, along with many other destinations, you discover Mexico’s big variety in flavours, customs and different ways of thinking, cooking and the great ingredients each place is proud of. Moreover, DF has its own way of looking at food, fast sometimes but never dull. Ever since the Aztecs established here, Mexico City has historically been the Country’s centre both economically and culturally and food is just the best example of it. We receive and adopt dishes from other places and then, make them our own. Also, we cook with local ingredients such as cactus (nopal) and rabbits. In fact Milpa Alta one of DF’s areas, is the main producer of our beloved “nopal”, contributing with 30% of all national crops.
Nowadays the jealousy from other parts of Mexico is no longer there and we enjoy each other’s traditions. Even some of Chilangos’ (that is the colloquial name given to people from Mexico City)“funny” eating habits have been adopted in other places such as having a fried egg on top of rice with a nice hot salsa.
Gastronomy of origin
DF’s gastronomy has two clear angles: top cuisine and street food. Being both rich in flavours and textures, the choice depends on each person’s mood and pocket. Currently the city is a beehive of restaurants and street food, where 22 million people eat, so it is a big challenge and opportunity at the same time, for chefs and cooks to make a name for themselves.
If you are a real foodie, DF is your perfect destination. You can taste the highest, most sophisticated, delicious dishes, dessertsand drinks anybody can imagine. Furthermore around the corner, there will always be an honest, simple food stand with tacos, quesadillas, pambazos, or gorditas that will sweep you off your feet.