Usually vendors in Mexico sell huitlacoche (a corn fungus, obvs) in plastic bags, having already plucked the plump nuggets off the corncob. I bought this from an old woman outside Metro San Cosme, in the Colonia San Rafael. She had huitlacoche, nopal and a few bunches of herbs spread out on the sidewalk. Everything came from Toluca.
Fresh huitlacoche is a rare find in the United States, by the way. According to the cookbook Tacos, which I just stumbled on in Google Books (otherwise, I would not normally read a taco cookbook, because tacos are not dishes in themselves, they are a way to eat something) the U.S. government requires a special permit to grow huitlacoche, since it’s a fungus and the spores are disseminated through the air. Heaven forbid too much American corn becomes contaminated — how would we fulfill our corn syrup needs?
Unfortunately I won’t know what corncob-attached huitlacoche tastes like. I’m leaving town tomorrow for two weeks and won’t be home for most of today. Yesterday I gave my spooky huitlacoche to Lola, so she could enjoy it. She said she planned to make “unos ricos tacos.”
Who is Mija?
Mija is Lesley Téllez, a food writer and culinary guide in New York City. I spent four years in Mexico's Distrito Federal, which launched my deep love for Mexican food and culture. In 2010 I co-founded the tourism company Eat Mexico.
Be kind, ask permission!All photos on this site were taken by me, unless otherwise noted. If you'd like to use a photo, please email me.
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