Recession rations

Debating at lunch how long it would be before we’re all eating grass soup (sopa de golf on the costas), we progressed to the devil’s cookbook, and someone mentioned the 16th century colonial chronicler, Bernardino de Sahagún.

Back when Bernardino was booking the cooks Mictlan was where dead Aztecs lived–way up north, probably in New Jersey:

In Mictlan, Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecaciuhatl (the gods of death) eat feet, hands, and a fetid beetle stew. Their gruel is pus; they drink it from skulls.

One who used to eat tamales a great deal, eats what is full of a foul smell there in Mictlan; the tamales are full of a foul smell of fetid beetles.

He who on earth ate a stew of black beans eats hearts in Mictlan.

And all the poisonous herbs are eaten there, and everyone who goes to Mictlan, everyone eats prickly poppies. Everything that is not eaten here on earth is eaten there in Mictlan, and it is said that nothing else is eaten, that there is great want in Mictlan.

(de Sahagún trans Sullivan, ed Nicholson, Primeros memoriales: paleography of Nahuatl text and English translation)

The late Martin Booth in his marvellous Gweilo: memories of a Hong Kong childhood ate beetle stew. I can’t help wondering if was actually betelnut stew, but whatever: those were the good old days, folks. Look back in hunger.

(Next Primera Sueca outing November 9: Día Onomástico de S. Pacharán, sloe collection and maceration kickoff)

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