When publisher, HarperCollins knocked on her door, little did Susanna Palazuelos dream the cookbook she co-authored would become one of the world’s most comprehensive traditional Mexican cookbook.
Author, chef and entrepreneur, Susanna Palazuelos was born into cooking. She credits her culinary lineage to her great granduncle who compiled the first Mexican cookbook: The Cuisine from Puebla. Written in the 1800s, it featured 2,000 recipes. “In those days, saffron was used a lot. Recipes were very Spanish. However, not all recipes have chillies in them”, she jovially explains. “Mexican food is a blend of Spanish cuisine with native food like avocados, pineapples, peanuts and chillies. Not all Mexican food is spicy. Perhaps, 40 or 50% have chillies in them. Mexican food is more than beans, mole (sauces) and rice.”
Lessons from Markets to Bestselling Cookbook
Palazuelos’s interest in cooking began at a young age. Her father sent her to boarding school in San Antonio, Texas at age 11, and later to hotel school in Glion, Switzerland. Craving for home-cooked meals, she started her Mexican food recipe collection.
At 23, she married and moved to Puebla, Mexico’s gourmet capital. As a stay-at-home-mom, her daily chores involve family meal preparation, and shopping for fresh produce at local markets. Those routine market errands soon evolved into study excursions. Market vendors taught her how to use local ingredients. She also joined the local cooking circle.
Opportunity beckoned when HarperCollins asked her to co-author Mexico: The Beautiful Cookbook. Well-written and brilliantly illustrated, this cookbook epitomizes the rich and fascinating food of Mexico in one impressive volume. Translated into six languages, the book sold over a million copies. It highlights each region’s history, cuisine and unique recipes handed down orally through generations. This bestseller will entertain and inform any food connoisseur or history buff.
The Spanish language cookbook introduces treasured recipes gathered from Mexican families. “There is a story behind every recipe. I learned so much from all the people who shared their recipes. I am amazed at the wonderful food they produce with the ingredients they have,” says the culinary doyenne. Her latest cookbook: Mis Menus Favoritos showcases 33 of Susanna Palazeulos’s favorite menus.
Guerrero Award and Culinary Delights
The “Julia Child” of Mexico, her many talents and exceptional services have garnered her over 50 recognitions and awards. This includes the prestigious National Tourism Award for her outstanding work on tourism in Guerrero.
The State of Guerrero lies on southwestern Mexico. It was named after Vicente Guerrero, one of Mexico’s revolutionary leaders. The capital is Chilpancingo de los Bravo. Guerrero coastline hugs the Pacific Ocean. The lush tropical lowland and temperate highland blesses the State with breath-taking sceneries and plethora of fresh ingredients from the land and sea.
Guerrero’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the local indigenous culture. Popular traditional dishes include Huaxmole, a dish of pork ribs cooked in chili sauce with guaje seeds – and Pozole, a pork stew made with hominy (dried white corn) epazote herb, ground pumpkin seeds and tomatillos. A great seafood dish is the Huachinago pescado a la talla (grilled snapper).
Adventurous foodies may enjoy Chapulines– toasted grasshoppers with lemon juice, garlic and sal de gusano (a seasoning made from salt, chili and worms). Gusano (worms) is a delicacy sold in fresh and dried form in local Mexican markets.
Acapulco is Guerrero’s premier travel attraction. Its endless miles of sun-drenched beaches, luxurious resorts and fabulous restaurants attracts visitors from around the globe. In the 60s it was the playground for the “rich and famous”. For Susanna Palazuelos, Acapulco is home.
The Man Behind Her Success
Her father was instrumental in contributing to her success. A cultured man with a big heart, he inspired, mentored and believed in her abilities. The Culinary Ambassador of Guerrero has not only cooked for Queen Elizabeth II, but also the King of Malaysia, several Mexican Presidents and a host of international jetsetters. Through her renowned catering company, Banquet Palazuelos, she has organized many successful and memorable parties.
With great enthusiasm, she remarks, “The most rewarding part of my work is pleasing people and the ability to create something unique, magical, beautiful and perfect — so every guest would dine well, enjoy the ambience and leave with happy memories.”
Giving Back To Community
Through her business, Palazeulos hopes to continue creating employment for the local community, contribute to regional highway development and support the underprivileged. She is actively involved in leadership roles with the Mexican Red Cross.
This September 24 to 27, Susanna Palazuelos will be showcasing her artistry at the Wine & Food Festival in Mexico City, Mexico. For more event information, click on GlobalEAT events.
Recipes by Susanna Palazeulos
Agua De Jamaica – Mexican Jamaica Flower Water
Capirotada – Mexican Syrup-Coated Bread Pudding
Ceviche – Marinated Fish
Creame De Aguacate – Mexican Cream of Avocado Soup
Ensalada De Nopalitos Y Jicama – Cactus and Jicama Salad
Huachinango A La Talla – Mexican Grilled Red Snapper