A Tasty Way to Travel

Cooking classes reveal a side of Mexico few tourists ever get to see

It was early on a sunny morning in southern Mexico that my family gathered in an outdoor kitchen, ready to convert a mountain of ingredients into a four-course feast. Sun-dried chili peppers, fresh nuts, chunk chocolate and a score of other ingredients were waiting to be blended into a spicy mole sauce. Crisp jicamas had been set aside for salad. The buds of Castilian roses would be transformed into ice cream. It was an ambitious menu--especially since none of us had any idea how to make those dishes. But that was the point. We had enrolled in a daylong cooking class during...

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