Fuds and meeting

November 4, 2012 • 7:28 am

Yesterday I wrote a bit about Michael Shermer’s talk, and later in the afternoon there were talks by Marcelino Cereijido, a Mexican doctor who made a biting attack on religion (using much profanity, which flummoxed the simultaneous translators a bit!), and by Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

But first, there was lunch (or dinner; it was at 3:30 and Mexicans eat lunch late). Four of us, including a couple who had driven 12 hours from Monterrey to come to the meeting (l. and r. below) and a Spanish biologist working in Mexico (center), repaired to a well known restaurant, the Cafe Tacuba. It’s a very old place, and one of the comments on TripAdvisor says “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had their wedding party here.” I can’t verify that quickly, but maybe it’s true.

One is greeted on entry by a tempting array of Mexican desserts (I was too full to eat any after the meal):

We started off with an appetizer of tortilla chips, tomatoes, avocado and nopales (cactus pad):

Upon advice of the Mexican woman in our group. I had chicken enchiladas en mole (the restaurant is famous for its mole, which is a complex sauce made from chiles, chocolate, and many spices). It was superb: the best mole I’ve ever had—dark, rich, complex, and chocolate-y. If you think chocolate isn’t a fit ingredient for enchiladas (or turkey or chicken), you need to try it yourself. Moles are amazing: one of the gems of Mexican food.

One of my companions had enchiladas with mole made from pumpkin seeds, which was green:

The waitresses had cool hats:

Walking back, we encountered a Day of the Dead Parade, with many marchers dressed in ghoulish attire. I guess the ceremonies continue, though the official holiday was two days ago:

After “lunch,” Annie Laurie spoke about the FFRF and its activities, and brought us up to date on a lot of their litigation, including the odious Texas cheerleader episode, in which the cheerleaders at a public high school held up banners at a game praising Jesus. That’s illegal, but the state (defending the right to flaunt Bible verses at public schools) won the first round. FFRF is appealing, of course.

Here’s Annie Laurie speaking. She is friendly and soft spoken, but her words are pure confrontational atheism. It was great (sorry that the photo is dark):

Today the sponsors of the atheist meeting are taking us on a bit of a sightseeing tour, complete with foods and ending up with on my my favorite combinations, chocolate y churros.

I still have two days left here, and big plans to see as much as I can. This is a wonderful, vibrant city.

Many thanks to the energetic young people who organized the Second Annual Mexican Atheist Meeting.

36 thoughts on “Fuds and meeting

  1. One of these days, I’m going to find that winning lottery ticket laying on the sidewalk, and then I’ll be able to go to one of these exotic conferences….


    1. Agree! Their publication comes through the mail in a plain outer page of newsprint…I speculate that many issues never arrived at their designated address, prior to this configuration.

      FFRF publishes the hate mail verbatim as they receive it, as well as a section “Black Collar Crime” that aggregates the various (and abundant) crimes that religionists have committed. They also sponsor essay contests for students, who invariably write stirring and fascinating accounts.


      1. Their publication comes through the mail in a plain outer page of newsprint…I speculate that many issues never arrived at their designated address, prior to this configuration.

        Is this an allegation that delivery workers for the USPS routinely steal mail purely because of the content? Is it really that bad? I’d expect a small amount of mail loss (in the order of a couple of letters/ magazines a year per house) from normal inefficiencies, and cash always has a chance of going missing. But other than that, the posties that I’ve known simply don’t have time to go nosing through the mail. Plus, of course, it’s very illegal to interfere with the post, regardless of any possible acts of theft. Ditto for mail in the hallway of apartments blocks : “mine, not mine, not mine, mine” throw pile back onto the floor (or in civilised places, a hall table) and head off with your own mail.

    1. According to Spanish language wikipedia, it was Diego Rivera’s wedding to his first wife Guadalupe Marin which took place at the Café de Tacuba.

  2. JC said…

    I still have two days left here, and big plans to see as much as I can.

    Shouldn’t “see” be replaced by “eat”?

    Happy TUMSing!

    1. HEY! I’m gonna see a lot, too. Going to Pyramids tomorrow and then Frida Kahlo’s house, Trotsky’s house, Diego Rivera murals, etc.

      1. That’s an itinerary to envy.

        Great picture of moles. I have a friend, a cheffy type, who takes tourists to Oaxaca for Mexican cooking classes, which she teaches. She’s a superb cook, but refuses to make mole. Says it’s expensive, complicated and difficult to make well, and nobody likes the authentic stuff. Bummer.

        1. Just an amateur cook myself, but I have made Oaxacan mole negro a few times. Not sure about expensive, but it sure is rather complicated, 20-30 main ingredients depending on the recipe. The hard part is actually finding the right chiles (chilhuacle negro) and real Oaxaca chocolate. But it is worth the effort, try to convince your friend to make it! You might want to offer to help with the grinding and roasting of the ingredients, which is most of the work.

          1. I once weeded her garden in conjunction with the offer to be the kitchen devil. She said she’d make the mole. But then she didn’t. I fell off the curb wheeling the weed barrels out to the street, sprained my ankle but good (it’s never been the same) and she didn’t make the mole. This is why I don’t believe in God.

      2. By Las Piramides I assume you mean Teotihuacán? If so, excellent choice, it is probably the most spectacular archaeological site in the Americas. Chances are you’ll probably be seeing New Age-type tourists “channeling energy” or whatever they think they’re doing on top of the Sun Pyramid.

  3. It’s impossible for me to say anything specifically positive about Annie Laurie Gaylor as she is perfect. 🙂 I do agree with your assessment though: “She is friendly and soft spoken, but her words are pure confrontational atheism.”

    Her superb presentation filmed at the Center for Inquiry’s 2012 Women in Secularism Conference is on YouTube. All her books are good, but Women Without Superstition: No Gods — No Masters is especially well done.

    I see her historical focus on feminism as indispensable in keeping alive something so many would like to see go away as being a focus no longer needed. The words, no matter how annoying to some, that is, feminist and sexism, are important to underscore from where we came and where we can go. It’s called continuity and solidarity, and no one does it quite like Gaylor.

  4. The food looks wonderful. I’d be bothered for choice with those desserts!

    Tucson’s All Souls Procession is tonight. I’ll be wearing/carrying my collection of handmade cat masks.

    1. After following WEIT for more than a year now, I am quite convinced that Dr Coyne is really an undercover Food Editor for some magazine somewhere. The food dishes always look suspiciously elegant.

  5. If you go to Oaxaca, you can enjoy six (or is it seven?) different kinds of mole of various colors. Only one contains chocolate.

    Interestingly, there are two disparate etymologies for the very word “mole”. One relates it to the Spanish word for milling, while the other connects it to an Aztec word. (One gathers that mole was known to the Aztecs.)

    1. Yes, Oaxacan mole is the best! I seem to recall that “officially” there are seven moles in Oaxaca (with endless variants of each), mirroring the seven main cultural regions of the state. These are mole negro, rojo, coloradito, verde, amarillo, chichilo, and manchamanteles. I believe both coloradito and the mole negro have Oaxacan chocolate in them, and maybe also chichilo. If anybody wants to embark on a gastronomical trip to Mexico, Oaxaca is the place to go.

      1. I’m in the Phoenix metropolitan area and despite countless Mexican eateries it’s next to impossible to find Mole (unless it goes by other variations and names). The first time I had it, one a chocolate and the other Pipian Rojo version, was at a Chillies & Chocolate festival at the local Botanical Gardens. It was excellent. Their sauce is not overbearing and pungent the way Indian and Thai curries can be. The Mole aromas and flavors were complex, true, but exhibited a restraint and sophistry. Ever since I’ve used an online vendor occasionally http://www.manoymetate.com but it’s pricey.
        I’m exquisitely intrigued by Oaxaca. Entomophagy makes most recoil (including me to an extent) but this is purely cultural. Oaxacans consume grasshoppers without blinking but are weirded out by shrimp. I certainly do hope to indulge in both excellent Oaxacan Mole and grasshoppers one day, possibly as a single dish.
        P.S. Grasshoppers are in the same phylum as shrimp (arthropods, I believe) but are superior nutritionally. Grasshoppers are also cleaner posing fewer risks of pathogen vectors that may cross-infect humans compared with most other animals we typically consume.

        1. I have eaten chapulines (grasshoppers) many times in Oaxaca, and they’re actually rather nice and have an interesting crunchy texture. They’re good sprinkled on a salad for example, and really excellent on melted or grilled cheese. Entomophagy is definitely something that should be more accepted in the US and Europe, harvesting grasshoppers is sure to be more sustainable and likely healthier in the long term than raising cattle in feedlots, for example.

  6. A talk “by Marcelino Cereijido, a Mexican doctor who made a biting attack on religion (using much profanity,”

    I wish I had been there; I would have loved the profanity part. Profanity has it uses.

  7. “including the odious Texas cheerleader episode, in which the cheerleaders at a public high school held up banners at a game praising Jesus. That’s illegal”

    Did you not write about free speech recently? Yet you hate (“odious”) schoolgirls’ praising Jesus?

    This is pathetic.

    1. Context matters. The cheerleaders were not praising Jesus on their own as individuals, but doing so as cheerleaders representing their public school during a school event.

      You should already understand the importance of this distinction. So I’m surprised.

    2. What is pathetic is when someone intentionally distorts straightforward English sentences. The adjective “odious” clearly describes the episode, not the girls.

    3. Claiming to have gods on your side during any conflict is the most extreme arrogance imaginable, to do it for a sporting contest is indefensible.

    4. Yes, the episode is what’s odious, not the cheerleaders.

      And really, calling the host “pathetic” because of your own double misinterpretation? (The other misconception that this is an issue of free speech. It isn’t; it’s an issue of separation of church and state since the cheerleaders were acting as school representatives.)

      You really do need to be somewhere else.

  8. It was an honor to meet you and have dinner with you and totally was worth the driving. I’m glad that you liked our suggestions.

    1. That’s Elibeth in the picture at the top (right). It was great meeting you guys, too, and thanks for the restaurant tip!

      Hasta la proxima.

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