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Luz Maria Lopez was born in the small town of Morocoy, in the state of Quintana Roo on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after her parents moved there from Michoacán. Her mother was a prodigious cook, and Luz grew up learning the many traditional dishes of the region, including cochinita pibil, tamales de hoja de platano, and panuchos, as well as dishes from her mother’s home state of Michoacán in the west of Mexico. “Since I can remember, I was in the kitchen helping my mom cook, and I always enjoyed doing it, learning the techniques, from how to roll up a good tamal—messing up a lot on your first tries—to how to make a perfect handmade tortilla, and know the exact time to flip it and not be afraid of the hot comal.” Luz moved to Austin, Texas, in 2001 and Virginia the following year. She has lived in the Charlottesville area ever since, and is an active participant in the vibrant and growing Mexican community. Luz continues to cook the treasured recipes she learned from her mother, and she shares them with other members of her community. Never does an Easter go by when she is not cooking capirotada or tamales y atole for the Day of the Dead. “I have two beautiful daughters that love my food and I’m trying to teach them everything I know about our traditions. I’m really proud of who I am where I’m from.”
Luz enjoys sharing her culinary talents with others, regardless of their experience. Lessons will be tailored to the interests of the student, from the making of simple, delicious homemade tortillas and tamales to more elaborate Yucatan Style dishes such as barbacoa or cocina pibil.
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Most dishes will require ingredients that are easily purchased in your local grocery store. We can discuss particular ingredients before our lesson, and work with what we have! A working stove and oven, a positive attitude, a little patience, and a good appetite and we should be fine!
*TRAIN is a free service offered by the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, which receives no proceeds from instruction. Our mission is to connect artists directly with students, and all instructional arrangements and financial agreements are made exclusively between the artists and the students. The Virginia Folklife Program does not assume responsibility or liability for these arrangements.