At least so says Lila Lomelí who is one of the great experts on Mexican food. That’s the answer to the question I posed last week about what regional Mexican foodstuff is in fact both recent and of Italian origin. Alex and Ji Young came close.
In the 60s and 70s she and her husband Arturo, the two of them pioneers in consumer awareness and protection, traveled from one end to another of Mexico investigating the food. Lila’s been a journalist for years. She’s also been one of the movers and shakers who has transformed the food scene in Mexico City, giving Mexican food a prominent place.
It is Lila’s firm belief, once volunteered and later confirmed in a second conversation, that it was an Italian dairy farmer who migrated to Oaxaca in the 1950s, who, with government encouragement taught Mexicans to make mozarella. Over the years this gradually transformed into what is now called queso or quesillo oaxaca. For those of you who don’t know this famous Mexican cheese, here’s a photo. I’ve unraveled the cheese a bit so you can see the texture.
This claim, it need hardly be said, it apt to produce apoplexy in those who hear it. All I can say, is Lila is someone I really trust and someone who would have no reason to make up such a story.