Mexico is truly the land of corn. Corn was first domesticated in Mexico. All Mexican indigenous cultures worship corn deities. Corn and huitlacoche or cuitlacoche are everywhere. Yet, somehow I was able to survive a week in Mexico without a single allergic reaction. Here are my suggestions for visiting this fascinating country.

  1. You must either speak fluent Spanish or have local contacts willing to translate for you at every place you eat. Reading Spanish (or speaking French and/or Italian) is not enough to get by: kitchen staff generally speak only Spanish, few understand the concept of allergy, and, in small and/or rural restaurants, many are not very literate either.
  2. Corn is the most common cooking oil. (Sunflower and safflower oils come in at numbers 2 and 3, with lard a close fourth). Food stalls and small and/or rural restaurants are bad bets unless you can ascertain that they cook with lard. Higher-end restaurants will likely have olive oil and/or butter on hand.
  3. Bring safe snacks with you.

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