This episode begins and ends with some thoughts from Susi Noh Un, recorded when we were writing her bio for the Frutas y Verduras website. Susi was an integral part of Frutas y Verduras, as co-teacher of a class we called Corn to Comal, with Erin Gomez Danielson in Mérida. She was a vibrant woman, who loved sharing her knowledge about the foods of her Mayan culture, and the milpa where she had grown up.
Susi helped us bring to life our mission as foreigners and cooks in Mexico, to inspire others who have adopted Mexico as home, to learn about and adapt to the regional plant food as a window into the culture. We are grateful.
My life had always been with the Maya culture of the pueblo. Making homemade food, very natural, because we don’t use things that have a lot of preservatives…Susi Noh Un
Susi passed away on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, from complications of gall bladder surgery. Susi was only in her mid-late forties and had just begun to hit her stride teaching formally, when Covid ground our classes to a halt. In this episode, Margret speaks with Erin about the impact Susi had on her own learning, the connection she made with students who had the privilege of meeting her, and what will happen going forward. Her two daughters knew that she wanted them to continue her work, teaching others about the foods of their Mayan heritage, and Erin will be helping them carry her friend’s legacy into a new generation.
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Make a financial contribution
Erin will be helping Susi’s daughters move forward into their role as teachers. As they have a young brother who is 8, they will also be responsible for his care.
Your financial contributions will be put to good use, and greatly appreciated. Aside from their basic family costs, the goal is to ensure that Laura, if not both girls, can have English lessons in order to share their knowledge with tourists as well as the growing population of English-speakers living in Merida.
If you are in the position to offer skills or a service that might support the business – such as social media, video, business/financial guidance etc – and would like to offer your help, please reach out to Erin Gomez Danielson via the Manos en la Masa Facebook page linked to below, or on Instagram @casamisteriomerida
Manos en la Masa – Mérida
As Susi’s daughters Laura and Lilia continue their mother’s work, updates will be posted on the Manos en la Masa Facebook page HERE.
Here in Yucatan…a woman from my pueblo said to me that she doesn’t know how to make pipian. “Do you know?” (she asked me) … i imagine Mexicans now, not everyone… they want to return to tradition but they want it the quick and easy way.Susi Noh Un
Pepita Albondigas – “meat” balls
This recipe uses small squash seeds called pepita chica, or pepita menuda, which have a thinner fibrous ‘shell’ than your typical pumpkin seed. You could try drying the seeds of Kabocha or Buttercup squash if you’re not in Yucatán. Susi was very specific in describing to warm them, just until a few start to expand, before grinding them. Do not toast them. The preparation of the balls requires a considerable amount of patience to squeeze the ground seeds into balls, so that the oil and the woody seeds become unified.
The PDF also includes instruction for preparing fresh masa from dried corn using the nixtamalization process, which Susi would say makes the only acceptable tortillas!
Pepita image credit: https://www.mayas.uady.mx/exposiciones/exp_0444.html