I named this special, reserve batch of hot sauce in honor of the struggle to preserve and evolve a society based on the inclusion and nesting of many worldviews against the onslaught of monoculture. During the time I made this sauce, the teachers in Oaxaca lead the fight to preserved the traditional ways of life in their communities. Oaxaca is home to some 15 ethnic groups each with their own language, one of the most concentrated lands of linguistic diversity left in the world.
I spent some time in Oaxaca city with the artists of ASARO, a band of grafiteros and pintores radicales that covered the walls of this colonial city with their radical, poignant and hilarious artwork when the maestras of Oaxaca went lead an uprising and resistance in 2006 that lead to an extended battle in the streets with armed government forces. The uprising lead to the removal of the state's governor. I got fascinated and read Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca and other books on the people's movement(s) of southern Mexico. I studied the artwork of my new friends while walking the streets with them to understand a little about what makes Oaxaca such a unique place that stands for independence in its education and way of being.
This mountainous land holds a special place in my heart, and the artists of ASARO merit honor and praise for their inspired and insightful and brilliant work. Flames burn in the streets of Oaxaca again this year as some municipalities lack food while the government marches its soldiers into the region firing bullets. You can read more by following the links below.
My librarian friend at the University of New Mexico Suzanne Schadl has done a lot to archive the art of ASARO and helped put together this amazing collection of essays and images about the art and cultural context in Oaxaca. Buy from PM Press.
The smoky, earthy and exquisite Pasilla de Oaxaca Chiles intoxicated me. I bought a pound and kept them safe for the inspiration to ripen. I knew I would make a sauce that featured all the complexity and subtlety of the chile. The Pasilla de Oaxaca is smoked and traditionally used in moles. I added Black Lava Sea Salt from Hawaii. This sea salt is infused with activated charcoal, which helps pull toxins out of the body, in addition to giving us all the trace minerals found in this rich salt. For the vinegar, I pulled out a carefully guarded stowaway. Last year, I gave my friend a pretty penny for a 1/2 gallon of his Cherry Vinegar. Francisco, artisan and owner of Tucan Gourmet Vinegars, hails from Costa Rica and makes vinagres increíbles using an array of fruits. A batch may take a year or two to ferment, age and madurar. I bought the last of his supply, so it may be years before I get this vinegar again, if I ever do. Its a little sweetness and the fruit flavors pull through the dense smoke of the pasilla sauce. To bring the heat up to where I wanted it, I finished the sauce with ghost chiles.
In of honor of the beauty of the people of Oaxaca I named my sauce La Insurrección de Oaxaca