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A Detroit Opera Celebrates Frida Kahlo's Life And Cooking

28 February 2015

The life of Frida Kahlo seems tailor-made for an opera: pain, love, art, travel and revolution. So the Michigan Opera Theater's decision to mount a production of the opera Frida, opening Mar. 7 in Detroit — where the iconic painter lived with her husband, Diego Rivera, for nearly a year, and where she survived a miscarriage that marked a turning point in her art — isn't so surprising.

But here's something that is: The opera is celebrating not only Kahlo's art and life, but her recipes and cooking, too.

Kahlo's passion for food was evident in her many lush, still lifes of fruit. But she was also known for her raucous dinner parties in Mexico City, replete with pulque, mescal, mole and tamales.

Kahlo served dishes she had mostly learned from Rivera's previous (second) wife, Guadalupe Marin. The meals were so central to the household that Kahlo's step-daughter, Guadalupe Rivera, published a book in 1994 with Clarkson Potter of family recipes called Frida's Fiestas. The book uses the meals to frame a memoir of time she spent living with Kahlo and Rivera as a college student (check out the link below for more info about the book)

And that was enough to spark an idea at the opera: Why not celebrate the production — and Kahlo — with Detroit's best Mexican chefs preparing special menus of the artist's most beloved dishes?

The opera partnered with three leading chefs in the city's Mexican enclave, Mexicantown, where Kahlo is rumored to have done her grocery shopping. Indeed, by the time Kahlo and Diego were in Detroit in 1932, the neighborhood housed groceries and shops stocked with dried chiles, fresh tortillas and piloncillo sugar.

One of those chefs is Israel Rocha of La Terraza, famous for its shellfish dishes. Drawing largely on Marin-Rivera's book, Rocha will focus in his special Frida opera menu on seafood and a rich posole stew with hominy and dried chiles.

Luis Garza of El Asador and Norberto Garita of El Barzón, the other two chefs involved with the Frida opera project, will meanwhile be serving moles: pork in yellow mole; mole negro Oaxaqueño, a chile and chocolate-based sauce traditionally served with turkey; and mole poblano, a reputed favorite of Diego Rivera. Other dishes will include an oyster soup served at Kahlo and Rivera's wedding; red snapper veracruzana with olives and capers; and chiles en nogadas stuffed with cheese or picadillo, a ground meat, nut and fruit filling.

taken from NPR website


Check out here the website dedicated to Rodriguez's opera and the interesting section dedicated to videos.