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Mexican crema


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What Jeanette has is crema selecta, which may simply be a commercial designation of the manufacturer. However:

Cream is the fattest part of (in this case) cow's milk, the part that rises to the top when raw milk is allowed to sit undisturbed. If you are as old as I am, you might remember the milkman leaving glass bottles of milk at your back door; cream rose to the top of that milk and could be removed to make butter.

Okay, so Mexican cream is the same. Regular crema de mesa (table cream) is the part of raw cow's milk that has risen to the top of a vat of milk, is removed, and sold in the dairy case of your supermarket OR is sold in plastic cups at any popular market (at Lakeside, either in Chapala or Jocotepec) or tianguis. It may be made in a huge commercial milk processing plant like LaLa (on the way into GDL) or it may be made in a farmer's shed. It is also sold at any cremería--there is an excellent cremería in downtown Jocotepec as you are heading out to the road to GDL. I do not know of a cremería in Ajijic, but one of you may know one. A cremería will specialize in productos lácteos--milk products in general--as well as some odds and ends like cold soft drinks, chips, etc.

Crema de mesa is not coffee cream. It is more like sour cream than anything else, but it is NOT sour cream. It is raw cream that has been allowed to 'rest' for a day so that it becomes very, very lightly acidified. A little salt is added to it. It is sold as crema de mesa, crema del rancho, crema de la buena, crema especial, and several other names. It is supposed to be thicker than milk, thicker than half and half, and thicker than whipping cream (whipping cream has the highest butterfat content). It should be spoonably thick if refrigerated, somewhat thinner if you see it at room temperature. It should not be thin and runny.

If you haven't noticed already, pay attention to your cup of coffee: if you like it with cream, you will not find so-called coffee cream in Mexico. It is very rare to find half and half. I've seen it at SuperLake, and I have seen it infrequently at one or another Superama, but nowhere else. YMMV. If you ask your waiter for coffee cream, you will either get a powdered non-dairy coffee creamer, a small amount of milk, or a little pitcher of Clavel (Carnation evaporated milk). I personally prefer Clavel in my coffee; its body is most reminiscent of half and half.

Now, what in the world does Jeanette have? It is ordinary Mexican crema that has been allowed to 'rest' a little longer than usual, which means that it is a lot thicker than what you find in stores, markets, and tianguis as crema de mesa.

Some people have said to me, "Gosh, I asked you the name of a song and you told me how to build a radio!" But I hope this long post answers your questions.

Jeanette, if you are reading this, I would really like to know what brand cream you have so I can go take a look at it in my supermarket's dairy case. Thanks!

Lyncott is now making half and half. I picked up some at the dreaded Walmart last week. Previously it seems I only found it imported from Borden at Super Lake. I don't know how often or where it is available. I can remember a time about fifteen years ago when Lyncott whipping cream was scarce and now it is found all the time in most supers. Maybe that will happen with half and half or maybe they only sell it in ex-pat markets.

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Ours came with a foil cover over the cardboard cap. We played games with the caps. I used to watch my Mom struggle with the foil covers, trying to lift an edge with her long fingernails, until someone showed us how to grip the thing with your palm and twist it right off. This miracle of physics has only been matched by my (much later) discovery that your car dashboard always shows you which side your gas tank cover is on.

Wow, that's news. Goes along with discovering just a couple years ago that the flap you peel back to make the drinking hole on 'to go' cups lids on coffee pushes down onto the center spot and stays there...I had just been ripping the triangular tag off for all those years. Thanks!!

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I found out a couple of years back that on the dash display, the gauge that shows how much gas you have always shows a little gas tank icon. The side of that tank that shows a hose is the side of the car your tank cover is. Cool or what.

Had to go check this out! Doesn't work for our 97 Honda CR-V. The icon shows the hose on the right side but our tank cover is on the left side.

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I bought what I thought was regular Mexican crema, but when I opened it, I quickly realized I had purchased something somewhat different. This is marked "crema selecta" and is slightly yellowish, very thick (you can't pour it at all) and tastes a bit like sweet butter.

I can't use this stuff like crema - but is there anything else this is good for before I pitch it? Note: I don't bake.

What I love about this web board is the most interesting answers and information provided to what first seems like a simple question. Being retired, I now have time to read and contemplate; no better place some days than Chapala.com. Thanks to everyone for the invaluable lessons on crema. I now have a new task... find all of these varieties and try them out!


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