cuisine photography

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Whenever Esteban Castillo visited his grandparents in Colima, Mexico, he’d sit by his grandfather’s taco stand and watch him cook. He’d also see his grandmother carry her homemade cheeses on her back and go door to door, selling them in different neighborhoods. To this day, his grandparents still make a living off of food.

“They basically transform their living room into a restaurant during the weekends to make ends meet,” says Castillo.

Castillo grew up in Santa Ana, Calif., where more than 75 percent of the population is Latino. He says Mexican food was the foundation of his childhood. So when he started to see popular food blogs present recipes as traditional Mexican dishes when they were anything but, it got him riled up — and motivated him to mesh his love for design, cooking and culture.

And, so, Chicano Eats was born. It’s a bicultural and bilingual food blog where Castillo shares traditional and fusion Mexican recipes — presented with a stunning visual sensibility.

PHOTOS: ‘Chicano Eats’ Food Blog Dishes Up Bicultural Flavors

Photos: Esteban Castillo

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Chicorium intybus, Asteraceae

Common chicory is a well known plant with a long, recorded tradition: the earliest written mention of its medicinal uses was found in what is known as the Ebers papyrus, an Egyptian herbalism treaty dating back to c.1550 BC. This perennial species, native to Europe and widely naturalised elsewhere, is edible and appreciated for the bitter taste of its leave, which should be picked before the flowering season. I tried the wild form when growing up in Italy, where it is part of the culinary tradition, and found it somewhat similar to dandelion leaves (Taraxacum officinale, member of the same family) which I used to gather often with my grandparents. My granny used to mention chicory root coffee too, but I never got to try that. Cultivated varieties developed from the XVII century, such as radicchio, endive and catalogna, are probably more familiar as you might be able to find them in stores, they are all quite common in Italy.

As for the medicinal uses, it has traditionally been used as a tonic and laxative, as a vermifuge (to get rid of internal parasites, effective for livestock too, it is also excellent fodder) and to treat jaundice and gout.

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