Maru Toledo is a renowned Mexican researcher, academic and cook dedicated to saving and promoting the culinary traditions and methods that are in danger of being lost in the Mexican State of Jalisco. Leading a team of culinary researchers known as “Mujeres del Maíz” (Women of the Corn), Maru Toledo seeks to save the preHispanic cooking methods and customs from her home state from being lost to the sands of time.
In 2010, Mexico’s cuisine was added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, highlighting the cultural significance of Mexican recipes, culinary traditions, and food preparation as well as agricultural production. However, for many, Mexican cuisine is most recognized by the culinary traditions of Puebla, the Yucatan and Oaxaca, leading some to claim that Jalisco doesn’t have its own distinctive cuisine. Maru Toledo’s specialization in the culinary traditions of Jalisco is precisely for this reason, to revive the traditions of Jalisco that have been neglected and document the distinct culinary customs and flavors that can be found in the region.
Archaeology and Gastronomy
For the past 18 years, Maru Toledo has spent her time researching and documenting Jalisco’s cuisine with the precision of an archaeologist, the curiosity of a historian and the passion of a chef. Not only does she research and document the gastronomic oral traditions but she puts these recipes into practice, cooking her findings.
Mujeres del Maiz
To aid her mission, Maru Toledo founded the group, “Mujeres del Maiz” (Women of the Corn), which collects and documents recipes, culinary experiences and flavors from the kitchens throughout Jalisco, particularly the rural areas. The name of the group was chosen because of the noble principles represented by corn and how the women who are invited to participate in the group demonstrate similar principals and are familiar with the complete corn cycle from start to finish: planting, watering, harvesting, preparing, storing and cooking.
Nevertheless, despite looking to the past to save the culinary traditions of Jalisco, Maru Toledo is firmly rooted in the present, connected with the current trends in cooking and documenting the way these trends have changed.