A Mexican Feast to Celebrate Frida for Food ‘n Flix

It’s been a bit of a Frida-fest here lately.   During August and September, I (along with the Food ‘n Flix and Cook the Books members) delved into the life of Frida Kahlo.

Frida collage

For the August/September round for CtB, I am hosting The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F.G. Haghenbeck.   (You can see my Mexican breakfast post for the novel here.) For the September FnF feature, I am hosting Frida.

If you new to either club, membership is open to anyone.  For more information on these events, you can check out these posts:

frida movie

Often when a “non-food-themed” film is selected for Food ‘n Flix, I (and I imagine others) get a little peeved trying to identify all the food.   Frida is definitely not a “food-themed” film although food does make a lot of appearances…along with a lot of tequila.

I rewatched the movie (for the fourth time) with notes in hand.  Then I went to my copy of Frida:  Bringing Frida Kahlo’s Life and Art to Film.   Besides a forward by Hayden Herrera (a Frida biographer on whose work the film was based), and introductions by Julie Taymor (the director) and star Salma Hayek, this book includes an illustrated screenplay.   I cross-walked my notes with the script and this is the best I could do.  I used Frida’s Fiestas by Guadalupe Rivera (Diego’s daughter) and Marie-Pierre Colle to fill in any blanks.  The following list is in order of appearance:

  • Lupe throws Diego’s lunch basket up at him.   The screenplay is no help, but I recall seeing what looked like an exploding head of iceberg lettuce.
  • Cristina unpacks groceries after a trip to the market (while also distracting her mother so Alejandro can make an escape).   I saw squash, a tomato, cantaloupe, bananas, tomatillos, a soup tureen, and a colander of greens.  Matilde then announces lunch is ready and carries a large jug of a reddish drink to the table.  I imagine this might be Jamaica Flower Water (from Frida’s Fiestas).
  • kitchenOranges spill across the floor of the bus during the catastrophic accident scene.
  • Matilde and Guillermo discussing how to pay for the mounting medical bills over coffee and shortbreads.
  • Frida taking and winning the tequila-swigging bet at Tina’s party.
  • At the market:  Diego with melons and Kahlo with cojones (gourd).
  • The wedding feast:  According to Frida’s Fiestas, there was Oyster Soup, White Rice with Plantains, Huauzontles in Green Chile Sauce, Chiles Stuffed with Cheese, Black Mole from Oaxaca, Red Hominy Stew from Jalisco, and Flan.   I definitely thought I spotted Chiles en Nogada on one of the tables in the film.   Kahlo is also holding what looks like a piece of wedding cake during Tina’s “inspirational” wedding toast.
  • weddingLunch the morning after the wedding:  The screenplay just says “Diego sits at the table eating a big lunch.”  Frida exclaims, “What a wonderful mole!”  I see tortillas and beans as well.
  • Lupe teaches Frida how to make Diego’s favorite mole.  As she cooks, she also tells the story of making “Sopa Azteca” to get back at Diego.
  • Frida is now the one delivering lunch to Deigo at his studio, telling him to “Eat your pozole while it’s hot.”
  • Frida is waiting for Diego to return to lunch in the Chapingo Chapel.   She has laid out a beautiful table and I swear I see Chiles en Nogada again.  
  • Diego and Frida have a night out at a pulqueria where more tequila is downed before a bar fight erupts.
  • Diego eats Chinese food from a take-out container on scaffolding at Rockefeller Center.
  • Frida has breakfast at a diner with young woman (who was obviously one of Diego’s lovers as well). They share bacon and eggs and spiked coffee.  Frida stabs at a cinnamon bun.   (The screen play states the young woman “maybe Georgia O’Keeffe”?!?!?!)
  • In their Barbizon Hotel suite, Diego asks, “What the hell is this?” as he stares at a plate of “diet food.”  I might have asked the same thing.  Although it was nicely plated, I swear this looked like a plate of rice ringed with raw carrot coins and topped with bananas and grapes.  Diego goes on to state that he will just get “Abbie Rockefeller to bring my breakfast over from 21…”
  • Frida and Cristina sit at the kitchen table as Frida returns home to her dying mother.   They share coffee and there is another plate of shortbread on the table.
  • Diego rummages for food in their tenement apartment.  He is slicing salami and cheese and there are apples as well.
  • Frida and Cristina shuck corn in the courtyard of the San Angel house.
  • shucking-cornDía de los Muertos finds Frida at her mother’s grave.  She has adorned it with a large sugar skull, a platter of rice, tortillas, and pan de muerto.
  • Diego and Frida welcome Trotsky to the Blue House with a Mexican feast.  I see a salad with peppers and onions, rice and plantains, sliced avocados, salad, and perhaps roasted pork.
  • On their tour to Teotihuacán, they pass fields of agave.
  • Frida is now treating Leon Trotsky to hand delivered lunches.  The screen play says she “enters with a tray of tea and sandwiches.”   In the film, there is definitely a bottle of beer on the tray.
  • As Frida and Diego sat in a darkened and almost deserted market, he tells her he wants a divorce. There are stacks of sugared fritters on the bar.
  • On the Canals of Xochimilco, “Frida and Deigo float slowly through the canal, pushed along by a man with a pole…In other boats, boys and girls pelt each other with roses and marigolds in a festival ritual.”  I took this to be their second marriage celebration.  The boats are also laden with food.
  • As her agony increases and death nears, she hurls food at Diego in the dining room of the Blue House.

Now if you found no food inspiration from the film proper, you could also look to the many still lifes Frida did of indigenous fruit of the region.

I originally had this scheduled to post on September 16, Mexican Independence Day, but I didn’t have everything ready.   Here is the menu for our belated fiesta  feast to honor all things Frida:

Enchiladas Tapatias

Green Rice

Seasoned Black Beans

Jamaica Flower Water



Enchiladas Tapatias
slightly adapted  from Frida’s Fiesta

1 batch of red sauce
corn tortillas
1 rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded
1 c. sour cream
1/2 lb. crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a small skillet and quickly dip tortilla in hot oil and then in red sauce.   Fill with chicken and roll up.  Arrange in pan. Top with more sauce, then with sour cream.  Sprinkle on crumbled cheese

Bake in oven until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned, 20-30 minutes.


Green Rice
slightly adapted from Frida’s Fiestas

1 c. rice
2 T. bacon fat (0r lard or 3 T. canola oil)
1/4 c. freshly roasted green chiles, seeded, deveined and chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 3/4  c. chicken broth
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime

Soak the rice in very hot water for 15 minutes.   Drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain very well.  Set aside.

Puree the chopped chiles in a blender.  Set aside.

Saute rice in hot grease or oil for a minute.   Add the onion and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly so rice does not burn.  Add pureed chiles and continue to cook until thickened.  Add the broth, cilantro, lime juice and salt to taste.   When the liquid comes to a boil, cover and lower heat, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.



Seasoned Black Beans
adapted from Frijoles Negros Cuban Black Beans

1 T. bacon fat (or olive oil)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1  c. red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 large cloves of  garlic, minced
1 t. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t.  ground coriander
1 T. dark brown sugar
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 cans black beans, partially drained
1/4 c. chicken broth
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat bacon fat over medium heat.  Add onions and peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

Add garlic and cook 1-2 additional minutes.   Add oregano, coriander, brown sugar and  vinegar. Cook for 2-3 minutes until vinegar has evaporated.  Add chicken broth and black beans.  Simmer 5 mintues.

Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.



Jamaica Flower Water
based on recipe from Frida’s Fiestas

1 1/2 c. dried hibiscus flowers
4 c. boiling water
12 c. cold water
2-4 T. honey

Place hibiscus flowers in a heat proof pitcher and pour four cups boiling water on top.   Let sit for ten minutes.  Pour mixture through a sieve and drain.  Discard flowers.   Combine with cold water and honey.  Stir.  May add more sweetener if desired.



I also had grandiose ideas about photographing this entire meal with a Día de los Muertos theme.  As you can see, that didn’t happen either.



You still have time to join Food ‘n Flix for this round!

How to participate in Food ‘n Flix:

  1. Watch the chosen film:   Frida.  Taking inspiration from the film, head into the kitchen and cook or bake or make something.
  2. Post about it on your blog with a link back to THIS post and a link to Food ‘n Flix.  Use of the logo is optional.
  3. Your post must be current (during month of film).  And, we don’t mind if your post is linked to other events…the more the merrier.
  4. Have fun with it!
  5. Email your entries to me (Debra) at eliotseats@gmail.com and include.  Please also CC Heather at heather@foodnflixclub.com.

~Your name
~Your blog’s name and URL
~The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you’re submitting
~Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to “pull” one from your post)
~Indicate “Food ‘n Flix Submission” in the subject line

Deadline for submissions is September 30, 2016 (by the end of the day, wherever you are).

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