Fingers in Pies Podcast – Episode 2 – Lily Ramirez Foran on Mexican Food and Day of the Dead

I was in Dublin last week and, as I always do, I popped in to Picado Mexican to see Lily Ramirez Foran. Except this time I was armed with my microphone and laptop to record my podcast. We had a great chat about Lily’s life in food and favourite dishes. Her family were third generation tortilla makers but Lily rejected a life in food for a career, only to turn this around to a career in food when she moved to Ireland to be with her husband Alan. Lily is now the Irish authority on Mexican food, and I am delighted to share our chat with you. 

We talked everything from Mexico to Japan (where she met Alan) to Ireland. And of course we talk about Day of the Dead, Mexican Breakfast, Mezcal and Tequila among many other things. 

(Irish folks – you will notice that I temporarily mangle the Calvita and Galtee cheese boxes in my head – before you tell me :) ). 

Enjoy and I would be so grateful if you took a few minutes to review it on iTunes – thanks!

Fingers in Pies Season 1 Episode 2 – Lily Ramirez Foran – Excerpt

I’ve been living in Ireland for 18 years. I will soon be living here longer than I ever lived in Mexico which is a very scary thought. I always think that I don’t come from a food background and I don’t know why. This is so bizarre because I would have been a fourth generation tortilla baker like my great grandfather, my grandfather and my father. Almost everybody in my family makes tortillas for a living. I grew up helping in the business. So I suppose if you want to define Mexico about one particular or one singular dish you’ll always have to say tortillas because it’s like our bread and the basics for almost everything we eat.

I knew straight away the minute I started cooking my life changed completely. When you are a little girl you’re standing there with your Mammy and your Granny and they’re cooking and you’re helping. I always had an interest but I also wanted to be a career woman. I was very lucky that my Dad was not a very traditional Dad. He didn’t expect me to marry young and have tons of children. He wanted us to go out and explore the world. I’m very grateful for that because a lot of my peers didn’t have that choice. I did. I was like cooking is for losers. I just went as far away from the kitchen as I could. And then I moved to Ireland and I was like, Mother of God, I just need Mexican food and I wasn’t going to get it.

Day of the Dead

Every year it gets more important to get together as a family. Everybody comes to the house and they make a 10 level an altar. There’s photos of everybody. You know there’s a little bit of tears and everything but it just gets the family together. You know a lot of people in very traditional areas in Mexico they do all of this in the cemetery. They bring all the food and they decorate the graves. They cover them with simple petals and flowers. That’s very traditional for central Mexico.

In a lot of places they cover the whole grave with these and they put photos and candles, loads of candles and there’s a lot of symbolic things that you put around it. They do all this in the graveyards which is amazing. It’s an it’s a all nighter so you you get there on the on the first in the afternoon and then it’s party all night and then all day there’s music and food. So people eat the [Day of the Dead] bread that they brought towards the end. You know you’re not going to waste it.

Fingers in Pies Food and Cooking Podcast is available on iPhone/iPad, Android and Spotify. You can also listen to it on the player below.

More about Lily

Lily’s blog (and terrific recipe archive):

Picado Mexican:

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Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.