As a preparation for the Investours virtual market (an upcoming website featuring reviews of the best places along the Riviera Nayarit), I decided to interview Investours client, bread maker, and cook Doña Alejandra. We talked one day and agreed to meet the next morning at 7am so that I could witness her entire bread making process- she had to prepare banana bread muffins for a man that was buying them to sell in his store.
|Doña Alejandra’s cooking setup in front of her house. Doesn’t it look like a cooking show!?
At 7am, there was still a dark blue morning light cast over Bucerias. My first thought while approaching the table she had set up in front of the giant adobe oven outside her house was that Doña Alejandra needs have her own cooking show. It was obvious that she was so excited I was filming her process and interviewing her about her product. She had all the ingredients measured and separated into bowls. Everything, including a grand basket of tropical fruits (definitely just for looks), was set on a beautiful traditional colorful Mexican tablecloth. Behind her on her oven she had fastened a “Pan de Platano” (banana bread) sign. She herself looked sharp, too. She wore a long white headband, a button down shirt under her apron, and had taped on a little name tag that said “Alex.” I was warmed by her excitement over this event.
She explained to me every detail of the process, adding in comments about her youth, her father, her family, and what makes her bread so special. If there’s one thing Doña Alejandra doesn’t lack, it’s confidence. She described to me the importance of using butter in the banana bread, instead of margarine or olive oil, as many other bakers do. She insists the usage of anything other than butter doesn’t yield as rich of a flavor.
She, along with many other locals of Nayarit, is doing what she knows- what she’s passionate about. It’s what keeps her going even when she has so little. She told me the story of how her passion for food and cooking started when she was a little girl. When her father abandoned her family to go work in the United States, her family was left with no money, and barely had anything to eat. Alejandra took on the job of cooking for the family, thinking that if she did the bulk of the work, she would in turn be rewarded with plenty of food. However, she recounted, she was almost always the last to eat- often having nothing to fill her stomach with. Yet this did at least open one door for her—the door to cooking.
Throughout the (many) struggles of her life, Alejandra has never left behind her love for cooking. She is the definition of a “luchadora”—a fighter—even now she hopes to one day open her own restaurant and share her passion with others.
|Alejandra with her banana bread
“I’m 52 years old,” she said, “no one wants to hire a 52 year old…but still, I’ll just have it my way, then. It is my dream to open my own restaurant.”
For now, Alejandra completes whatever order of food comes her way and oftentimes strolls the streets of Bucerias selling her bread. In my opinion, her bread is the best when tasted fresh and hot out of the oven—no one can deny bread that steams when you break it apart! That’s why it’s best to put in an order to her for her bread and pick it up fresh in the morning. Elly, the Country Director here at Investours in Mexico recommends her flan. If you’d like to watch her early morning bread making process, she’d be ecstatic—just let her know and she’ll tell you what time to drop by in the morning.
It’s so important to get off the beaten path and show support for local businesses that don’t have the resources or exposure to make them well known throughout the community. And even better, it’s sustainable! Let Doña Alejandra’s bread and cooking be that one product that you’re proud you discovered. Give her a call at 3228896407 (cell) or 3221896622 (home) and order whatever you like—every kind of bread, cakes, flans, aguas… she’ll even make a whole banquet! Let her be your go-to cook for any occasion.
Investours Summer Intern