The word “mole” doesn’t translate into “infinity,” but it feels like it should. The blurring, interlocking, continent-hopping ingredients reflect all of the cultures that have collided to form what Mexico is: the indigenous people who occupied the land first, the European invaders who forced their way in, immigrants from the Middle East and Asia. Often carelessly reduced to simply a sauce, “mole” is, in fact, a word used to unite a complex congregation of sauces — so many varieties with so many ingredients in so many household interpretations across Mexico, that it’s hard to know how to count them all. “In the kitchen, there is no recipe,” says Edgar Nuñez, the chef at Sud 777 in Mexico City. “It’s more a heart thing than theoretical.” Studying mole is like studying the universe: The quest goes on and on.
From “Mole in Mexico” by Jeff Gordinier for The New York Times Magazine, 2017; Photo by Kyoko Hamada