Illustration by Rupert Bottenberg

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Reality Bites: On the Road in Mexico with Chuck Hughes (in enRoute, August 2012)

chuckRunning my hands over the smooth and
 nubbly turrets of green nopales, the cactus pads that Chuck Hughes is trying to de-needle on camera like an habitué, I follow along as he picks up the items on his grocery list: yerba santa, an aromatic that tastes like nutmeg and mint, and huitlacoche, bulbous black mushrooms that cling to old corncobs like rotting teeth from a witch’s gums (but are particularly delicious).

Hughes is filming Chuck’s Week Off in Mexico City, and I’m along for the ride. When he invited me into the heart of Mexico – the location of the show’s first season – I didn’t hesitate. But now, after the crew’s late night of fresh-lime margaritas and ceviche in Condesa, the 3 a.m. wakeup call for a shoot in Central de Abasto (the Distrito Federal’s massive food market) is a reality check. Watching the market wake up like a giant slumbering anthill, I realize it’s almost too early even for the farmers, as the hardworking diableros are only starting to bring in their teetering loads. Read article here.