Steve Sando is the founder of Rancho Gordo and the co-author of the Heirloom Beans cookbook.
What was the food highlight of your year?
Eating flor de maguey at El Cardenal in Mexico City. These are those big tree-like flowers that come out of the century plants, announcing their death. Who knew you could eat them? Or that they’d be such a delicious vegetable?
What was the music highlight of your year?
Lila Downs came to Napa and put on a great show. You just want to make loud noises come out of your mouth and sound as pretty as hers. Mine don’t. At all.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
I was at a barbacoa in Hidalgo, where they cook lamb in a pit and cover it with maguey leaves and it cooks overnight. They serve the meat with homemade tortillas (from corn the same guys grow) and there was a Huastecan musical group called Trio Renovacion and they were as sweet as the meat! I love when such a macho culture lets its guard down. When they sing they can’t wait to hit falsetto notes and make everyone cry. Tears mixed with lamb is really great.