Rich Zamudio just handed me a bowl of pozole. Dear man.
Rewind about 25 minutes. There we were in the lunchroom, heating up our respective lunches. Mine, spaghetti. His? Well, it looked good, smelled good and I'm nosy like that, so I asked for a peek. Pozole!
Rich, a designer in Features, is, as they say, a good egg. He's one of those who just goes about their business, calmly churning it out amid the daily drama. More importantly, he is a superb cook. For our holiday office potluck, he made chicken fajitas, the tender, pulled chicken so pure in flavor and more satisfying than anything else on that table.
So, back to his pozole. Rich makes it with pork spine and hominy. He drives out of his way to get the meat at a little market called La Altena, 8827 S. Escanaba. He simmers the pork for a couple hours, flavors it with a puree of chiles cooked down. The hominy, rinsed -- he likes the Bush's brand -- goes in last. (Funny -- I'd had a random discussion with my editor about three hours earlier about hominy.)
If I was salivating, I didn't mean to be, honest. But then, two seconds after getting back to our desks, Rich walks over with a bowl of the pozole and two fried corn tortillas. A few moments later, he walks back over with half a tiny lime and a salt packet. Squeeze that and sprinkle this over the pozole, he says. Oh, yeah.
More than the pozole itself -- which was luscious, as I've come to expect -- I love that this was Rich's lunch. That he shared it. That he takes the time to cook.
What a good Monday.