A Mexican Grandmother Finds the Right Recipe for Culinary Stardom ~ NYT

Through her YouTube videos, Doña Ángela has become among the most watched and beloved cooks in the crowded market of online food shows. But what explains her widespread popularity?

A middle-aged man and an older woman appear in a mirror below a flat-screen television set with the image of an older woman in an apron with her hands clasped in front of her, posing with ingredients for a cooking demonstration.
Bradley Coss and his mother, Cruz Ortiz, watch Doña Ángela’s YouTube cooking videos from their home in El Paso. “You can see in my mom the genuine joy it brings her to watch those videos.” Mr. Coss said.Credit…Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times

By Eduardo Medina

March 30, 2023

With a small stack of handmade tortillas at her side, a shy Mexican grandmother in a purple apron looked at the camera and introduced herself to the world.

“I’m going to present to you this recipe,” Doña Ángela, or Mrs. Ángela, says in her first YouTube video, from August 2019, speaking Spanish in a dulcet tone that creaks slightly like a sturdy barn door. “I hope you like it.”

Millions of people did. And they have adored her ever since.

Mrs. Ángela, whose full name is Ángela Garfias Vázquez, has quickly become one of the most watched and beloved cooks in the extremely crowded market of online food shows. The roughly five- to 10-minute videos are recorded at her ranch in Michoacan, Mexico, by her daughter, who tracks her dicing of onions and grinding of corn with a phone camera.

Mrs. Ángela’s channel, “De Mi Rancho a Tu Cocina,” which means “from my ranch to your kitchen,” has more than 437 million views.

That is more views than Martha Stewart’s channel (roughly 172 million) and the NYT Cooking channel (about 72 million) combined. She has nearly overtaken the Food Network’s YouTube page, which has about 590 million views and hosts several big names in food entertainment.

What explains Mrs. Ángela’s popularity?

“The kind of rural space that Doña Ángela represents is not as visible in food media,” said Ignacio Sánchez Prado, a professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, who specializes in Mexican culture. “And I think she hit a nerve with that.”

Many fans and Mexican cuisine experts believe the appeal lies in her grandmotherly aura, which particularly enchants people of Latin American descent who see their abuelas, or grandmothers, in Mrs. Ángela: her shirts flecked with flowers, the dark spots on her hands and a mysterious ability to handle burning-hot tortillas without flinching.

“It’s so layered,” said Tiffany Holz of Bettendorf, Iowa, a longtime fan of Mrs. Ángela’s whose grandmother is from Mexico. “Just every ingredient, every article she uses. It’s all these little revelations of memories coming back to you.”

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‘It’s a weird duo, but it works for them,’ said Jennifer Federico, director of animal services at the Wake County Animal Center. ‘Who are we to judge? They obviously love each other.’

Cinnamon and Felix enjoy a nap together. (Wake County Animal Center)

The staff at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, N.C., had a dilemma when a goat named Cinnamon and a dog named Felix showed up together on their doorstep.

The shelter takes in thousands of dogs and cats each year, and generally doesn’t accept farm animals.

But Cinnamon and Felix seemed affectionate toward one another, said Jennifer Federico, director of animal services.

“That was a first,” said Federico, who has worked at the shelter for 12 years. “Most of our dogs aren’t hanging out with goats.”

Federico said she has seen some unusual animals brought in to the shelter. Chickens and a bearded dragon come to mind. But a pet goat with an American bulldog mix?

She made an exception and welcomed them in on March 13. When staffers separated them and put them each in their own enclosure, things did not go well.

“Cinnamon was very upset — she was bleating and calling out to the dog,” Federico said. “She was so stressed and frantic that we realized this pair had to be kept together.


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Federico figured the shelter would have the pair for a few days while the owner of the goat and the dog, who lived with them in a residential neighborhood in Raleigh, was hospitalized. The owner did not have anyone who could care for them, according to an animal control officer who dropped them at the shelter, Federico said.

That didn’t go as planned, either.

“After 10 days, we gave the owner notice that it was time to come and get them, but he unfortunately never came in,” she said. “When that happens, the ownership reverts to us.”

At that point, the bonded pair had already won over the staff at the shelter.

“Cinnamon follows Felix everywhere and it was clear they were raised together,” Federico said. “You don’t even need to put a leash on the goat — she’ll simply go where Felix goes. When she became upset, we knew they had to stay in the same holding pen.”

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climate change


An emaciated polar bear staggers on the search for food. The photograph, taken in 2017, received widespread attention, sparking a conversation around climate change.

Taken in August 2017, showed a starving polar bear. After being published in National Geographic, the photo and accompanying video went viral, shared on social media and by news organizations worldwide. It sparked a global conversation on climate change, provoking responses ranging from concern and empathy to climate denial. But there was no denying that it shook the world: “People still remember it and have strong reactions when they see it,” Mittermeier reflects.


The bodies of six giraffes lie on the outskirts of Eyrib village in Sabuli wildlife conservancy, Kenya, in 2021. A prolonged drought in the northeast of the country and the wider Horn of Africa has created food and water shortages for both animals and local communities.

The bodies of six giraffes lie on the outskirts of Eyrib village in Sabuli wildlife conservancy, Kenya, in 2021. A prolonged drought in the northeast of the country and the wider Horn of Africa has created food and water shortages for both animals and local communities. Ed Ram/Getty Images

“They show that climate change isn’t just happening somewhere else, it’s happening everywhere,” says Mittermeier. “All of a sudden, it will come knocking a lot closer to your own door.”


Polar bears move into an abandoned weather station in Kolyuchin, Russia. The majestic mammals are at particular risk from climate change, which is melting the Arctic sea ice that they depend on.

Polar bears move into an abandoned weather station in Kolyuchin, Russia. The majestic mammals are at particular risk from climate change, which is melting the Arctic sea ice that they depend on. 

Mittermeier and Nicklen also selected images where humans and nature collide. One effect of climate change is a dramatic loss of biodiversity. Since 1970, wildlife populations have plummeted by 69%, due predominantly to land-use change that has fragmented crucial habitats, and also rising temperatures, which have led to mass mortality events, according to the WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Report

With the Arctic warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the globe, the ice that polar bears depend on is melting away. Dmitry Kokh’s photograph “House of Bears,” one of the winners of the 2022 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, shows polar bears roaming an abandoned Soviet settlement on Kolyuchin Island. While the buildings had long been deserted, Mittermeier believes it points to the increasing problem of polar bears – with no ice left to hunt on – encroaching on human spaces and encountering local people, leading to tragic outcomes for both sides.

Pema Chödrön quote



Excerpted from:
The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness
by Pema Chödrön,
Page 14
March 29, 2023 
The Innocent Mistake
The innocent mistake that keeps us caught in our own particular style of ignorance, unkindness, and shut-downness is that we are never encouraged to see clearly what is, with gentleness. Instead, there’s a kind of basic misunderstanding that we should try to be better than we already are, that we should try to improve ourselves, that we should try to get away from painful things, and that if we could just learn how to get away from the painful things, then we would be happy. That is the innocent, naïve misunderstanding that we all share, which keeps us unhappy.




Hokusai’s Great Wave

“I have been in love with painting ever since I became conscious of it at the age of six.  I drew some pictures I thought fairly good when I was fifty, but really nothing I did before the age of seventy was of any value at all.  At seventy-three I have at least caught every aspect of nature–birds, fish, animals, insects, trees, grasses, all.  When I am eighty I shall have developed still further and I will really master the secrets of art at ninety.  when I reach a hundred my work will be truly sublime and my final goal will be attained around the age of one hundred and ten, when every line and dot I draw will be imbued with life.”

Rare print of Hokusai’s ‘Great Wave’ sets new auction record


rare print of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” one of art history’s most iconic images, fetched a record $2.76 million at a Christie’s auction in New York on Tuesday. 

The 14.6-inch-wide artwork is now the most expensive piece by Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai ever to go under the hammer, the auction house said.

Created in the early 1830s, the “Great Wave” depicts three fishing boats battling raging seas in what is today Japan’s Chiba Prefecture. It is part of a genre known as “Ukiyo-e” that saw artists mass-produce works on paper using woodblock printing. 

Related video: The artisans keeping Japan’s woodblock print tradition alive

Experts are uncertain of how many copies of the “Great Wave” were initially produced, though there would have once been several thousand of them. The prints were not always as sought-after as they are today, however, and only a fraction are thought to have survived.

Blogging for the British Museum, which owns three original copies of the “Great Wave,” researcher Capucine Korenberg wrote in 2020 that printmakers “would have produced prints until the woodblocks literally wore out,” adding that this may mean as many as 8,000 were made. However, Korenberg said she had only been able to find photographic evidence of 111 different versions. 

Why the ‘Great Wave’ has mystified art lovers for generations 

Korenberg added that prints of the “Great Wave” were inexpensive at the time, and would once have cost the same “as about two helpings of noodles in the mid-19th century.”

Part of Hokusai’s famous “Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji” series, the “Great Wave” is now among the world’s most widely reproduced images, appearing on posters, mugs, shirts and fridge magnets.

Other copies auctioned by Christie’s in recent years have ranged in price from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1.5 million. The one sold on Tuesday is described in the auction house’s catalog as a “well-preserved” early print that ranks “beyond doubt among the 20 or so best impressions surviving today,” though Christie’s had initial estimated bids between $500,000 and $700,000. 

Hokusai's "Koishikawa yuki no ashita (Snowy morning at Koishikawa)" also appeared at the auction, selling for over $30,000.

Hokusai’s “Koishikawa yuki no ashita (Snowy morning at Koishikawa)” also appeared at the auction, selling for over $30,000.Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE’S

Listed under its full name “Kanagawa oki nami ura (Under the well of the Great Wave off Kanagawa),” the item was acquired by the previous owner’s family in the early 1900s and was once exhibited at the Glyptotek art museum in Copenhagen. 

The record sale was part of a major auction of Japanese and Korean art that saw almost 200 artworks and antiquities fetch a combined $11.4 million. 

The “Great Wave” print was among more than 10 works attributed to Hokusai that appeared in the sale. Also among them were prints depicting a waterwheel and a snowy landscape, both from his “Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji” series, that sold for $37,800 and just over $30,000, respectively. 

The biggest sale of the day, however, was achieved by an 18th-century Korean “moon jar” — a white porcelain vessel made by joining two hemispherical halves — that sold for over $4.5 million.