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Reporters on the Job

Campaign Cuisine: More than a year ago, during one of the first political rallies she attended in Mexico, staff writer Danna Harman was struck by the noshing and dining going on around her. "The crowd was impassioned. And, yes, they were angry, and, yes, they wanted justice. But why should this stop anyone from eating? And I'm not talking about cotton candy or ice cream for the kids. Everyone had small helpings of beans, rice, pork, chicken, Oaxaca cheese, and tortillas, all smothered in lime and chili sauce," she recalls.

Fast forward to her coverage of the Mexican elections and today's story about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leftist candidate topping the polls. Danna arrives in the pretty colonial-style city of Queretaro. "I got to the main square before the candidate. People were looking surprisingly unexcited about Obrador's arrival. But then I realized that people were sad because Mexico had just lost against Portugal in a World Cup match," she says.

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"I took out my notebook, got out my pen, and as any dutiful journalist would, I got set to ask some questions of the folks gathered. But first, I needed some sliced mango with lime juice and salt, and some garbanzo beans with more lime juice and salt.

"Ten minutes later," she says, "balancing my cup of mango, my bag of beans, a glass of pineapple juice, and my notebook, interviewing someone with my mouth full (which wasn't really rude because the interviewee's mouth was full, too), I realized that I had, in a small way, become more Mexican."

David Clark Scott
World editor