Nestled in the heart of the Mexican state of Oaxaca is Rancho Aurora, home of the Seasons of My Heart cooking school and inn. Ten years ago, chef and owner Susana Trilling left New York City and a very successful catering business to follow what turned out to be her calling--to immerse herself in the foods, culture, and traditions of this remote and exotic region of Mexico and share her knowledge with the rest of the world. In this book and its companion PBS series, Susana shares her deep passion and anthropologic knowledge of this fascinating region whose cuisine remains virtually untouched by influences from the outside world. The pre-Hispanic and Spanish-influenced dishes, such as empanadas, nopales, quelites, and moles, are much more complex and delicious than the usual rice and beans found north of the border. Susana not only takes us on a fascinating journey through the city markets, mountain regions, coastal villages, and low-lying coffee and cacao plantations, she introduces us to the beautiful people who work and live there. Along the way, she shares traditional recipes from each region, with her own improvisations and improvements, showing us how to easily approach this rich and delicious food in a modern American kitchen. From Dona Josefa Sanchez's empanadas de betabel (beet empanadas), served to hungry shoppers at the Etla market in the Central Valleys, to the darkly luscious and mysterious Mole Negro Oaxaqueno (Oaxacan black mole) from the bustling heart of Oaxaca City, cooked up in quantity for the Día de los Muertos (day of the dead), to a tamale-making session given by the locally infamous Candida Blas Aguilar in the sleepy Isthmus region--this is truly a culinary journey through the heart and soul of Oaxaca.