Food Friday: Cinco de Mayo!

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How nice that Cinco de Mayo is on the weekend this year. It is going to be a balmy Saturday, when we can throw open the windows and admire all the new weeds growing in the vegetable garden. Still, weeds are better than hungry bunnies.

For your edification, Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration of the victory of Mexico over France in 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. It is not their Independence Day. There is much food, for which we are truly happy. Here is a quick, informative video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJmlUljRWDw

Bon Appétit is quick to point out that there are many recipes for Mexican foods which are not tacos, but I am sure you can enjoy as many tacos as you wish. Because we are all about food, travel and celebrations. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/21-recipes-for-mexican-foods-that-aren-t-tacos-to-celebrate-cinco-de-mayo

There will be no mariachi bands marching through our house on Cinco de Mayo, but there will be tacos, and maybe some good Mexican beer. And I have to confess that I came to the taco party late. When I was growing up our spices were limited to Christmas nutmeg, cinnamon for cinnamon toast, black pepper and baking powder. Garlic was an exotic commodity. Red pepper was on the tables at Italian restaurants. I doubt if my mother was acquainted with cumin. We never had Mexican food. My mother’s idea of adventurous ethnic cooking was preparing corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day. And so my indoctrination came from my peers, as do so many seminal youthful experiences

The first tacos I had were at my friend Sheila’s older sister’s place. Margo was sophisticated and so grown up. We adored her and the string of characters who wandered through her tiny beach house. She made tacos regularly, and we mooched often. I learned how to shred the cheese and the lettuce and chop the onions that went on top of the taco meat, which we browned in a frying pan and then covered with a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix and a cup of water. I thought it couldn’t get any better than that.

Sheila and I graduated to platters of nachos and tacos at the Viva Zapata restaurant. (I think we were actually more attracted to the cheap pitchers of sangria, which we drank, sitting outside in dappled shade under leafy trees, enjoying languid summer vacations.) And then we wandered into Mama Vicky’s Old Acapulco Restaurant, with its dodgy sanitation, and her exquisitely flaming jalapeños on the lard-infused refried beans. Ah, youth.

A more sophisticated approach might be following these ideas from World Food and Wine: https://world-food-and-wine.com/cinco-de-mayo-food

With winter barely behind us, let’s get ready for summer, with these ears of corn. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/3-ingredient-grilled-mexican-street-corn-elote

The good folks at Food52, never at a loss for recipes and great ideas, has a page of fantastic drinks, salsas, and guacs: https://food52.com/collections/407031-cinco-de-mayo

We will carve up the season’s first watermelon so we can enjoy the sweet goodness of Merrill Stubbs’ Watermelon Paloma. Yumsters. https://food52.com/recipes/23479-watermelon-paloma

Enjoy yourself. May is truly here.

“It’s spring fever…. You don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
– Mark Twain

About Jean Sanders

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