One of my pals loves Mexican food and culture so much that she decorated her kitchen with chili peppers and often suggested we catch up over margaritas and Mexican cuisine.
Before she and her husband moved away from Roanoke, I always looked forward to their annual Cinco de Mayo potluck, which fell on or about the date that is the holiday’s namesake, May 5.
We visited, we drank homemade margaritas and we gorged on the huge spread, which ranged from authentic (fresh pico de gallo, enchiladas, tostadas) to decidedly inauthentic but still-so-good (jalapeno poppers, queso dip made with Velveeta, chocolate-banana “dessert burritos”).
I never thought to ask the hosts if they knew the history behind this Mexican holiday, or whether anyone else at the party knew. I was certainly ignorant myself.
Because Cinco de Mayo falls exactly one week from today, I set out to educate myself. I started with an oldie but goodie, the Encyclopedia Britannica (a 1987 edition, but 19th-century Mexican history hasn’t really changed since then), then talked to Enrique Lamadrid, chairman of the department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico.
What I learned left me thoroughly surprised.
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See recipes for Chiles en Nogada and Pozole by clicking here.
Moses Nucamendi of Alejandro’s Mexican Grill also recommended a recipe for Tinga Poblana, or shredded pork Puebla Style. To see that recipe, click here. In fact, this entire site, “Mexico in my Kitchen,” features wonderful recipes accompanied by beautiful photos. If you love Mexican food, check out several of their entries.
Finally, check out this recipe for a savory Mexican sandwich called Pambazos, which was also recommended by Moses.