How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the Right Way
04 May, 2018
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We don’t like generalizing but unfortunately others do, and people who often generalize are the ones who will be binging on Tequila, and going to Taco Bell on this date wearing a sombrero and a fake moustache. Please, don’t be that person and instead, read this article that could give you a few ideas for a nicer, more respectful and more fun Cinco de Mayo celebration.
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Cinco de Mayo is about Mexican culture and heritage as on this date in history, there was a battle in Puebla, Mexico where general Zaragoza led a group of Mexican soldiers to victory over the French Army that was twice their size and way better equipped. Henceforth, this is a celebration about freedom, unlikely victories and cultural appreciation, which means honoring Mexican culture, so you can leave the Mojitos and the Tex-Mex food for another day.
Shocker, right? For better or for worse not all Latinos are Mexican, and not every delicious dish or drink with a name in Spanish comes from Mexico. So, if you’re planning a Cinco de Mayo celebration keep in mind the following recommendations to ensure your party will be a success and your friend’s abuelita won’t feel bad for you being a total ignorant.
Let’s start with the drinks; if you’re thinking of mojitos and tequila sunrise, please stop. The Mexican menu of drinks is quite extensive, so feel free to expand your horizons beyond frozen Margaritas and Corona. Think of Mezcal and Rompope (a Mexican drink quite similar to eggnog) or try a Charro Negro, a Michelada or a non-alcoholic beverage like Horchata or Agua Fresca de Jamaica (Hibiscus flower).
When it comes to food, forget about Taco Bell, Doritos, hard-shell tacos and burritos; do some digging and prepare traditional Mexican recipes instead or go to an authentic Mexican eatery. The menu can include Mexican staples such as soft-shell tacos, tacos de harina (similar to burritos), authentic Mexican white cheese instead of cheddar, Chilaquiles instead of nachos, and Pico de Gallo instead of salsa.
If you want to be safe and become an expert at differentiating between Tex-Mex food and traditional Mexican dishes, try paying attention to the ingredients in the food as these vary depending from Tex-Mex to Mexican. For example, some key ingredients of Tex-Mex food include beef, yellow cheese (like cheddar), wheat flour, black beans, canned vegetables (especially tomatoes), wheat tortilla and cumin, not to mention that these meals can be prepared in a matter of minutes. On the contrary, traditional Mexican food revolves around an extensive array of ingredients, techniques and regional specificity; nevertheless, you can easily identify it by their use of pork meat, cilantro, lime, corn-based tortillas, fresh onion and tomatoes, a wide variety of white cheese and a broad range of regional ingredients.
For desert, you can go wild with fruit paletas, aka popsicles, flan or caramel custard, pastel 3 leches (3 milks cake), arroz con leche (rice pudding), cocada and churros.
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