Cinco de Mayo – Crookston Times

beyond reason by Rob Perez:

Cinco de Mayo is, for those with a limited knowledge of Spanish, just a date on the calendar. Do not worry. It is the only day of the year that is in Spanish. Cinco de Mayo means, try to stay with me here… May 5th. On this day, many Americans crowd into authentic Mexican restaurants in America. They will tell you that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. Don’t believe these people. They drank. Some are even drunk. Mexican Independence Day is September 16, which ironically begins at midnight on September 15. Never heard of it? It’s because you’re American, you live in the United States of America, and you don’t celebrate the independence of other countries from other countries. Unless they serve alcohol. So maybe you can make an exception.

In fact, Cinco de Mayo is actually a magnificent American tradition where Americans order huge margaritas from authentic Mexican restaurants to celebrate the Mexican victory in 1862 of the Battle of Puebla against the French army. Oh, it was a glorious battle. You should have seen those Mexicans. They rushed those fries back to France. For Mexico, it was muy bueno. Until the French came back and took Puebla, and occupied Mexico, with the same effort they put into a cassoulet. For Mexico, it was very sad.

Eventually, the French had to leave Mexico because it’s really hard to fight wars that take place in France when you’re in Mexico. It’s muy lejos. So the French left and Mexico became Mexican again. Everyone was muy contento.

Since then, Americans have been celebrating this inconsequential Mexican military victory in Puebla. Many say that Mexicans themselves do not celebrate the day. It’s wrong. I can tell you that the day is not only celebrated but, in many cases, revered, by all Mexican producers of spirits (tequila, mezcal, rum) and beer (Corona, Dos Equis, etc.) directed to the right old ‘US of A.

So now that we know exactly what Cinco de Mayo is (Americans drink Mexican drinks!), let’s celebrate all things Mexican.

Nachos

First there was the cheese. Then there were fries. But one dia magico in the story, in a US-Mexico border town, a guy named Ignacio put together chips… with cheese! They almost had him committed. Then Ignacio, his friends called him “Nacho”, melted this cheese! White people have gone crazy over this stuff. The Texans took over the dish, and Nacho — the dish, not the guy — migrated north. Fun Fact: In Mexico, you can’t find nachos outside of the resorts that serve Americans. Nobody knows why. So nachos are Mexican. But Mexicans don’t eat it. But the “it’s not your cheese” joke is American. Most likely.

Crispy Tacos

Or as my in-laws call them, “shells”. Crispy tacos, U-shaped things that are just big cornchips, while ubiquitous at Taco Bell, ARE NOT A THING IN MEXICO! There are plenty of fried tacos (flautas! gorditas!) in Mexico but none of them are shellfish, carago. I know Old El Paso calls them “shells”. Try ordering a seashell in Mexico. Try it. I dare you.

Taco Bell

This may fall into the stupidly obvious category but… Taco Bell is not Mexican. It is owned by a large American company named (ironically?) Yum! Brands, Inc. There are no Taco Bells in Mexico. Not one. And Taco Bell’s menu isn’t Mexican either. It might not even be food. I do not know. But it’s cheap. And open late. So there is this.

Mexican jumping beans

Mexican jumping beans are, indeed, Mexican. It’s right there in the name. But Mexican jumping beans aren’t beans. These are euphorbias, which are a kind of flowering plant, whatever that means. But it’s not a bean. I guess Mexican jumping spurge didn’t quite sound the same. So have them, amigo.

Margaritas

This cocktail is technically a sour drink but in reality, the margarita is unbearably sweet. A lesser man might have given up this drink for a loss. But no! Someone thought, I know what would make this drinkable. Coarse salt. If I take a bite of coarse salt before drinking the margarite, it’s better because I don’t notice the flavor so much.

Burritos

The American burrito, you may know, is a large, closed taco. It has to be big because otherwise it would be way too many tortillas. That way, since it’s so big, it’s not too much of a tortilla. It’s way too much food. But if you go to Mexico City and order a burrito, they’ll serve you a little donkey. Good luck with that.

Quick Tour: 1) Fajitas – Not Mexican. The fajitas are tex-mex, which is not mex. It’s Tex; 2) New Mexico – This state is not Mexican. New Mexico sounds good Mexican. But it’s not. These are the United States of America, which was once Mexican; 3) Antonio Banderas – Not Mexican. Spanish. 4) Penelope Cruz – Not Mexican. Spanish. 5) Javier Bardem – Not Mexican. Spanish. 6) Jennifer Lopez – Not Mexican. She is Transcendent/Puerto Rican; 7) The Three Amigos. Not Mexican. But Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short are at their silly best in this classic. 8) Spanish – Not Mexican. Mexicans speak Mexican. Okay, that’s not what it’s called. BUT… Spain The Spanish of Spain is different from Mexican Spanish. Do Americans speak the Queen’s English? They don’t. They speak American. American is a beautiful language too, but it’s not Spanish either.

So Cinco de Mayo is coming. Some say Cinco de Mayo is the greatest Mexican victory over the American people since the Alamo. And we all remember the Alamo. It was in San Antonio, at the Alamo, which is near the Alamodome, which is near the Riverwalk, which has so many authentic Mexican restaurants to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It will be a big party. Who knows? You can even see a Mexican there.

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