Hola, dear friends! Today many Americans of Hispanic heritage commemorate the victory of a small, ill-equipped Mexican army over a much larger and more sophisticated French militia at the Battle of Puebla. The Batalla de Puebla took place on May 5, 1862. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day (that being September 16, 1821). It is not widely celebrated in Mexico but is a regional holiday limited to the state of Puebla.
The Darling Bakers are also celebrating Cinco de Mayo today! Here’s how the holiday came to be: Napoleon III was determined to collect a loan and expand his empire. His troops landed near the coast of Veracruz and proceeded to march towards Mexico City. Abraham Lincoln, sympathetic to the Mexican cause, could offer no assistance because he was involved in his own war, the American Civil War. In Puebla, General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin and his small militia were able to stop and defeat the French. It was a sweet victory for a troubled country.
But that was not the end of the French! Napoleon sent 30,000 (yes, thirty thousand!) more troops who eventually took over Mexico City. His cousin, Archduke Maximillian of Austria became the ruler. After the American Civil War, Lincoln provided more military assistance and Maximillian was executed in 1867. That, in a nutshell is the story behind CDM.
That’s Linda Landeros in the picture above. Landeros is a dance instructor and performer with many dance companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. The colors in her dress express the spirit and vitality of the Mexican people. In the US, particularly in the border states, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with music, folklore dancing, art and of course food!
One of my favorite Mexican foods is grilled corn with a chili lime sauce. I first came across it outside a local Hispanic grocery store called Fiesta. The aroma of roasted corn wafted through the parking lot, leading me to a mobile kitchen where the vendor was slicing the kernels off the cob and into a styrofoam cup. He topped it off with a delicious, spicy and creamy sauce. My daughter and I just can’t resist this kind of street food!
Quesedillas are also a favorite. These are filled with crabmeat, roasted poblano pepper, roasted sweet red pepper, avocado, caramelized red onion, corn, cilantro, chili powder and Monterrey jack cheese. I served them with my Cilantro Crema – sour cream, lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro.
This is how I like my cerveza: ice cold and in an ‘O’ with lime. Believe it or not, that’s the entire 12oz. bottle in there!
Lime suspended in a golden brew:
Mangos flameados comes from Diana Kennedy’s classic book The Cuisines of Mexico. It’s a Mexican take on Bananas Foster crossed with crepes Suzette! I served it with vanilla ice cream. Mmmm….
These Mexican Nutella cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee. You can serve them plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar.
I leave you with a bite! Adios!