May 12, 2009 - Posted by Erin in Traditions

Never has it been more apparent to me the lack of real purpose for Cinco de Mayo other than the simple joy of Mexican food, beverages and decor. It always seemed like reason enough – and yet, somehow comes across rather unconvincingly when trying explain to the Spaniards. Conversations go something like this:

Spaniard: So it’s Mexican Independence Day that you’re celebrating?
Me: Not exactly, I don’t think so. I mean, I think some people think it’s that, but it’s not.
Spaniard: So what is then?
Me: Umm, I think maybe it has some historical meaning, but I guess we don’t really care, we just use it as an excuse to drink and eat Mexican food. Andele andele, arriba arriba!?

Yeah, that whole ignorant American thing – why do they think that??? Given that Spain is a culture of food and drink though, I think we managed to convert folks to Cinco de Mayo celebrators after our night of fajitas and margaritas.

I was somewhat weary about heading to the grocery store to try to find such Mexican fiesta classics as Jose Cuervo tequilla (much less the margarita mix), tortillas, salsa, or for my lazy American self, pre-shredded cheese for quesadillas. After years now (which amazes me) of trying to find various exotic ingredients (and often not so exotic) at the Spanish grocery store, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to never finding exactly what I need. But wow, was I in for a surprise – the grocery store was full of each ultra Mexican item I was looking for! I even found Jose Cuervo marg mix with the tequilla already in it! Salsa, chips, even mexican nuts and nacho cheese! Jacob and I went to town on the purchases. I also managed to score some awesome sombreros and Mexican style mustaches at a costume store. Although, I am afraid that piñatas and chili pepper xmas lights might be harder to come by….but next year, next year.

About 15 people participated in the festivities – our friend Tito even brought a playlist full of Mexican ranchero songs. It was perfectly awesome. Jacob made beans (he’s way more Mexican than I thought – they were bona fide frijoles) and rice, Heather did the guac and I managed the meat and quesadillas. Mix in all the burrito/fajita fixings that you can think of (oh yeah, and Coronas, or Coronitas as they are called in Spain) and you’ve got yourself as Cinco de Mayo-ish of a fiesta as we could have hoped for.

As Jacob said, he was all geared up (and had to be) for Seis de Mayo festivities as well, given the abundance of leftovers. I think we still have a bucket of frijoles in the fridge. I realize now that I’ve become ultra American since coming to Spain – introducing them to Thanksgiving, Easter and now our bizarrely Mexican yet somehow American holiday. Next, I think it’s pretty much required that we do some sort of Fourth of July BBQ or something. Given Spain’s fond affection for fireworks, I don’t think we’ll have any problem on that front.

I am now on Vashon Island – my favorite place on earth, hands down. I am listening to the waves crash in on the beach of my grandma’s house (usually, the waves wouldn’t crash here since she lives in a bay, but it’s crazy windy). I even got to see my cousins’ six day old daughter today. My life is too fulfilling for words!

More to come soon when I have a free moment to catch up and something to talk about ;).


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