If there's one thing that most people know about me it's this: I love celebrating holidays. My absolute favorite is Halloween, closely followed by Christmas and Thanksgiving. As a Christian, Easter is very important to me. I also love all of the smaller holidays - Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Fourth of July, etc. Basically, if you give me any reason to eat special food, wear specific colors, and celebrate, I am all in.
As far as favorite holidays go, Cinco de Mayo is low on my list. In part because, let's be honest, it's not really my holiday. Americans have co-opted it as an excuse to drink margaritas and eat tacos, without usually knowing what the day represents. A friend on Facebook posted yesterday that this day is not about celebrating Mexican independence, as many Americans (myself included till her post), mistakenly think. Rather the 5th of May celebrates Mexico's victory in the Battle of Puebla which just so happened to be against the French! Well, how fun that we celebrated it in France this year! (She also mentioned that it became a party day in the States thanks to retailers in the southwest who used it as a marketing tool, or so the story goes.)
In the past, for me, celebrating Cinco de Mayo meant going to a Mexican restaurant for delicious food and some margaritas. (Except for that one year in grad school where we decided to go to a Mexican restaurant on St. Patrick's Day and then an Irish pub on Cinco de Mayo so we could avoid all the crowds.) Now it usually means whipping up some Mexican food at home and drinking water. Yay for adulting!
Since we have been abroad, finding Mexican food has actually been pretty difficult. We haven't come across many Mexican restaurants (though we don't eat out too often), and when we do find Mexican food in the grocery store it is expensive. Like, a tiny jar of salsa is $2-$3 expensive. At our local grocery store here in France, there was a tiny section that contained some Ortega products, but again, they were all out of our price range. However, I could buy everything I needed to make my own for decent prices!
So here was our menu for yesterday - Appetizer - homemade guacamole (avocadoes, tomatoes, lime juice, spices), Main - Walking Tacos (spiced meat, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes), Dessert - churros! I've been making homemade guacomole for years now so that was easy enough. The walking tacos were Joel's brilliant idea - tortilla chips were a lot cheaper than tortillas so it made sense. The sour cream was actually "fromage blanc" a close French substitute, and the cheese was shredded raclette (a French cheese) not queso fresco or cheddar like I would have preferred, but those were the only big substitutes we had to make.
I had never made churros before until this week, a video happened to pop up in my Facebook feed that made it look really easy! And it was! The ingredients are things I almost always have on hand - flour, sugar, butter, eggs, cinnamon - the only thing I was missing was vanilla so I just went without. I actually test made them on Wednesday since we were having company on Sunday and I didn't want to screw them up making them the first time for someone else. I didn't have a proper piping bag and metal bit to give them the right shape, but a ziploc bag with a corner cut off worked just as well. (You can find the recipe I used here. We topped ours with honey instead of chocolate sauce.)
Our friend Suzanne from Aubusson came over to celebrate with us, which was fun as she had never had walking tacos or churros before! Joel even made her walking taco in a chip bag while I cheated and ate mine out of a bowl. I was so busy having fun and enjoying our meal and conversation that I didn't really take any pictures of the day, but suffice to say it was quite enjoyable.
We are officially on our last few days in France - we leave to go back to the States on Thursday and will arrive in the States by Friday night! I am excited for a nice long visit back in the land of family, friends, and inexpensive Mexican food. Until then I'll be eating all these leftovers and counting down the hours!
Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo yesterday? What did you do to celebrate? What's your favorite kind of Mexican food? Have you ever tried making churros at home? If I can do it, anyone can!