What’s the Celebration About?
May 5 commemorates a battle fought in Puebla betwixt Mexico and the French in 1862. The Mexican were greatly outnumbered and outgunned, but managed a victory nonetheless. The event symbolizes resistance and perseverance in the face of conflict and hardship. These days it offers an excuse to cook up a few tacos.
Battle of the Taco
Tacos are messy. Drippy, squishy, crowded. You never know what’s going to fall out of your taco and that’s part of the adventure. Fortunately, it’s socially acceptable to lick your fingers after doing battle with an overloaded taco. The taco shell (tortilla) is there to act as fork, chopsticks, bun, or napkin, as needed.
A Bite of Happiness
The Middle School Taco
I was surprised when I read a New York Times’ recipe entitled Middle School Tacos! The writer was trying to take us back to the simple, unadulterated taco. A time when the Mexican delicacy came swaddled in a tortilla shell and stuffed with seasoned meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato with a jolt of hot sauce. You know, the crispy-shelled ones that your mother made or your school cafeteria dished up on Taco Tuesday. Nothing fancy-schmancy, just your basic tried and true Americanized taco. Gourmet was adding sour cream or guacamole.
That’s what I like to do. I sometimes fix a plain-Jane taco (or, in my case, a plain-Jean taco). I keep a DIY spice blend on hand. Doing so, I avoid the additives and preservatives, that often come in the taco kits and spice packets.
Whatever your choice of taco toppings, there’s something to suit every taste. There’s no shortage of creativity in St. Louis. I’ve eaten Vietnamese tacos. Some with turnips and even grasshoppers.
Taco Thought for the Day
“It’s good to know that a conversation about tacos will always engender a sense of comfort and happiness. If only we could sit down at a big round world table and eat tacos in a spirit of love, we might begin to work on world peace!” ~Denise Chavez, A Taco Testimony
Celebrate the Day in St. Louis
The biggy of the local celebrations is the traditional Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo Street Festival on Saturday, May 6, from 11a to 8p. But Ben Poremba is offering a block party with mariachi band and gentrified, wood-grilled tacos and more. That’s on May 5 from 4- 9p. Find out more about these and other festive events here.