Very close to el Día de la Candelaria, when Mexicans celebrate the end of the Christmas season with tamales, a party of a very different ‘religion’ takes place: the Super Bowl.
The already amalgamated celebration of Día de la Candelaria, fuses the pre-Columbian tradition of making food and other offerings to several deities, along with the presentation of Christ at the temple. According to Jewish law, it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after forty days had passed from the day of the infant’s birth. Jesus would have been taken to the temple on February 2nd, which is when this festivity takes place.
Around the same time, and adding a layer of complexity to my world, I was quickly evangelized on the celebration of the Superbowl, which could very easily be considered a holiday. Intriguing as the game is, though, I have always been more fascinated by the soap-opera worthy plots, the off-the top commercials, and of course, the food.
Food was my easy way in, and when I was first asked to bring a dish to the party I thought it would be clever to bring chicharrón… I thought, this is really “pig skin” after all.
For a quick and easy to make a snack, serve chicharrón in a molcajete with avocado, salsa and warm tortillas.
Phyllis Marquitz is a food-industry professional. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, her job relocated her and her family to Mexico City, where she had the opportunity to enjoy, understand and appreciate the local culture and flavors first hand. These gracious guests were in turn, a gift to Mexico- they are vocal Mexico enthusiasts, even to the point that Phyllis’ husband is the editor of soccer blog, soccer mexicana! Phyllis is also a long-time reader of La Vitamina T. Earlier this year, I had the privilege to meet her personally during one of her business trips to Chicago.
Although zapote, the fruit Phyllis talks about in her post, is also available in Central and South America, she associates this fruit to the time she spent in Mexico.
By: Phyllis Marquitz
This morning I was yapping with my son (he is four, so we usually weave in an out of subject matter and season the “conversation” with silly-sounding words). We were discussing colors and fruits and how to make juices of different hues. We eventually settled on green and used some fading, very ripe kiwi to bring it to life. Along the way, giggling and thinking he had stumped me, he asked, “what about BLACK juice?” “Zapote!” I immediately responded. But, “how do you say it in English?,” he said. Since there isn’t an English translation, he filled in impatiently, “do you mean, the name is only in español?”
I’ve been dwelling on it all morning. Because to me, the name is not only in español, the name is in… Mexican.
Today I miss Distrito Federal and the genius chilango with a little stand that would mix zapote with citrus to balance it out. I miss drinking pudding and sweet orange nectar. I miss real jugo verde, even though the kiwi juice is pretty good.
If you don’t know black Zapote, this seasonal fruit is apparently a distant relative to the persimmon. It has a pulpy middle that gets squeezed into an amazing pudding texture. People say it is like dark chocolate pudding, but I get light hints of anise too.
When I was growing up, saying that someone was “talking Mexican” could be taken as a snide or as an ignorant remark about someone speaking Spanish, whether or not they were from Mexico. This went along with all the assumptions people make about immigrants. This resonated, with me, as my mother was an immigrant, even when she wasn´t Latin American.
I always associated the idea that people used the term “Mexican” to describe the language, with ignorance. Just like everything else, now I know it is much more complex than that. Years later, here I am, wanting to tell my son (I didn’t because we had moved on to talk about snails and chess) that Zapote wasn’t only Spanish, it was much more specific and loaded with memories:
It was, well, Mexican.
“A darle que es mole de olla” (Let’s get to work because we are making mole de olla). This expression is used to instill motivation to begin working on a complex task.
Post 1 of the series #DíloconSabor (Say it with Flavor)
Having been raised in Mexico City, Mexico, it was not until I moved to the US as a young professional, that I realized that sports jargon was prevalent in colloquial language. I might have not fully understood which sport the expressions had been borrowed from, but I very quickly became adept at seasoning my language with phrases such as “touch base”, “call an audible”, “drop the ball”, etc. Something that was very curious to me is that in contrast, Mexicans season their language with food. This series, “Dílo con Sabor” is a collection of food-centric sayings or allegories that are now part of popular wisdom or folklore.
Do you have a favorite food-related saying? Tweet it to @lavitaminat with the hashtag #díloconsabor (sayitwithflavor).