An Interesting Look at Cinco de Mayo Food
For many people, Cinco de Mayo is all about food. On the fifth of May each year, there are Cinco de Mayo festivities held all over the world, especially in the United States. As it happens, the holiday is very likely more popular in the US than it is in Mexico, where it is a largely regional holiday, which is celebrated mostly in the state of Puebla. While many in the US mistakenly believe that the holiday commemorates Mexico’s independence from Spain, Cinco de Mayo actually honors a victory of the Mexican army over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla (Mexico actually declared independence from Spain on September 16, 1810, more than fifty years earlier).
Whether you know the origins of the holiday or not, Cinco de Mayo food tends to be the star at parties held on this holiday and the dishes, which may be served at these events, is diverse as Mexican cuisine itself. If your concept of Mexican food does not stretch far beyond tacos and burritos, you are likely to be in for quite a surprise. Mexican recipes include an enormous variety of ingredients and flavors and if you are feeling adventurous, you may want to try out something different at your Cinco de Mayo party this year – you may even discover some new favorites.
While no one will ever turn down tortilla chips and salsa at a Cinco de Mayo celebration, there are other snacks you could serve such as plantain chips (available at a growing number of stores and easy to make yourself) and roasted pumpkin or squash seeds (called pepitas in Mexico, where they are a popular snack).
If you are planning to serve a full meal to your family or guests, then there is a lot of different Cinco de Mayo food to choose from. While there are not really any dishes which are traditionally served on this holiday, this allows you to choose from virtually any and every Mexican recipe out there – and there are certainly a lot of choices out there.
Soups are an important part of Mexican cuisine, just as they are in other culinary traditions. You could start off dinner at your Cinco de Mayo party by serving spicy, savory Mexican soups like tortilla soup, menudo (tripe soup) or birra de chivo (goat soup). You could follow up the soup course with a nopales (cactus) salad or the old standby of tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole or any other light Mexican appetizer of your choice.
For the entrée, you could serve a dish which hails from the Mexican state of Puebla like chile en nogado; these meat and fruit-stuffed poblano chilies served with walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds are both delicious and feature the same green, white and red colors as the Mexican flag, making this a dish which could have been tailor made for the Cinco de Mayo holiday.
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