Well, it’s Cinco de Mayo again and we all know the drill.
During daylight hours, we reflect on the many wonderful cultural gifts our Mexican neighbors have bestowed upon us — such as the paintings of Diego Rivera, the extraordinary cuisines of the different regions of Mexico, and Salma Hayek.
Before the sun goes down, we may also learn that Cinco de Mayo is not, as commonly believed, “Mexican Independence Day.” According to Wikipedia, Mexican independence day is celebrated September 16. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Unfortunately, Seguin’s victory was short-lived, as the French eventually overran Mexico City and occupied the country until they were sacre blue’d in 1867 by Benito Juarez. So despite the popularity of Cinco de Mayo, the holiday rates only regional status in Mexico. It is not even an official Mexican holiday.
By now you’re thinking:
“Wow. Mexico is more than just margaritas and chimichangas. The history of that nation is a vivid tapestry of indigenous and European influences, of conflict, trials and celebration — a melting pot in the truest sense and a testament to the human experience.”
“Damn, I could really go for some margaritas and a chimichanga right now.”
Which brings us to the evening portion of Cinco de Mayo, in which Americans under the age of 32 gather at chain restaurants and frat houses to wear souvenir sombreros and do body shots of Cuervo Gold.
As a red-blooded American I’m not above such antics. But I would like to offer the following Pax Arcana Official Rules for the Celebration/Mexican Stuff Brain Dump of Cinco de Mayo:
- Margaritas should be served straight up or on the rocks. Not frozen. Why the F do people always want to drink the ice?
- Cuervo Gold is only “gold” because they put a coloring agent in it. Sauza Gold is naturally that color because it’s been aged appropriately. It’s also cheaper and better in margaritas. Of course Sauza Hornitos + real lime juice + Cointreau (just a tiny bit, please) = Official margarita recipe of Pax Arcana.
- Ground beef and sour cream are not traditional elements of Mexican cooking. Or as former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit once said to my friend Greg, “There is no ground beef or sour cream in Mexico.”
- The origin of the salted rim on a margarita glass comes from the days when the bitter milky fermented pulp of the agave plant had yet to be refined into tequila. This drink, called pulque, was so potent that Mexicans would roast the grubs (or worms) living on the plants, crumble them up, and put them on the glass they used to cut the harshness. The roasted worms had a nutty flavor. That’s also why there are worms in the bottom of some bottles of mezcal, which can loosely be defined as halfway between pulque and tequila.
We should also remember that Cinco de Mayo is Pax Arcana’s birthday, which the Mexicans celebrate by thanking their dead ancestors that the Vikings never caught a whiff of cochinita pibil. Because we would have been all up in that place.
[For a peek at Pax Arcana’s kick-ass birthday present, follow the jump]