As America tends to do, it largely appropriated Cinco de Mayo and made it the highly celebrated holiday it is today. Americans actually celebrate the day more than in Mexico (it’s not their independence day), where it’s mostly only celebrated in the state of Puebla.
Why Puebla, you ask?
Well in 1861, the president, Benito Juarez, declared Mexico bankrupt. This led to the French seizing an opportunity to take the country under its rule. When the French attempted to invade Puebla, though, the people fought back.
Outnumbered two to one, underfed and largely untrained in any military tactics, the people of Puebla beat the French and forced them back. This victory served as an ignition to fuel the people of Mexico to fight for their country.
Soon after the United States backed Mexico, forced the French out and restored Juarez as president.
During the Civil War in America, the Union used Puebla’s victory as inspiration. Soon, Americans took over May 5th with parades and parties while the day dwindled in Mexico.
Today, go to any Mexican restaurant on May 5th and they will most likely have some kind of Cinco de Mayo special. What’s offered there probably won’t be what you would have in Puebla, though.
If you still want to experience the tastes of Puebla, don’t fret. The chalupas are perfectly simple and delicious.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup manteca (pork lard, you can find it at your local Mexican market) or corn oil
- 24 3″ tortillas
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 1 cup salsa roja
- 1 1/2 cups cooked shredded beef, pork or chicken
- 1 1/2 cups queso fresco or mild feta cheese
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
1. Heat the oil or lard in a frying pan until sizzling.
2. Lightly fry tortillas, 3-4 seconds on each side.
3. Spoon salsa of choice onto tortillas.
4. Top with onions, meat and cheese.
In case you didn’t know, in 2010 Mexico became the top exporter of beer in the world. So grab a cerveza (beer) to go with your chalupas. Sure you can drink a Corona but you should probably broaden your horizons and try one of these other options: Dos Equis Ambar, Carta Blanca, Negro Modelo or Bohemia.
Pandora also has a great playlist to accompany the day. Type Cinco de Mayo into the search bar, sit back and enjoy your tastes and sounds.