How to Make Your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Muy Grande
What is Cinco de Mayo about anyway, other than a holiday/excuse to eat nachos, tacos, chips, and dip and sip Coronas or Margaritas with your favorite amigos with mariachi music blasting in the background? Does the very thought get you in a festive mood and you’re unsure of your plans this weekend? How about 5 tips (that’s cinco in Espanol) to make your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta muy grande?
Numero uno – Brush up on Mexican history
As many of us know, the U.S. seems to make a much bigger deal of Cinco de Mayo than Mexico itself. (Check out some local Puget Sound happenings here.) Did you know the original Cinco de Mayo commemorated an unlikely victory of the Mexican Army over occupying French forces in 1862? Following the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, 4 days later on May 9th, President Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday. Though not a federal or widely celebrated patriotic holiday like Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16th, Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday. It is celebrated regionally, most notably in the state of Puebla, where’s it’s known as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla).
Numero dos – Whip up a fresh salsa
Did you know salsa outpaced ketchup as the U.S’s favorite condiment in the 90’s? A report last year on Hispanic Food and Beverages by the Packaged Foods industry found that salsa boasts almost twice the dollar sales of ketchup (though I suspect Sriricacha is on its own meteoric rise). Personally, I’m addicted to freshly made chunky style salsa –it’s a staple in my fridge and I find many uses for it –the usual -tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, taco salads, chips & salsa, burgers, sandwiches, eggs, (especially omelets) and a dip for practically anything.
There are many kinds of salsas on the market –thinner ones, such as chipotle or salsa verde, (atomatillo based), fruit or vegetable- based ones, such as mango or corn salsas –but my favorite of all is the chunkier pico de gallo (or salsa fresa) with plenty of chunks of tomato, onions, cilantro, lime juice, a pinch of salt & jalapeno for a hot, spicy kick!
Here’s a delicious recipe for a ‘Cinco de Mayo Salsa Cruda’ by Chef John, which also includes a video tutorial for you visual types. His recipe has most of the elements in my own pico de gallo style salsa, with the addition of Serrano chile peppers, mint, sugar, and oregano –giving it a unique flavor once melded together in the fridge for the suggested hour.
Cinco de Mayo is a perfect time to get your salsa on –classes in Seattle abound, and this weekend will be a showcase of the finest salsa aficionados around.
Feeling shy around the Salsa-nistas on your local dance floor? Why not take some classes –many salsa nights at local clubs offer an inexpensive introductory class before the open dance session, and there are also various studios offering class series, such as The Century Ballroom and Salsa N Seattle. Here is a roundup of some local salsa dance studios to check out.
There are also a few Cinco de Mayo cruises happening this weekend –such as the Waterways Cinco de Mayo Cruise 2013 on Lake Washington and Lake Union and the Argosy Cruises Cinco de Mayo Party Cruise on Elliott Bay. I checked out the Argosy Cruises version several years back with a friend, (now boyfriend) and was way too shy to express myself on the dance floor, but with my Zumba experience now, the inhibition has all but gone by the wayside. I’d definitely check out one of these themed cruises again, especially since the forecast is looking especially promising this weekend!
Cinco de Mayo is all about socializing, food, and fun in a casual environment. With Food Truck events happening all weekend, you’ll hit all three, and who knows might even make a new amigo while waiting in line for your tamale.
May 4: ¡Fiesta 5K Olé!/Taco Truck Challenge 5K @ Volunteer Park | Margarita Garden Music
May 5: Seattle’s Fremont Mobile Food Rodeo Cinco de Mayo Celebration | Largest Food Truck Festival in the United States
Numero Cinco – Take a siesta in the sun
It’s predicted to reach 79F this Sunday! –as if you needed an excuse to nap anyway. Grab a blanket and claim your sunny or shady spot this weekend in one of our parks or waterways around the Puget Sound.
This post written by Eileen F. Lambert, The Latina Locavore
Dancer photo credit: Bisayan lady via photopin cc
Salsa photo credit: adsojesus via photopin cc
Street dancing photo credit: John Bollwitt via photopin cc
Food truck photo credit: aaron_anderer via photopin cc
Cat nap photo credit: Jeanette Runyon via photopin cc
Mural photo credit: Franco Folini via photopin cc