With today being May 4th, Americans are predictively preparing their Cinco de Mayo plans and I’m obviously going to be giving you a delicious Mexican-inspired steak recipe. I also wanted to do was lay down a little history lesson first. Let’s get this straight people, we are NOT celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day. That falls on September 16th. What beer companies actually have us celebrating is the Mexican army’s surprise victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. A severely outnumbered Mexican army took down almost 500 French soldiers, while only losing around 100 of their own soldiers. This was not a particularly large victory in the Franco-Mexican War (bonus points if you know what the war was known as), it signified “a great symbolic victory” for the people of Mexico.
So, why does America celebrate this? There are a few variables that lead to the popularization of the holiday. The California Latinos who were happy about the win at the Battle of Puebla, also saw this as a parallel to the American Civil War, where many were cheering on the Union army. It was seen as a “[simultaneous] fight for democracy.” Many years later, FDR enacted the Good Neighbor Policy, a policy created “to improve relations with Latin America.” And last but not least, the American beer companies had targeted campaigns to Latinos in the 70’s and 80’s.
Why have I told you all of of this? I find it important to delve deeper into cultures that may not be familiar to us. Not just cultures, but we should be learning more about our friends and neighbors. The key word here is “learn”, not “I saw this on Facebook.” I find that food can connect and educate people in many different ways and it helps us have conversations with one another. Tomorrow, celebrate the Mexican culture with some exquisite food, tequila, and good friends (or maybe even new friends)!
Today I have a rich, savory Mexican-inspired chili rubbed flank steak recipe with an outstanding sweet potato kale hash adapted from Sweet Savory Life. If you are a parent and you have toned down your Cinco de Mayo celebrations as the years have gone on, as I have, then this is perfect for a laid back night with friends and some skinny margaritas (#basic). I hope you all have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo!