Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is coming up and for those who don’t know, let me tell you now, most Mexicans do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo! It’s a holiday invented (okay, not exactly invented – it commemorates the Battle of Puebla when Mexicans drove out the French) by Mexican-American educators so they could promote Mexican/Chicano pride on a day when kids were in school. The real Mexican Independence Day, September 16 comes too early in the school year for a proper celebration. Greet a Mexican immigrant with “Feliz Cinco de Mayo” and they will most likely respond with a quizzical and/or bemused look. And to all the corporations: it’s not a “Latino” holiday. Ask a Guatemalteco, Salvadoreño or a Boricua what they think about Cinco de Mayo.

Since there are lots of folks who like to do “Mexican Night” on Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would share a little recipe with you all.

There is absolutely no reason in the world to ever, ever, ever, buy canned or jarred salsa. Making salsa is easier than frying an egg (and you all can do that right?)

Here’s what you do:

get one large tomato (or a few small ones)

one jalapeño

one 1/2 onion

boil it all for 2 minutes in a pot

throw it in a blender

add salt


and you have salsa!

If you want to be fancy, chop up some cilantro and combine with the blended mixture.

If you don’t have a blender, pound everything together the way real Mexicans do in a molcajete.

Another variation: use tomatillos (about 5) instead of tomatoes and substitute the jalapeño for a serrano pepper for a basic salsa verde.

If you’re planning on drinking tequila, make sure it’s El Jimador or Cazadores. Don’t ever drink Jose Cuervo.

To really get into the Mexican spirit, show your support at tomorrow’s May Day march downtown!

8 thoughts on “Cinco de Mayo

  1. When I went to college, this one year a fraternity got into a lot of trouble for their Cinco De Mayo party.

    They had hired midgets to wear sombreros with chips and guacamole to walk around at their party. They generally carried on like douchebags (which is typical at a frat party), but the midget guacamole mariachis sent the campus into fits and rages.

    The whole experience reminded us campus types why Cinco De mayo is celebrated in the U.S.: because everyone loves “diversity” as long as it is secluded to food, music, and dancing – which is why the frat boys wrote letter about how they were just trying to share in the festive nature of the holiday. I think that Cinco De Mayo, like Hannukah, or Saint Patrick’s Day are days where we get to all pretend like we’re not deeply annoyed that other people are different from us.

  2. Kevin, I said “if you want to be fancy” and we all know you’re not that! 🙂
    Yes, you boil the onion too but it’s not necessary. Another way would be to chop the raw onion finely and add it in to the tomatoes and chiles after blending.
    For a different flavor, you can also roast the tomatoes, chiles and onion in the broiler and then blend or chop, for a smokier, slightly sweeter salsa. Experiment!

  3. I celebrate el Cinco by spreading my salsa all over a french roll, and eating my french fries with guacamole and carne asada.

  4. Muchos gracias for the salsa recipe and lesson on the background of Cinco de Mayo. I don’t fry too many eggs, but thanks to you will be making salsa!

    UBRayj02 – I am personally offended at your insinuation that we are all like you – and offended by people who are different. I do embrace diversity EVERY day and do not tolerate hatred or bigotry (although I do have to admit that I find your frat story amusing and believe that most of my hispanic friends would as well).

  5. I love how easy it is to make salsa! Thanks for sharing that story, I had no idea of the REAL origins! We had a small get together last may 5, and used this site to help us prepare,

    It was very helpful, and we had a blast making food! Thanks for the awesome story!

  6. Remember when…Cinco De Mayo meant music and mayhem at Lincoln Park(1987-1988)?

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