When I was in 6th grade (1973), we lived in a tiny home in Pico Rivera, California. We were surrounded by the rich culture of Mexico! I got a very valuable taste of what it is like to be a minority: I was one of two caucasians in my 6th grade class. (We had an amazing teacher, Miss Harper, whom I'll write about another time. What a woman! I am still in touch with her. She is a dear, dear lady who influences me to this day.)
Probably weekly, our family would exchange a plate of our very American, white-bread-type of cuisine (Delicious, Mom! Thank you!) for a plate from our spicy neighbors across the street: Reuben & Angela Garcia, their adorable 2 y/o son, Reuben, Jr. and Angela's adult siblings, Luis & Hilda. We went into previously unknown culinary territory for our family, sampling beef brain, beef tongue, tripe (the first and second divisions of the stomach of a ruminant, esp. oxen, sheep, or goats,...dictionary.com), chorizo and other more common delights: tacos, burritos, beans & rice. I cannot say I enjoyed it all, but it was good to branch out.
When I met David here in Nebraska in 1983, I was stunned to hear that he did not think he liked Mexican food! I don't recall how we ended up at El Bee's restaurant (Waterloo, NE) early in our courtship, eating chimichangas....hallelujah! He DOES like it! Our favorite Mexican restaurant these days is Hector's (156 & Pacific St., Omaha) - AMAZING guacamole. And we recently tried Rivera's (122 & Blondo, Omaha), a little place run by the parents of one of the preschoolers I teach. Yum. Authentico. Delicioso!
So ends my Cinco de Mayo homage to my affectionate affiliation with Mexican culture and cuisine! Viva la Mexico!!!!! I raise my Baked Tostitos & Pace Picante Sauce (yellow lid) to you.