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Many a sombrero-sporting reveler has confused Cinco de Mayo with the Mexican Day of Independence (false!). May 5th is also commonly understood to be the one day of the year when it’s OK to drink margaritas before noon and eat one’s weight in guacamole (true!). If you’ve been waiting all year to pummel a piñata and go on a tempeh-taco binge, I’m not here to judge. In fact, I’ll likely be stirring a giant pot of black beans and making tortillas from scratch—a cold Negra Modelo in hand—to commemorate Mexico’s victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.
As with most holidays, the best part of this one is the food. Burritos, nachos, tacos, enchiladas, and tamales? Si, por favor! To bring authentic and muy delicioso south-of-the-border flavors to your table, whatever the time of year, consider integrating these indispensable items to your kitchen repertoire.
1. Avocados Their rich, buttery flavor makes them an ideal stand-in for cheese in most Mexican recipes, and they’re loaded with vitamin C and potassium too.
2. Chipotles in adobo sauce The smoky taste of these saucy canned peppers is utterly addictive. This recipe for corn and chipotle soup is a fabulous introduction to their haunting and delicious flavor.
3. Cilantro For many, cilantro is an acquired taste. If you can, move past any initial flavor associations (some describe it as “soapy”) and learn to appreciate the fragrant, grassy taste of this herb. It’s integral to fresh salsa!
4. A tortilla press You’ll never want to eat store-bought tortillas again after tasting the home-made variety. Try this tasty recipe for potato tacos once you master the process.
Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in re-creating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.