Why Barrio Cafe's Silvana Salcido Esparza Won't Be Partying on Cinco de Mayo

Categories: Seasonal

 

silvana.JPG
Lauren Gilger
Silvana Salcido Esparza
Silvana Salcido Esparza tells it like it is, and the other day she was doing just that on Facebook. The topic? Cinco de Mayo -- and how much it bugs her. So we asked the chef/owner of Barrio Cafe to tell us why.

Recently, I was opening my business mail when it hit me like it ton of bricks. There it was, the first reminder that it's just around the corner. The solicitation read, "Don't get caught short, order your porta-pots now for Cinco de Mayo."

Get the rest of the story after the jump.

You see, it's the same bullshit story year after year. I start to hear the Cinco de Mayo radio ads for those crazy parties that even include wet tee shirt contests, and it drives me right into LOCA overdrive.

I want to be clear and to the point: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day.

mole.jpg
barriocafe.com
Barrio's mole.
In fact, it's a rather small celebration that -- in that country -- comes and goes without much fanfare, except that most of the Mexicanos remember to eat mole on that day. This rich and exotic Poblano dish, that many times is made with over 30 ingredients, comes from Puebla, Mexico.

Also from Puebla is the small observance of a military battle that's been turned into a major holiday by those who want to make money. On May 5, 1862, in the beautiful state of Puebla, around 2,000 Mexican soldiers defeated three times as many French soldiers, most of who were handicapped by diarrhea.

Can you say, "Gracias, Montezuma?"

The true Mexicano eats the succulent celebratory dish, Chiles en Nogada. Mexico's most popular pepper, the mild Poblano, is stuffed with an array of dried and fall fruits then finished with the patriotic colors of the Mexican flag with the red of sweet pomegranates, the white of a succulent almond cream sauce and the green of the national treasure, cilantro.

But they do that on el Diez y Seis de Septiembre, September 16, Mexico's actual Independence Day.

On May 5, the celebration is puro Americano, with folks north of the border gorging themselves on such un-authentic Mexican dishes as nachos, fajitas, chimichangas, burritos and "cheese crisps." And all of the tequila, margaritas and Mexican beer they can get their hands on, enough to complete their Cinco de Drinko celebration.

At my little hole-in-the-wall restaurant you will not find wet t-shirt contest, dollar Coronas or even extra toilets. Instead on Cinco de Mayo, without much fanfare we will be eating mole.

On September 16th, now that's another pinche story...orale!

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17 comments
Sramexicanacomolarana
Sramexicanacomolarana

La Batalla de Puebla is a source of pride for, not only Poblanos, but Mexicans alike. Here is in the United States it's taken to a level of low class drunk behavior. I am glad chef Silvana opposes the gringo take on Cinco de Mayo. Yes Cinco de Mayo, Dia de la Raza, and many more days are the pride of Mexico. But here in the states, nothing but 5 de Mayo gets glamorized. I thank you chef Silvana for having the huevos to speak up against the commercialization of this sacred small battle that helped save Mexico from the French.

kkhkk1
kkhkk1

Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to damned, and no body to be kicked? From: http://xrl.us/bh8tjk

Eduarda Amondragon-Rosh
Eduarda Amondragon-Rosh

Dear Silvana,My family comes from Puebla.Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with a small military parade, red,green and white lights decking the streets and a good meal of Mole Poblano. Actually there are more festivities during the World Cup. This holiday has always been about having "Ganas". Having the desire to fight against oppression. A small group of determined and brave Mexican soldiers were able in this one battle to turn back the greatest army in the world at the time, the French. Mexico won the battle but lost the war. Its about La Raza "standing up". I have never understood why it has become the day when everyone gets their Mexican on. Glad you are standing against the BS but the celebration has always been about pride which we desperately need to remember.

Francisco
Francisco

I want to comment that in Mexico,iwe make a big celebration of 5 de Mayo with parades in most cities of the Mexican Republic is actually a holiday for all Mexicans.This lady does not know the importance of the history of Mexico, clearly I can not realize that she never lived in MexicoShe is the one who has diarrea on her brains.

Feliz 5 de Mayo !!!!

Nicholas Atonna
Nicholas Atonna

Right on. I see it as more of a celebration for our Mexican neighbors to celebrate their cultural heritage and considerable contributions here in the U.S. The closest anology I think would be ST. Pat's day for those with Irish ancestory.

Caseyf
Caseyf

This is just what I thought, until I spent time in Mexico City (including 5 May). It was quite a huge celebration, with big happenings every zocalo--fireworks, carnivals, live music--much bigger than here in Phoenix. I had friends in Oaxaca who observed the same phenomenon, so perhaps things have changed in Mexico. I understand that it is not Mexican Independence Day; however, it was significant not only because of the 12,000 soldiers involved, only 4,000 (a large, not insignificant, battle) were Mexican and they defeated the French, but also because since the Battle of Puebla no country in the Americas has been invaded by a European military force.

cookielewis
cookielewis

Right on sista! Well said. Corporate America even has people believing that 5 de Mayo is the official "hispanic heritage" day. How sad if you fall for this.

Eric Esparza
Eric Esparza

What's going on with you?? I miss you! And I can't wait to go and try all your wonderful dishes I keep hearing about!!! ~Eric Esparza~

David M. Johnson
David M. Johnson

Do you think that the Irish celebrate St Pats in Eire or Northern Ireland by drink green beer or dressing like a leipreacháns? Itlalians dont celebrate Colmbus day either (even in Genoa)...besides he was really of Catalan origins as he was from the Colón family.Easter is of Germanic Pagan origins, as well as, Christmas. Halloween or All hallows eve is complete Hallmark (take it wasy, Wiccans)...!The onlt real authentic American holiday is Independance Day which is a great excuse to blow crap up and drink beer. The fun of these holidays - ethnic or otherwise - is be silly and eat. The more ridiculous the garb and big food and drink oriented. I just utilize May the 5th as a pre-party for my birthday which is May the 6th. If anyone has ever been to one of my Cinco de Drinko week-end bashes you can attest to that statement. I can vouch as a bonafide Molehead how good Sister Silvana's moles are...I have tried many of them.

Kathy Monkman
Kathy Monkman

I just love you Silvana. Having taken 2 cooking classes from you now, I learn as much about Mexican history/culture as I do cooking which I dearly appreciate. You are a National Treasure to all of us and I just can't say how much I admire your strength and voice. You are a strong role model for me and I don't know you well but your voice guides me. Thank you so much for this article. Sept. 16 is my deceased sister's BD and I just realized, I know where I can go now. <3

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