Mexican Manners


Now another installment of a section I like to call “Mexican Manners”.  One of the many fun,  interesting things when it comes to learning about other cultures is studying manners and customs. If you want to impress Mexicans friends/acquaintances, this section will provide some tips for you.

Today’s Tip is: WATCH YOUR BACK.

I think this is a custom observed in most Hispanic cultures, not sure if it’s observed in other cultures, though. I’ve been with people who aren’t Hispanic and don’t follow the “watch your back” rule.  They didn’t mean anything by it, it’s just a custom they don’t observe. In Mexican  culture  though it’s an important rule. Why? Because,  it is considered very rude to have your back turned to someone.  This is called “dar la espalda” = give someone your back. It’s considered  as a sign of  ignoring someone, a physical affront…etc.  In all fairness, there are times when you must turn away from someone to talk to someone else, and certain situations when due to positioning, having your back face someone can’t be helped.  For politeness sake though,  it’s best to keep the location of your back in mind and try to position yourself  at an angle where you’re not directly turning your back to anyone. Or if you do turn your back, excuse yourself & try and try not to do  it for too long.

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Mex Xmas Drinks


Baby it’s cold outside ♪  Then let’s have some ponche & champurrado! Take a look at these vids about warm drinks that are traditionally enjoyed during Christmas =)

I’ve heard Champurrado described as  mix between hot chocolate & porridge. The drink is thickened with cornstarch/cornflour.  Champurrado comes in many flavors, &  can be seen during Xmas time served with tamales =) During “Posadas” = Xmas processions/parties, “Ponche Navideño” (Christmas Punch) a warm drink brewed with a blend of fruits is given to guest.  The basic punch recipe contains: Guava, Cinnamon, Hibiscus flower, tamarind, cane, Tejocotes (hawthorn).  For both the champurrado & ponche pilloncillo are used which is cone shaped Mexican dark brown sugar.


Mexican Food: Machacado con Huevo


It’s that time again! Time for some delicious Mexican gastronomy!  Today’s dish is  know as  “Machacado con Huevo”, “Machaca con Huevo”, or simply “Machaca” = Eggs & Mash/ shredded with eggs. Pronounced something like  : mah-chah-kah-doh-kohn-oo-eh-boh.  The verb “Machacar” means to mash/grind.

This is a typical dish from Monterrey &  is “said to have originated in the town of Ciénega de Flores, about an hour north of MonterreyMexico.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machacado_con_huevo

This yummy & easy recipe makes use of  eggs & cured, dried meat. In other words beef jerky, but not the kind you buy at the 7 eleven, the one you buy at the butcher shop.  Although, hmm who knows?  Maybe if you’re  in a bind the 7eleven jerky could work?  lol  Maybe not =S   The original dish, traditionally would call for beef jerky, since people in the olden days use to swear by cured meats due to the convenience and shelf life.  Variations do exist , some use shredded beef instead.  I’ve seen my mom make this with “carne seca” (meaning dehydrated meat) she’s brought home from Mex,  meat like this: http://www.vtdviaje.com.mx/vtd/images/stories/Nuevo_Leon/Gusto_Gourmet_Nuevo_Leon/carne-seca.jpg & shredded beef, so both ways.

In the first video they have a pre-machado mix, which I had never seen, actually…  But in the end it’s up to what’s to your liking & or convenience  =) You can look for “carne seca”  in packages in your local Mexican, Latin American Supermarket.  Like this for example: http://loscorrales.net/products.htm This is just me, but I think the dish is neatest when you can start  with whole pieces of “carne seca” from the butcher shop.

 

*Notice how the first recipe adds a tomato sauce, but in the  succedent recipes the tomatoes are diced and added. See there are many variations, just learn the basics and make the recipe your own.

This chef notes that, the dish is typically eaten with flour tortillas, but is equally tasty with corn tortillas.

Sing a long Friday : “Xochipitzahuatl” (traditional Mexican song)


So many beautiful things about our cultures, things that are worth: admiring, learning about and most of all  keeping alive & thriving. One of those things most definitely has to be language. In Paraguay 88% of the population speaks Guarani along with Spanish.  In Taiwan though most people speak Mandarin and the older generations are most knowledgeable when it comes to traditional Taiwanese, and though Taiwanes youngsters outside of Taiwan are a little sketchy on it,  native Taiwanese kids are still taught about it (traditional Taiwanese) and understand it a bit even if they don’t practice it as often as say their grandparents, or so I’ve heard.  So, I listen to different kinds of music and there’s this Taiwanese pop girl group I like. I totally fell in love with one of the songs off  their latest album, and  I especially  thought  it was super cool when I  heard the group recorded that particular song not in main stream Mandarin but instead in traditional Taiwanese.  This is our heritage ,our vestige…. We should take pride in these beautiful treasures. That is why in today’s post I’d like to share a traditional Mexican song. This post as they all are is  for everyone, but especially those who’d like to learn  a short little something in Nahuatl(aka Aztec).  The song is called “Xochipitzahuatl” pronounced: soh-chee-pee-tzah-hoo-wah-tahl, meaning: little flower.  This song is AKA “Flor Menudita” in Spanish.

Are these kids too COOL or what?! And such talent =D Plus they look so cute in their outfits.

It’s just a few short lines, but it something cool you can learn &   impress your friends with. Show ’em you can sing in Nahuatl!

This song is usually sung at weddings  in the Huasteca region of Mexico. From what I’ve been able to research, it is sometimes danced rather than sung. The  song is preformed for the Virgin of Guadalupe as away of asking for the event to be blessed. I’m not incredibly familiar with this song, so not sure how long the song actually is . The girls in the first vid seem to be singing more lyrics than the guy in the 2nd vid =S   Went on a hunt for the lyrics online and can not for the life of me find proper lyrics. There’s very little info online, could be that is due to the fact that the song is often know as a dance rather than a piece that is sung. I can only get little excerpts here & there, plus everyone’s version differs =(

Still so glad to see people taking pride in their roots and passing them on especially youngsters. =)  Hope you ENJOY GUYS!!

Mexican Talent in the Performing Arts


Videos: Pianist Salvador Rodriguez  Aldrete from Nayarit.  Professional musician of 30 years. As a  professor of music he is currently heading the “Elemental Music” & “Oratory Principals”  workshops  at the Catholic University of Puerto Vallarta.

This ballet version of the Jarabe Tapatio was a performance that took place as part of the concert celebrating  Mr. Rodriguez’s  30 yr career featuring ballerina Ruth Marcela Perez Contreras.

http://www.pianistasalvatore.com/Enlaces.html

Mexican Food : The treat known as Amaranto


Amaranto is a traditional Mexican candy also know as “Alegría” (happiness, joy, cheer).  A treat who’s ingredients &  manufacturing process have a long standing  history. The candy’s main ingredient is the intensely nutritious grain knows as amaranth, it is so nutritious than it surpass both rice & wheat. Amaranth was a staple food of the Aztecs.  Alegría candy bars contain : nuts, pepitas(pumpkin seeds), rasins, & the amaranth grain  which are “glued” together with pilloncillo(a type of unrefined sugar that usually comes in cones, known to some as “Mexican brown sugar”)

MORE INFO :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepita

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panela

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth