paulfraser (paulfraser) wrote,

The water out of the tap is very hard to drink

A considerable measure of time has eluded us all since I wrote here, but this is because little worth reporting has occurred. Surely, Independence Day happened, and a nicely rounded numbered one too, but if you've been to one nationalist celebration, you've been to them all. The nice difference here was that one is free (nay, expected) to say “I love my country BUT”, as opposed to the home land where any dissent is cause to be made a pariah. The best of the celebration was the military parade, owing to the novelty. While not a big fan of militarism, I did think it was funny to see U.S. Soldiers forced to march with those of Venezuela and China. At least they weren't made to follow the horses. The historic uniforms were also of interest, so I direct you to the galleries (in a few days).

There is little else newsworthy, unless the six publications on my desk that are in various stages of hindered, lurching, aching progress are of interest (I call one “The Never Ending Story” due to a lack of will from the collective to truncate and publish, another “The Never Ending Peer Review”, and another “The Never Progressing Story”, thus maybe best renamed “Passions”). So, until exploration begins afresh, I will dig through my backlog of photogenic drawing to present notes on the topic of Mexican cuisine. This is especially topical, as upon The Lovely Naomi's return, she consumed pulque, mezcal, chapulines (crickets) and churros in one sitting and then an hour later they made their return. I swear on this imaginary copy of Dawkins in my hand, there was a whole cricket floating (swimming?) in the boff.

In Mexico, one a irresistibly drawn towards the nefarious 'T diet' of tacos, tortas and tamales (though tostadas and anything tortilla should be mentioned). Tacos I have touched on before, but in general they are soft shell (except for the deep-fried tacos dorados, or 'golden tacos'), smaller than elsewhere (4” diameter), cheap, and dangerous. My strictly-applied rule is that if a taco place does not have a brick-and-mortar enclosure that the guy has to return to tomorrow, I'm not eating there.

The main problem with your tarp-roofed stand is the lack of water. The tap water here is in no way safe to drink - what with century-old broken terracotta pipes laying in a porous lake bed, waiting for the rains to take material from Pipe S into Pipe W and then into your home (though I hear you can get some good fevered hallucinations), and upgrades in such a large place where few pay taxes is difficult (when they do this, a million people are without water for a week) - but it is better for rinsing plates that that scungy, gray bucket of week-old water they use at the taco stands. Worse yet is the Tacos de Canasta, served from a milk crate on the back of some dude's bike, with phlegm-looking sauce from a jar at the handl bars. If the guy can up and fark owf with no notice, I don't trust him.

Tacos come with many fillings, usually meat that has been sitting out at ambient temperature for several hours and then isn't always cooked through (they get the broad strokes of hygiene, but miss the details), and some of the typical ones are pastor, pork marinated in chili and pineapple and onion; tacos chicharrónes, made from pork rind; and other I will come back and update later. There are usually nopales, the prickly pear cactus, added as the vegetable component.

Tortas have a special historical narrative. When Mexico became independent of Spain, it did so on the dime of France and the United Kingdom, and still owed bulk money to Spain. When in 1861 President Benito Juarez said “Stuff you blokes, we're not paying anymore”, Spain and England said “Awwww”, but France said “Yes you bloody are”, invaded, set up a Hapsburg as Emperor, and drained as much cash out of Mexico as possible before they got booted out and the Emperor got hanged. However, when the French came, they bought French chefs, and the legacy of this is the torta, known elsewhere as a French roll. About 6 or 8 inches long, they are stuffed with whatever, often schnitzel, but always with tomato and avocado.

Of tomales I have little to say, so I'll leave it here for a bit. It's time to head off to my favourite torta stand anyway; Harry el Sucio – Dirty Harry.
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