Dear Mexican: I’m a gabacho, but I’ve been loving menudo for about 45 years. What are your thoughts on why menudo is the Food of the Gods?
I Ain’t Mexican but Mi Estómago Damn Well Is
Dear No Soy Mexicano But My Stomach Sí Es: You are one smart gabacho! Most of your ilk think of tripe soup as an edible donkey show: a horrific, disgusting artifact of a horrific, disgusting people. But menudo is so much more than boiled cow guts or something to soak up the booze that fueled your previous night. It’s a socio-historical lesson in a bowl: The fat, pale kernels of posole have nourished Mesoamericans since time immemorial, and the use of tripe over the better parts of a cow is a testament to its status as a poor person’s meal. Menudo is delicious, the trinity of firm posole, chewy tripe and fiery, blood-red broth producing a comforting, fatty flavor. More important, menudo is amor. It’s the soup that Mexican women slave over for their hungry families on weekend mornings, the dish over which families unite and teens fall in love as they pitch woo along with the wicker of tortillas. Menudo nowadays exists in canned form, but that’s heresy. True menudo is a difficult feat, taking hours to create, but it comes with a payoff that transcends tastebuds and strives for the sublime. Will menudo cure a hangover? No doubt. But if that’s all you eat it for, then you truly don’t know love.
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Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans call people from the United States norteamericanos instead of unidenses? Don’t they know that Mexico and Canada are also in North America?
Dear Wab: Because Mexicans are also U.S.-ers: The full name of their country in habla is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. And while mexicanos know that Canada — and Mexico, for that matter — is in North America, we didn’t discover the Great Gabacho North until 1994, when NAFTA let us know of another country to eventually conquer.
Dear Mexican: All of my Mexican friends are second- or third-generation and relate to Mexico in a generic way, but they’re shaky on the details of history. Which grupo should they hang with? The bloodthirsty “We’re here to kill you and steal all your stuff” conquistadores or the “Cut out your beating heart and worship anything that moves” indios?
White Who Likes Brown Power
Dear Gabacho: Gabachas, of course — the blonder, the better!