Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Searching for the Mexican Within

I am really white. Not just white, but part British and so fair-skinned as to be prone to sun poisoning. Normally this might not be something the average white person would even bring up, but I am a distinct minority in my mother's family. Within that particular family, I have three Honduran sisters, one El Savadoran sister, 34 mostly Mexican sisters and brothers, and nieces and nephews who are black/Hispanic, white/Hispanic, El Salvadoran, and Laotian/Hispanic. I think that covers it. I am the odd-looking blonde with freckles. If you've ever seen one of our full family photos, you may have noticed me. And wondered what I was doing in the picture...

The only culinary heritage I get from my dad's family, the red-headed British side, comes down to my late grandmother's fruit trifle. Grandma Peggy died before I could ever ask her to teach me how to make it, and my Aunt Susie, Grandma's only daughter, claims to not have Grandma's recipe. The stuff is so good it will make your eyes roll back in your head.

When it comes down to comfort food, I lean towards Mexican. I can only assume this is because it is my mother's children who are the first to be there to help me when I need it. I have been working on my salsa recipe for months now, and have yet to get it exactly right. After all, I'm just a white girl, what do you expect?

But I have desperately needed a Mexican snack food for those desperate times. You know, like when I have PMS. Where most Southern women might appease their menstrual irritations with potato chips and french onion dip, I crave tortilla chips and salsa. I have long since sworn off store-bought salsa, and it has now been three years since I lived within walking distance of a Mexican restaurant (where I would often walk in with empty plastic containers and ask for fill-ups). My last salsa attempt was this past weekend, when I again got only mediocre results. This is becoming tiresome.

Yesterday, for the fourth time in a week, I peeked into the paper bag on the kitchen counter to check the status on the ripening of my avocados. Eureka. They were FINALLY soft. Excited, I pulled down The Grit Cookbook, fairly sure I could get satisfying results from their guacamole recipe. I've eaten at The Grit, a fun local vegetarian restaurant, countless times, and while their guacamole recipe was developed by a bunch of hipster-type white guys, it has never disappointed me.

Not only was the recipe easy, but the guac came out fabulously. So well, in fact, that The Carnivore wolfed down half of it while watching American Idol last night. (For the record, Taylor and Paris were my favorites from this episode.)

  • 4 1/2 cups peeled, cored and mashed ripe avocado (I used 8 avocados)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime (I used lemon)
  • 2 Tbs Grit Salsa (this was the mediocre recipe I tried this weekend, but it worked fine when using such a small amount - any salsa would do here)
  • 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes, slightly drained (I used the outer flesh only of one tomato)
  • 1/3 cup very finely minced red onion
  • 1 tsp salt (I used kosher)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp granulated garlic
  1. Stir ingredients until fully combined.
  2. Serve well chilled

1 comment:

yolie said...

next time use lime...that'll make you a real mexican. love you, your mexican sister Yolie