Meatless Monday: Cinco de Mayo Style

img_5377I’m just going to throw it out there, I love Mexican food. I can eat it at any time, any day. Chips and guacamole, chips and salsa, breakfast burritos, regular burritos, tacos, quesadillas – you name it, I’ll eat it! This is the main reason why I get giddy around Cinco de Mayo. A day to celebrate by eating a top fave cuisine? Yes please!

It’s funny, I knew I had written about Cinco de Mayo and my favorite quesadilla recipe before, but just couldn’t remember if it was for this blog or a blog I wrote when I was vegetarian. It was for my old blog but so much still applied to today that I thought I’d share it! I’ll be cooking this quesadilla recipe tonight and will be joining friends for Vegan Taco Tuesday tomorrow night. Share in the comments how you’ll be celebrating. Without further ado, here is the old blog post…

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and I’d like to share an amazing quesadilla recipe that you can easily make at home instead of trying to fight the crowds to eat at a Mexican restaurant. When I started to write this blog post, I began to wonder why Cinco de Mayo is such a big day of celebration in the United States. On this day, like many other Americans I overindulge on chips, salsa and guacamole, but I’ve never really known the history behind it.

I did a little research from the trusty ol’ website Wikipedia and found out that “Cinco de Mayo…commemorates the Mexican army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States.”

It seemed odd to me that Americans observe Cinco de Mayo, but as I read on I found out that the celebration started in the U.S. by sympathetic Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the Civil War who understood the importance of democracy and freedom. Even so, how did this day in history become a prevalent day of celebration across the whole nation? The United Press International explains that “The holiday crossed over into the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but didn’t gain popularity until the 1980s when marketers, especially beer companies, capitalized on the celebratory nature of the day and began to promote it.

Ah-ha, that all makes sense now! The large corporations and commercial giants started all the hoopla and that’s why this day is nationally recognized in the United States and not in Mexico. I did find it fascinating that the United States is not the only region that celebrates Cinco de Mayo and that its popularity has grown to other areas of the world. Wikipedia explains that:

Events tied to Cinco de Mayo also occur outside Mexico and the United States. For example, a sky-diving club near VancouverCanada, holds a Cinco de Mayo skydiving event. In the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, there is an annual Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition. As far away as the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, revelers are encouraged to drink Mexican beer on May 5.

After reading the history of Cinco de Mayo, I was skeptical of where the quesadilla originated from. I thought there was a good chance it did not come from Mexico at all, and that it was another marketing ploy by the American food industry. Wikipedia set me straight and told me that it did, in fact, originate in Mexico. Of course we’ve Americanized the quesadilla and most Americans are not cooking the original recipe, but it’s still delicious none-the-less.

This dish is great accompanied with a side of rice and beans, guacamole and salsa.  

P.S. Want more inspiration for cooking on Cinco de Mayo? Head over to my friend JL’s blog for more vegan Cinco de Mayo recipes!

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