In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is called 'El Día de la Batalla de Puebla', which means The Day of the Battle of Puebla. When the Mexican's beat the French in the Battle at Pueblo, it was unexpected. It was thought the French would win, who were there to collect on war debts. Cinco De Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is an observed celebration day that commemorates the Mexican army's victory on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.
Today, Cinco de Mayo is not that important in Mexico and mainly celebrated in the state of Puebla. Celebrations lean into more historical traditions including military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other reenactments. In Mexico, the Independence Day celebrations of September 16 represent that nation's most important national holiday. in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican American populations. Downtown Los Angeles's annual Fiesta Broadway began in 1990, and it's billed as 'the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the country.'
The traditional dish eaten in the town of Puebla on their big holiday is mole poblano. Invented in the late 17th century, mole is a thick sauce made with chocolate, chiles, nuts and other spices. Traditionally, the sauce covers succulent chicken or turkey. While mole recipes differ from family to family and by state in Mexico, they all have one thing in common: mole represents the heart of Mexican culture because it’s served on the most special of occasions, weddings, baby showers and holidays like Cinco de Mayo.
Here are some ideas on what to include in that special Cinco De Mayo dish you create. Include all or a few to have a burst of that fresh taste of Mexico!
Peppers provide a taste explosion, whether from the sweet tang of a bell pepper or the heat of a jalapeño. Peppers also add a splash of color. Depending on the variety, bell peppers turn from green to shades of red, yellow, and orange if they're left to linger on the vine. Did you know there's a scale to measure a chile pepper's pungency or heat? The Scoville scale was invented by American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in 1912.
Also known as Mexican or Chinese parsley, this leafy green herb dresses up meals in both its fresh and dried forms. Sprigs of fresh cilantro add a bright, citrusy tang to tacos, enchiladas and soups, and the dried seeds—called coriander—are used as a spice to flavor Mexican favorites from chorizo to beans.
Chop it as the base for a salad or shred it to mix in a taco. Fresh lettuce adds a crunch of freshness and fiber.
Put out a bowl of guacamole and some chips, and you practically have a party. A slice of avocado adds a smooth richness to dishes and helps offset any spiciness. Avocados are also a superfood that provides heart-healthy oils. Hass avocados were developed in La Habra Heights in Southern California by a postal worker named Rudolph Hass in the 1920s.
What would some Mexican dishes be without cheese? California produces more Monterey Jack cheese than any other state; it's considered a "California original" because it's a descendant of a type of cheese made in the missions more than 200 years ago.