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Monday, April 30, 2012

How to cook Mexican Food

How to master the art of cooking Mexican Food
Subtitle: How to convince your significant other that you are so skilled in cooking hispanic food that there is no need to buy any other even though the real reason is because that is takes you long enough to cook one thing that you can’t cook anything else.
Special Note: Today’s entry came to be by request. If you have a particular topic you would like me to cover, please feel free to let me know! 
Step 1: Motivate yourself to learn.  There are a wide variety of ways to do this. Remember my Mexican godmother?  Having something to eat at her house was motivation number one, because the only thing non-Mexican she had were “Devil Dogs”, these Hostess Cakes that my godfather hid in the fridge and threatened my god sister and I’s lives if we ate them. Which we did. Every single time.  And got in trouble. Every single time.  So, in order not to starve or get into trouble, I developed a taste for hispanic cuisine. Then, if you my fine readers will recall from my introduction, I had a crush on my first Spanish teacher.  In addition to not wanting to starve, I learned early that fun + hot men + Spanish = reason to act Mexican.  Ergo, must learn to cook Mexican food.  
Step 2: Find a good resource to help you learn how to cook Mexican food.  DO NOT take one of those stupid cooking classes at the mall.  They quite literally teach you to make Taco Bell level food at Nordstrom prices.  And the people that teach it are not of hispanic decent.  Because no one ever made a platter of mole with a basil garnish. EVER.  Don’t try that crap.  You are not Gordon Ramsey. I suggest asking at a hispanic restaurant or finding yourself a godmother from Mexico. That worked for me.  
Step 2A: Or a get book.   If you will recall a book is a collection of paper bound between two firmer pieces of paper with words in the middle.  You used them before the internet was invented.  Sometimes they have pictures too.  Those are helpful. You can get the things called books at places called libraries, which are large buildings full of books.  For free.  Yes, there is a place where you can go and get things to borrow for free. Amazing huh?
Step 3: Once you have your resource, you will need ingredients.  I caution you about going to the high end grocery stores.  Not that I have a problem with organic food, I don’t and have become a bit of a health wacko in my 30’s, but not only do the high end places cost more, but their food is not authentically hispanic.  If there is a latino market in your area, go there. Don’t be afraid, they are SUPER nice.  Even you go in there with your little library book they will walk all over the place with you and help you find every last ingredient. Granted, they might laugh that a white woman (in my case) is trying to play hispanic AFTER you leave the store, but rest assured they will be super nice while you are there.  IF there is no hispanic food store in your area, I recommend the latino aisle at Food Lion or Walmart.  They have an excellent selection at low prices! (See I need more readers, I could get paid for this kind of press... sigh)  
Step 4: Ingredients in bags, on counter and in fridge next you will need the proper supplies: Paella pan from Williams Sonoma, empanada shapers from Tupperware, a tortilla press from Bed, Bath and Beyond, mortar and pestle from Macy’s... are you writing this down? If you are engaged, you need to print this step and take it with you to register for gifts. I’ll wait while you hit print.  (Cute Mexican restaurant music plays..... Bri is dancing around the computer waiting for you to hit changes to Pit Bull.....Bri begins to dance imagining dancing with Mr. Hot Canadian Pants Shanks....) What! Oh, sorry, I got a little caught up there for a moment.  You printed that list? I was joking about that.  Have you not caught onto my humor yet? All you really need is a wine glass and your normal kitchen stuff. Pour yourself a glass of Spanish wine and prepare to be amazed.  
Step 5: Cook.  Drink.  Cook. Drink. Cook. Drink. Dook. Crink. Dook. Crink.  Woah, woah there, slow down with the drink part amigo/a!!! I forgot to caution you in an earlier step that hispanic food is SPICY. If you don’t slow down on that Spanish wine things are going to go real bad, real fast, like significant other running to the bathroom like a Looney Toons character bad.  Place the glass over on the counter.  Step away from the glass.  That’s a good cocinero/a, bien, no te preocupes, Bri te arreglará....
Step 6: Now that your food is cooking and you are sobering up (Someone with better editing skills than I needs to go back up to like Step 3 and instruct you guys to brew some coffee; I apologize, I should have anticipated this happening) you need to multitask.  This is the reason by the way that in many hispanic families the women do the cooking, because we are better multitaskers.  You need to watch this food like I watch Michael Shanks on Twitter (thanks to my husband for that one - I have now upped the ante - twice in one post.  Shanks, if you ever read this, I am really kidding honey I hope you know...) while you begin to prepare your layout.  Hispanic food is MESSY and YUMMY so I recommend big, deep plates.  You will also need a bowl for chips and salsa, that is a given.  In fact, if you promise to go ahead and start nibbling the chips and salsa you may have that glass of wine back.  
Step 7:  Plate that shiznit.  I suggest, for presentation purposes only and to satisfy any urge you might have to be Rachel Ray, placing the main course in the center and the sides surrounding it.  Or, if you are married to a real man, like I am, once he smells something he’s going to be hovering over you like a starving jackal anyway, so you just slap whatever on the nearest dish and toss it onto the counter to get him the hell out of your work space.  Either way, at least try to get it onto a dish, if not for any other reason than to just have space for hot sauce.  Because no hispanic dish is complete without hot sauce.  
Step 8: Watch significant other carefully while they eat.  This is VITAL to making sure that you never have to cook another other cuisine again.  Make note of the things that he/she likes about the meal and if they do not like something make some BS excuse about the man at the mercado selling you the wrong thing.  They need to like this meal, a lot.  
Step 9: Oh CRAP!! You forgot dessert!! What, me? I told you this is an ADVICE column, not a how to book.  Oh, the title of the blog? Yeah, that, whatever.  Quick - here’s a little secret.  Fried Ice-Cream.  IT’S NOT MEXICAN! IT’S NOT ANYTHING!! Total BS. But, you can make it really quick.  Run to the freezer and get ice cream.  Scoop two quick little scoops into a bowl and cover with honey.  Let the honey soak all around and quickly fry a tortilla.  While that is frying, and don’t forget you need to flip it, drizzle either Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies over the honeyed ice cream.  I am not kidding.  Order it next time you eat at your favorite Mexican establishment, that is ALL IT IS!! Remove fried tortilla from frying pan, plate it and drop your ice cream/honey/breakfast cereal concoction onto the tortilla.  Shoot whipped cream on top.  Serve to spouse.  They will be amazed.  Hide cereal boxes.  
Step 10: You may now have your wine back if you have not already disregarded my instructions.  Relish in your success; you will be eating tacos for the rest of your natural life.  

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