Most people really do not know why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated except to drink lots of beer & margaritas. Not to worry – in a Jay Walking segment on the Jay Leno show – most people didn’t know when the War of 1812 was either.
We do know that Cinco de Mayo is not a Hallmark holiday. In the United States, it is a way to celebrate the culture of Americans of Mexican ancestry much like St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the Irish, Oktoberfest celebrates the Germans, and Chinese New Year celebrates the obvious.
And like those holidays Cinco de Mayo is observed and celebrated by Americans regardless of their origin.
And to foodservice, restaurants, and the beverage industry – it’s designed to sell copious amounts of food especially avocados, alcohol, and to excite the masses of a certain age demographic to go out and party.
According to the California Avocado Commission, U.S. consumption forecast exceeds 70 million pounds of avocados for Cinco de Mayo festivities. Wow!
Now is the time to buy avocados so they can ripen by May 5.
In Tucson you can buy avocados for 3 for $1 at Sunflower Markets (they are small and rock hard as of May 1), 2 for $3 at Fry’s and Albertsons, and 3 for $5 at Safeway.
Did you know the avocado is also called an Alligator Pear because of its pear-like shape and green skin? For more fun facts, check out the California Avocado Commission.
If you’re thirsty after reading about avocados, Hotel Congress is hosting the 3rd Annual AgaveFest, a celebration of all things tequila on May 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Some of Tucson’s best bar chefs will face off in a cocktail competition. For $25, you can taste up to 12 tequilas, tequila infusions, and tequila punch.
There’s also a bacanora for tasting, an agave-derived liquor made in Sonora that was illegal to distill until 1992. (Blogger’s note: One night my friend and I were at Hotel Congress and Certified Spirits Specials and Bartender Extraordinaire Aaron DeFeo gave us a sample of bacanora. At first I found it antiseptic but by my last sip — more mellow.)
But back to the AgaveFest, enjoy live music provided by Salvador Duran, eat authentic street tacos, and get a 10 percent discount at Cup Cafe.
Now for a Cinco de Mayo history lesson: According to Wikipedia, it is a holiday held on May 5 that 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.
Please drink responsibly.