One thing I miss over here in France is Mexican food. Coming from Southern California, Mexican food has always been a staple in my diet. Whether it be going to a restaurant and ordering steak fajitas with a side of beans and rice, or going to the taco truck on the corner and getting a supreme burrito for four dollars, I could always count on Mexican food to give me my dose of grease and spiciness. Since I have been here, I have found many ways to get my fix of grease, including pizza and the ubiquitous kebab, but none quite compare to the melt in your mouth gooeyness of a burrito.
This is not to say that one cannot find the ingredients over here. Avocados, jalapeños, tortillas, limes – all can be found pretty easily in most supermarkets. They are just never combined in the proper combinations to make delicacies such as burritos, guacamole, or enchiladas. After four months of living without such things, I decided to change that.
A Mexican party was the perfect idea to quell the cravings I had been having. On the menu: burritos, guacamole, rice, refried beans, margaritas, and Coronas. What else could I ask for? The day began early, decorating the house with green and red balloons, making a tablecloth to resemble the Mexican flag, making sure I had a sufficient amount of mariachi music on my playlist.
Next came the fun part, the cooking. Now I had never actually tried to make refried beans from scratch. In the States I had always bought them in a can or ordered them at a restaurant. It is a little more complicated than that here, the hardest part being to find pinto beans. After looking at all the main supermarkets in France I almost gave up. However, believe it or not, I finally found them in the Turkish market right across the border in Germany. I even found large tortillas there, perfect for the burritos. The beans took a few hours to cook and in the meantime the smell of rice, meat, vegetables, guacamole and homemade tortilla chips began to fill the apartment. Jalapeños and limes were cut and placed strategically around the table. Cheddar cheese was shredded, and spices added to the dishes last. People started gradually showing up and the time came to test out the giant tortillas and buffet style fillings that would make up our burritos.
The final result turned out pretty well, especially the guacamole, which was a great hit. The atmosphere was festive and I am confident that everyone got an adequate taste of what I miss the most from home. I am also confident that my craving has been satisfied … at least for the next month or two.
1. The Mexican flag
2. My first plate of food: burrito, guacamole, chips and refried beans
4. Some of the hot peppers