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her menu a bit, substituting flour tortillas for corn tortillas and incorporating ground beef. Chris explains that a custom for Maria’s family is celebrating large and small special occasions with parties and gatherings. I asked if they celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Chris explained that Maria is not accustomed to the holiday as it’s celebrated mainly in one state in Mexico. Maria feels fortunate to be able to visit her remaining family in Mexico on an annual basis. Though her parents are now deceased, her four brothers, who have visited her in the United States, and extended family still reside in Mexico. Her sisters are all living in the United States, all having made the journey around the same time frame. She explains that it’s nice to visit everyone at home, but she is glad to be living in the United States. Maria discusses some of the biggest differences she sees between Mexican and American culture is that here, there’s always the pressure to be places at a certain time and many people are always occupied with their phones. Her Mexican culture is more laid back, explaining that it’s often not so much about a schedule as just coming when you are able to make it. She also feels that her homeplace is more familyoriented but explains that it could be because much of her family lives there. Maria feels that there are more opportunities for her and her children in the United States. She feels an advantage she has given her children was the opportunity to obtain experience with both English and Spanish languages and being able to fluidly switch back and forth between the two. Their two dogs, Nala and Paloma even know commands in both languages, showing me their knowledge of “treat” and “sit” as I watched, fascinated. Maria enjoys being in the United States and is glad that she made the decision to come here. She’s happy that Chris can also experience her Mexican culture during their visits, explaining that visiting a small farm in Mexico is a much different experience than visiting a vacation resort. After the interview, the family welcomed me to their table for delicious Sopes. The meat and ingredients used in this dish can also be used to make tacos or burritos. Maria had pre-made the Sopes “bowls,” which were basically a small tortilla shaped into a tiny bowl. I watched as she fried the little bowls until crispy and I added my selection of meat, beans and toppings on top of the little tortilla. The meal was extremely delicious and enticed me to try it at home, though I know it won’t be nearly as tasty as hers. It’s interesting to learn about other cultures and compare their traditions with our own. Doing this makes you really appreciate living in the United States, where so many have given us the freedom to share and carry out our individual traditions. Beekley has shared with us a few of her favorite recipes, listed below. Sopes Ingredients: • Vegetable oil (to fry the tortillas) • Maseca Instant Corn Masa flour Toppings: • Queso fresco • Shredded chicken or Steak, cooked to your liking • Lettuce • Sour Cream • Salsa Instructions: Maseca and water are mixed per packaging instructions. Small, thick tortillas are made and fried to your liking. (You can also find pre-made Sopes bowls in some stores, usually near the tortillas). Either shredded chicken or steak can be used for topping. If steak is used, simply cut up into small pieces and season to your liking. Once thick tortilla is fried, it is topped with choice of meat, shredded lettuce, sour cream, queso fresco, and salsa. This is a very simple dish, yet very tasty. Posole Ingredients: • 3/4 cup dried chiles de arbol • 4 or 5 dried ancho chiles • 6 cloves garlic (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped) • Kosher salt • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut in half • 2 teaspoons ground cumin • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil • 1 large white onion, chopped • 8 cups water • 1 tablespoon dried oregano • 1 bay leaf • (3) 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed • Diced avocado, shredded cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and/or fresh cilantro, for topping Directions: Break the stems off the chiles de arbol and ancho chiles and shake out as many seeds as possible. Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, weigh down the chiles with a plate to keep them submerged and soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chiles and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids. Rub the pork all over with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pot; add the pork to the other side and sear, turning, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Stir in water, oregano, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the chile sauce (depending on your liking). Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Partially cover and cook, turning the pork a few times, until tender, about 3 hours. Stir in the hominy and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the pork starts falling apart, about 1 more hour. Remove the bay leaf. Add some water or broth if the Posole is too thick. Season with salt. Serve with assorted toppings and the remaining chile sauce. vCULTURE continued on page 14 HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2018v13

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