The other day someone told me he knew where I could get some really good Mexican food, and that one of the restaurants was “authentic”. I wish he hadn’t said that, because it struck me like a knife. Authentic! it’s piercing syllables stabbing my heart like a murderous rage. It’s meaning diminished the moment it left his lips, fading into thin air.
What do you know about authentic? What do you know about tacos being a way of life? Where miraculous tortillas become utensils instead of choices on a menu? Please spare me your limited knowledge of the burrito and chimichanga. Authentic derives from the tireless hands of mothers who adore their children. Fathers whose place at the table is earned, because he was able to provide for his family. The aromas of our cuisine fill the air like a thick fog of nostalgia.
It is the smell of chorizo waking you up in the morning and arroz con leche putting you to bed at night. Frijoles become the side dish of every meal, and sometimes the main course served with cilantro and queso fresco. Your americanized dishes are made from spices we don’t use, and don’t need. We use limes like a condiment, and fill the air with cooked meats we purchased from the local carnicería. Our tamales are wrapped gifts received during the traditional holidays, not food to feed your drunken stupor! Cuz we have pozole for that. Sundays are a celebration of a struggling work week. Because you see God is good, and carnitas always taste best with family. Our food tells a story, it conveys an emotion of love and spirit. Sweet and spicy mole’s smother pollo like a mothers love, and Tortillas de harina mold to shape in the hands of our beautiful abuelita.
This is our undisputed origin, where salsa is made on guajacas that invade your soul like a passionate wildfire. So the next time you decide to recommend a restaurant that serves “authentic” mexican food. Understand that “authentic” is not made in a restaurant it is made in the hearts of homes that feed our spirit.