Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mexican Food

My breakfast today was leftover enchiladas and Spanish rice. As I was eating I realized that I have some thoughts on how far I have come in nearly 20 years.

I grew up in Ohio, in a very strong German area.Of course all spoke English, but the food was totally influenced by German settlers. In fact a fond memory of childhood was sneaking some cabbage that we were fermenting to Kraut. There really is nothing to describe the taste, and I haven't done this in 28 years, but I can still savior the flavor.

Jump forward to 1988, I had not ever had any Mexican food aside from maybe 5-10 stops at Taco Bell(which is really not Mexican food). While driving to LA, where I was going to become 'someone' I broke down in Colorado. I had to replace fan belts(which they put the wrong ones on)so the car ran poorly. By Nevada, I needed the car checked again.

Now the part that changed my life...I went to a place that had a mechanic on duty. When the mechanic on duty stood up, I asked the cashier, "are you hiring!"(because the mechanic was so handsome, that my breath was taken away)

The mechanic was the owners son and had learned all aspects of the family business. One was taking car of vehicles. In the west distances are so vast, it is hard to imagine, so every business had a mechanic on duty.

Well the owners son answered me, "yes". So I was interviewed on the spot and began working, I became a waitress. I have never waitressed. I went to school in hopes of becoming a teacher. But here I was agreeing to waitress on only one basis. I fell head over heels in love with this young mechanic. I thought his last name was Garcia and he never corrected me, so I was not aware who he was until after he proposed. No it was not that he didn't share about his family, it's that he proposed 2 days after we met!!

Yes, I agreed to marry him and six weeks later we were married. My in-laws had a Mexican restaurant, curio shop, gas station, and auto shop. So my husband and his siblings were raised on hard work. They all built the buildings from the ground up. They truly are ones who achieved the American Dream because they immigrated from Mexico.

So while engaged I waitressed. That was an amazing experience, and as a result I tip well whenever we eat out. But, it was not being friendly, personable, and sweet that caused my struggles...it was the food. It was like I was in the twilight zone. I didn't know what a chimichunga was nor could I recognize any differences in the food. They all looked the same. I guess that helped me during tip time, because I must have seemed so cute, struggling with who's food was who's! In 1988 I made $100.00 a day in tips, plus my wages!

It did not take me long to decipher the foods. And the taste...heavenly! I then recruited my husband and my mother-in-law to teach me the ropes. I am addicted to Mexican Food! I don't know how I lived the first half of my life without it, but I've made it up in the 2nd half(so far).

Funny footnote...while in Germany Bill fell in love with German food, so we do have an equal mix of the two! The kids think its best to combine both in one meal! How's that for combining cultures and backgrounds?


jennifer said...

Te quiero mucho Billy!

Momma Roar said...

While I love enchiladas and mexican rice for lunch or supper, I do not think I could eat them for lunch, lol!
Being in PA, we eat a lot of meat and potatoes - and we like an occasional side of sauerkraut! My parents have even made their own for several years - looking at it like that almost makes me not want to eat it again!

PortraitofPeter said...

An interesting post with an historical flavour. I have a fondness for German food too and regretfully I have never experienced a proper Mexican dish (only from a restaurant here in Scotland - I don't think that counts).

I luv your recount of meeting your husband and of how quickly he proposed too.

A touching story and I luv to quote your piece "combining cultures". How wonderful.

Pam said...

German and Mexican, I must give it a whirl! I am from German descent and my hubby is Mexican! (We have that in common Jen!)He proposed to me after only 6 months of meeting! We eat lots of real authentic Mexican food in our house. My husband loves to cook! I hae learned to do a few dishes with the right amounts of cilantro adn chili's. Poor Peter, you haven't lived until you've had real Mexican food!

Fun post Jen! You are a gutsy girl.

jennifer said...

Jennifer Thanks for loving Bil:)!!!!
Leigh Ann, You really should try breakfast rice and enchiladas it is bold and tasty!
Peter Pam is correct, you someday need to savior Mexican food...ah the taste!
I am surprised at how bold I was as a young woman. I am so thankful that God brought me to my husband. He has been the strength that I lean on for these many years. I know we truly are a match...Except that he is 15 inches taller than me.(I am 5 he is 6'3")
Pam we have so much in common! i love finding out all the similarities, because I know that they are there...we share so much in common. BTW I am not gutsy, just Determined...nothing can defeat my Spirit!

Our Peculiar Life said...

That's too funny! Since I grew up in NM I, too, had lots of mexican food. But my dad is german, so we had lots of german food! Two of my favorite types!!