May 5, 2011

The story behind 5 de Mayo & a recipe to celebrate!

Being Mexican, born and raised in Mexico City, it has always being interesting to observe the celebrations happening in the United States when 5 de Mayo hits the calendar every year.

Many believe that 5 de mayo celebrates the Mexican Independence anniversary, but the Mexican Independence is September 16th.

Here is the story: After the USA-Mexican war in XIX (19th) Century, Mexico suffered an economic crisis as a consequence. In 1861, the then Mexican President Benito Juarez declared that Mexico would take two years before it started paying any international debts.

Even though Juarez said Mexico would restart payment in 1863, this promise was not acceptable for Great Britain, France and Spain.  Great Britain and Spain softened their position after Mexico made a noble acceptance of the debt not denying payment but declaring honestly that the truth was that even though Mexico would like to pay, there was no money to do so, making famous the phrase:

Debo no niego, pago no tengo (I owe, I don’t deny; payment I don’t have);

France insisted in obtaining their money by force. Napoleón Bonaparte, then French emperor, named one of his relatives, the Archduke Maximillian of Austria, as Mexico’s leader.

While attacking Mexico City, the French army encountered a powerful Mexican resistance.

On May 5th, 5 de mayo, 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza and his Mexican army defeated the French army in what it was called “La Batalla de Puebla” (the Puebla battle).

This Mexican victory was a surprise, because the French army was bigger and had superior arms.

According to the adage, it is possible to win the battle and lose the war. The French won other battles and Maximillian became the Mexican leader by force in 1864. But the French, confronted with such strong Mexican resistance and some pressure from the United Sates, retired their troops in 1867.

5 de Mayo is a day that celebrates the courage to fight against oppression. Maybe that is why this day becomes popular wherever there is Mexican blood.

Here is a delicious Mexican recipe for you:

Frijoles Charros:

Note: You can substitute any meat out if you are vegetarian, or simple avoid it, though it would not be Frijoles Charros..! Still it would be delicious!


  • 1 pound of beans
  • 2 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1 white onion (1/2 whole, 1/2 chopped)
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt
  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered chicken broth
  • 1 sliced serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 5 ounces of bacon cut into small pieces
  • 5 ounces of chorizo
  • 5 ounces of pork rinds in small pieces (optional)
  • 2 sliced turkey sausages (optional).


  1. Leave a pot of beans covered in water overnight.
  2. The following day replace the water – adding a sufficient amount to begin cooking.
  3. As the water reaches its boiling point, add the ½ onion and garlic cloves.
  4. Cook until done, then add salt according to taste.
  5. In a frying pan with a small amount of cooking oil, fry the bacon and chorizo for about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped onion, the chilli pepper and tomato and continue to fry.
  7. Add the fried ingredients to the pot of beans.
  8. Once the mixture is brought to boil, add the cilantro, pork rinds and sausages. Season with salt and powdered chicken broth.
  9. Serve.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Delicious!



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