- by Cindy
By Hannah Kaiser
Cinco De Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the Mexican Army’s underdog victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It’s a day usually reserved for big parties and large feasts of tacos and tamales. Yet, this Cinco De Mayo may look different than ones in the past. The COVID Pandemic has shut most of us into our homes, preventing large gatherings and the like. But Shelter in Place does not mean the fiesta has to wait. The day can now be celebrated on a smaller scale with those in your home. With your own mini fiesta, you can still commemorate the holiday with a good meal and some colorful, homemade decorations. In this time of crisis, a celebration of victory may be just what is needed to help us through.
As in every party, start with the drinks. A good bet is a classic margarita, or find a recipe with a twist. If a margarita is not your style, try a Paloma instead, one of Mexico’s most popular alcoholic beverages. And the younger ones can still join in on the celebration with some Virgin Piña Coladas.
No Mexican dinner is complete without tortilla chips. If you want to get fancy, you can make your own with this simple recipe. You can also add spices and a hint of lime to spice things up (literally). And don’t forget the dips! Salsa and guacamole are a must. Whether store bought or homemade, this classic is sure to set your dinner off right.
Start off your dinner with a colorful elote salad. With this recipe being based off of Mexican Street Corn, it’s a healthy twist on a beloved treat. The dressing is made up of yogurt instead of sour cream and mayonnaise like the traditional Mexican Street Corn spread. If you want a smoky flavor, you could cook your ears of corn on the grill before removing the kernels.
While tacos are a fan favorite (at least in my family), there are plenty of other traditional Mexican meals you can enjoy. With the extra spare time due to quarantine, why not go for a more intensive dish? This chicken enchilada recipe is a worthwhile time filler. To keep the tortillas from drying, you’ll need to fry them and dunk them in sauce before filling and rolling them up. The recipe may take some prep, but the end result merits all the hard work. Make sure to offer rice and beans on the side. If you still are looking for something quick, this Chicken and Cheese Tortilla Pie is so simple and can be assembled in minutes! It’s a great recipe for a smaller family to share.
On to dessert. There are plenty of options you can choose from to end off your feast, from a custardy flan to sugary churros. This Tres Leches Cake is airy and sweet, a perfect way to finish a big meal. And, being a whole cake, you and your family can enjoy the leftovers for days after.
A fiesta is not just about the food. Make sure your house looks the part too. Get a string of paper banners to hang around your table, a traditional Cinco De Mayo type of decoration. Or, you can make your own. All you need is tissue paper, string, scissors, and tape. A fun activity that also serves as a decoration is to make your own mini piñatas. It’s easier than it sounds, using old cereal boxes instead of paper mache. You can have everyone in your family decorate their own, and then sneak treats inside to be revealed after dinner.
A side effect of living in quarantine is that most of the days seem to blend together. So, even if you don’t normally celebrate the holiday, throwing a mini fiesta for you and your family is a great way to break up the monotony and enjoy yourselves. And if you still crave that large gathering, do a group video call with friends and family. You can even plan on having a virtual meal. Leave a spot at your table for a laptop or plug your video call onto the TV, and together, but separately, come together to eat and celebrate.