North Americans, Cinco de Mayo, & Germany

938790_10151905548707571_1694339661_o You just can’t be Californian, live in Germany, and not celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

You can’t.*

You can probably add to that Arizonans and Texans.

So since we planned on celebrating anyway (not that you need a reason to make as much “Mexican” food as possible) we figured we might as well invite some of our neighbors.

Okay, not just neighbors. Friends. Friends who’ve salivated over the last months when I’ve share about my home-made tortillas on Facebook. Friends who’ve sent subliminal (and liminal) messages to us about sharing those home-made tortillas with them sometime.

They’re bold. Or hungry. Or missing tacos as much as we are.

Conveniently, these friends also happen to have some connection to California, Arizona, and Texas. And Canada. But when I’d mentioned that it was Cinco de Mayo to one of my other sweet Canadian friends (at church) she said, “What’s that?”

But I digress.


My “new” tortilla press. If I were two years old, I might ask to marry it. But I’m not and I understand how marriage works… so I’ll just say… it’s changed my life.

In preparation for our Cinco de Mayo fiesta, I bought every package of Cilantro (Koriander, here) that I could find… which meant one package.

Not bunch.


The kind you might by fresh mint in at Whole Foods. It’s HARD to find. I bought cheddar cheese (a real treat!) and made my famous tortillas. Except they were WAY better this time because my friend gave me her old tortilla press. And I love her for it. Well, I love her for lots of other reasons too… but this sealed the love-deal. Yes, I’m that conditional. Not really. Well maybe.

I woke up early Sunday morning to make over fifty tortilla dough balls and a cake. The cake was for an event I couldn’t attend, and because I felt bad, I offered to make a cake.

At 7am.

Sunday morning.

Right before co-leading musical worship at church. Then I had a “yard sale” in the city-wide flohmarkt and came back to set up for the party… which meant preparing to roll out and cook those fifty dough balls. BUT, to my heart’s delight, I gave one a go on the press and wah-lah! A perfect tortilla. Way better than my rolled-out ones. I sang of my tortilla-press affection over the next half hour of pulling out one beautiful tortilla after another. Okay, it shouldn’t have taken a half hour but I was multi-tasking.

So the people came. Nine adults. Thirteen children. Twenty-two people in our “tiny” house.

There’s a great quote by someone smart that says:

Your house is only as big as your hospitality.

That deserves a post all of its own. Which I will give it. But today, it’s all about food.** And the proof that your home can grow with your hospitality. Ours did.

Our friends came bearing contribution to the fiesta… freshly made salsa, flan, drinks for all, delicious fruit, carnitas- it was a “Mexican” food smorgasbord. It made hearts, taste buds  souls, and tummies alike very happy.


Our friends 🙂

But what made us even happier? Sharing it with our friends. Don’t get me wrong, my heart, taste buds, soul and tummy would have been quite content with all that yummy food and only our family. Well, except that we wouldn’t have had the salsa, drinks, fruit, or flan… it was way better with friends.

Why is this blog worthy? I mean, most of our NA friends eat “Mexican” food on a regular basis.


In Fresno, you can run to the nearest grocery store and walk out in minutes with every item you need (and then some) for your perfect Cinco de Mayo fiesta.

But here, when we say “Cinco de Mayo” they say, “You’ve got a sink in your mayo?”


Most of the time, if I want cilantro, I have to buy a potted plant of it. After I’ve driven twenty minutes. I’m not kidding. And I’m not complaining.

There are two (three depending on if you drive the twenty minutes again) types of tortilla chips… and they mostly taste the same. Nothing like true, restaurant-style chips. You can buy “salsa” (note the quotation marks) at our local specialty store… but apparently Germans think we NAs love sugar so much that we put gobs of it in our salsa too.


And it’s not fresh. Or chunky. Or yummy.

So this was and is a BIG DEAL.

Blog-worthy big.

So you can see what sacrifices we make to live here.

Big ones.

Nearly taco-free ones.

Although I hear there’s a good Mexican restaurant about three hours away…


These cuties enjoyed their Cinco de Mayo goodness on our back patio. SO cute!

This is why we parents actually enjoyed our meal... the thirteen children drew the longest hop scotch in the world. Then hopped it over and over. And over.

This is why we parents actually enjoyed our meal… the thirteen children drew the longest hop scotch in the world. Then hopped it over and over. And over.

*okay, I stand corrected. A fellow Californian informed me that she didn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. So apparently it’s possible to be Californian and not celebrate Cinco de Mayo… even while living in Germany. I just can’t even fathom it… 🙂

** I understand that I’ve just made Cinco de Mayo entirely about food. Really, I used that holiday. Used it, like, to get what I wanted. I know, it’s awful. It could’ve been the President of Mexico’s birthday and I would’ve called my friends to celebrate. With food. Hmmm… that’s not a bad idea. When is his birthday?


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