Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the Mexican defeat over the French at a battle in Puebla. Apparently, the Mexican government owed Britain, Spain, and France after the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, but Mexico was broke. The old super powers didn’t like that and wanted their money. Spain and France negotiated a deal with Mexico, but France, ruled by Napoleon III, wanted Mexico more and invaded in 1861. A French force of 8,000 thought to crush the poorly armed 4,500 Mexicans, but on May 5, 1862 the Mexican’s won. This victory was a huge morale-booster for the Mexican army and people.
Although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo, it is not a national holiday in Mexico but it is an official holiday in the State of Puebla, where the Battle took place. However, all public schools are closed nation-wide in Mexico on May 5th. It is also a full holiday (no work) in the neighboring state of Veracruz.
In the United States, the first Cinco de Mayo celebrations began in the Mexican-American communities of the American Northwest, Southwest, and West in the 1860s. It slowly swept across the U.S. over the years. In the 1980s, beer brewers decided to really play it up to sell more beer. In 2005, Congress asked the president to declare it a national holiday. I don’t know if he did. It seems to be just another reason for people to drink, eat Mexican food, and be merry—about like any other weekend across the country. 😋
Isn’t Wikipedia a rather cool place to hang out for a while? It may not be perfect, but it’s better than hunting all over creation for a bit of history here and a bit there. I also found this very cool list of links for traditional authentic Mexican foods. Check it out and give a few a try.
Here is my jacked up version of a Mexican taco joined in holy matrimony with an Italian pizza. 💏 The most difficult part is browning the meat. I used Jennie-O seasoned turkey burgers, crumbled in the skillet just like any other ground meat, but you can use whatever you want. The addition of taco seasoning mix is all it needs to Mexican-ify it. These were a big hit with the family. I loved that they included all the food groups in one healthy dish.
Easy Taco Pizza
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 packets taco seasoning
1 can low-fat refried beans (optional)
1/2 jar salsa
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
4 large flour tortillas or flatout flatbreads
Chopped tomatoes, lettuce, mashed avocado, taco sauce, sour cream, etc.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Brown meat in skillet. Drain fat if there is any. Add in taco seasoning and half the water called for on the packet. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Lay one tortilla on sheet and spread with beans, if using, then a 1/4 of the meat, a couple of tablespoons of salsa, and sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over meat. Cover with second tortilla and repeat the steps.
Bake 13-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are lightly browned.
Cool slightly then cut into wedges. Top with your favorite taco fixings.
*Pictures show recipe doubled.