When you say "Mole de Caderas" the people who live in Tehuacan stare off into a romantic eyes glazed trance and with excited smiles robitically claim " it is the most delicious of the moles and you must try it"
Mole de Caderas
|Stirring the soup with Uriel |
is a soup made from the spine and hips of a goat that is not given any water but lots of salt for a period of time.
It adds to the flavor we are told so who am I to argue. The soup is made in a huge pot with the spine and hips of the goat with the slow cook bone marrow the delicacy of the night. People start talking about it in August and for whatever reason it is only available during October. It was a pleasant surprise when Uriel, one of my students who I have had for both semesters, brought his family in to meet me. After pleasantries I was invited to have Mole with the family and I immediately accepted. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I was told I could bring a friend so naturally I brought Lucy who fits in where ever she goes with her great attitude and infectious laugh. Uriel and his father picked us up at the school for the short ride to their house. It was only after we walked in and saw the 4 long tables set up that we were told that the entire family was joining us or more to the point we were joining them. With a beer in hand we were off and running.
|Lucy's photo op with Uriel|
We were quickly introduced to Uriels mother and two grandmothers who were cooking up a storm in the kitchen. We were taken to the Mole pot and explained how it was prepared. Ingredients included the goat spine and hips, large bean pods, avocado leaves which gave it an intense anise taste plus tomato, onion and various herbs and spices. It smelled fantastic.
The came the grandfathers who could not have been more polar opposite. Grandpa 1 was calm and reserved, polite and welcoming. Grampa 2 would be considered clinically insane in any other country other than Mexico...but in the good insane way.
We sat with him immediately and with a big smile and a huge that could crush a car Lucy and I knew where we would be spending our time with. Grampa was going to be fun. Lucy immediately spilled her first beer which was a prelude to how our night was going to go.
|Grampa and his Mescal |
The first beer was delicious and another just appeared when my head was turned talking to Grandpa. He then summoned Uriel to "show them the Mescal bottle
" but this was not to be a show and tell display. Like Ninja warriors one of the Grandmas appeared with tall shot glasses and a devilish grin. They had an evil Mexican plan for the gringo teachers.
As family members started arriving Grampa poured another shot.
"Mescal makes you strong, look how many children I have". Later we found
out there were 150 direct family members in the vicinity, tonight there
would only be 50 showing up. Way to go Grampa!
Uriel we are
finished the mescal, get the tequila. Lucy looked at me and we both had a
sudden realization that this Sunday afternoon was not going to be a
simple meal with a students family. We just fell into the deep end of
the pool with Grandpa holding the life preservers.
|So out comes the aged tequila|
I have to admit both the mescal and tequila, which are a little bit different, were both delicious. They were nothing like the harsh headache inducing gasoline we choose to hurt ourselves with in Canada and Australia. We had tequila with lemon, tequila with lemon and salt, "get Lucy and Ken another beer"
, tequila with nothing (my personal choice). More new family to meet and Grandpa pouring more to celebrate their arrival. Everyone greeted us warmly and with huge hugs and what turned out to be knowing smiles. It was a family conspiracy I say, a conspiracy.
|Finally the soup..and more mescal|
We arrived at the house around 2:30, by 3:30 we were being destroyed by Bad Grandpa and his Legion of Distruciton that included Bad Grandmas. The soup arrived along with a small plate of pasta followed by chicken soft shelled tortillas with a nice white cream sauce and cheese cake. Each course separated by...you got it, a few more mescal and giggles from Grandpa. Needless to say the food was tremendous and the Mole, although an interesting mix was impressive. Dinner ended around 6:00 and I figured we were home free. A fund afternoon with good food and great new friends but I need to remember that Mexicans love to party, especially with family.
|Mole and Mescal a perfect combo|
As Lucy and I are deciding our exit strategy in walk a man and his two kids carrying speakers, assorted cables and microphones. Oh shit, Karaoke! As it turned out they were the entertainment for the evening and each of them could belt out a tune. Uriels father comes by with more beer and now Lucy has taken charge of the tequila bottle. "So what its a Sunday afternoon turning into a Sunday night and we both have to teach early in the morning
" says anyone having this much fun. We had one moment of family concern when Lucy went outside for a smoke and probably a bit of a break. I went out to check on her...and so did everyone else who came right behind me. They were genuinely concerned but once they realized it was just basically a fresh air break they were OK. They were seriously concerned and the entire party stopped to make sure Lucy was OK. Amazing people.
The longer we stayed the more fun we had. Various family members lost their inhibitions and come over to chat. As usually everyone fell in love with the antics and laughter of Lucy. I had a couple of younger kids sit near me and start asking questions about Canada, did I like Mexico?, Do you like Mescal?..and yes the 8 year old kid poured me one. It was hilarious really. However, the thing I noticed was no kid or teenager was disrespectful to us or any adult. They helped the woman in the kitchen, cleared plates when asked and just seemed to enjoy themselves and being with each other. Nowhere in site was there a mobile device. It was family time and everyone respected that.
The singing was impressive and we just sat back and enjoyed it. Around 800 we decided we needed to show some responsibility (we laughed pretty hard when we said that) and get make our escape. We started to say good bye to everyone but there was one last gift to us. There would be a tribute song that we had to stay for, so we did. Naturally it was more for my pal Lucy but all the attention turned to us as the singers belted out something I did not understand. It could have been in English but I only was understanding Mescal. I grabbed Lucy and did a little dance to which everyone went "ahhhhhh, bonito esposos", they thought we were married. I guess the thought of a 54 year old Canadian and a 23 year old Australia being married did not even phase them. We naturally played it up.
We finally said our good byes and stared the walk home. I vaguely knew where we were and Tehucan is in a grid so finding home was easy enough. Along the way one of us fell down and started laughing so hard they could not get up (YES YOU LUCY IF YOU ARE READING THIS). After an incredible afternoon with the most hospitable people followed by a funny walk home we walked into the house to the staring eyes of our roommates. "Jesus what happened to the two of you"
is all I heard as I headed upstairs and went immedately to bed. I think it was 8:30
As an epilogue Uriel did not come to school the next day regardless of the fact his class is at 7pm. It was on Tuesday that he told me that at 10 pm they ran out of booze and went searching for more and that the party did not end until after 3 am. Lucy and I were lightweights compared to the Grandpas.
"Mescal makes you strong, look at how big my family is".
Yes Grandpa, your a bit crazy but a lot of amazing. It took me 2 full days get feel a little bit normal and I am sure you woke up at your normal time and was at the garage working without any issues. Your a Mexican Mescal swilling rockstar Grandpa. So much so you deserve a second picture.
|Grandpa looks like the Mescal bottle|