Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – Live to Blog from a Hot Oven
Yes, it is Cinco de Mayo and it is also Tuesday – which at Taco Bell is Taco Tuesday so, I guess it is Cinco de Mayo Taco Tuesday but that all sounds way to confusing. So, I’m going with pizza…a taco pizza.
How to Avoid Being a Guava on Cinco de Mayo
Unfortunately, most of us Americans who are native born, white, and of Anglo Northern European heritage know very little of other ethnicities, cultures, and languages. Let’s face it and be brutally honest with ourselves. Overall, when it comes to any of these, we are ignoramuses. This is especially true with regard to what we know about Latinos and Hispanics.
Case in point: Cinco de Mayo is a strictly Mexican holiday because it remembers Mexico’s victory over France on May 5, 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. To be clear, it is not Mexican Independence Day. To be even more clear, over the years it has evolved to be a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture, not ALL Latino and Hispanic culture. Still, we wander around on Cinco de Mayo wishing a happy holiday to anyone with a Spanish accent or, we just appropriate the holiday as another reason for drinking beer and eating nachos.
Being an ignoramus, I risked my life when I once – and one time only – wished Clemencia a cheery Happy Cinco de Mayo! The first time I did this I earned a rather lengthy “explanation” (read “lecture”) on the origins of Cinco de Mayo, why it was not her holiday as a native Colombian, and what a gueva gringo I was for not understanding all of that already. Actually, she was right. We gringos are not very good at any history, geography, culture, or language other than our own – and, of course, we tend to think it is all vastly superior to any others.
While Mexico is a Latino and Hispanic country, not all Latinos and Hispanics are Mexicans. Also, just because people identify as Latino does not mean they are from Mexico or even speak Spanish. There is a difference between being Latino and being Hispanic. Latino is an abbreviation of latinoamericano, hence it refers to people living in Latin America. Hispanic, though, refers to countries which are Spanish speaking. Worldwide there are 20 Hispanic countries and 33 Latino countries. Here’s your puzzler for the week: How can a country be Latino but not Hispanic? For a hint, check out this fun video tutorial:
So, to all our Mexican friends, Happy Cinco de Mayo! We wish you a fun, joyous, and safe (socially distancing) celebration!
Love (And Pie!) Makes the World Go Round
I met Beth M. Howard as a result of reading this article in the New York Times. I was captivated by her story, immensely proud to see an Iowan in the news for something good, and decided to connect with her anyway I could. The article also reminded me of a period when, living in Des Moines, I was doing some work in the county next to the one where Beth and her Redheaded Farmer Doug live. My trips from and back to Des Moines would always take me by the American Gothic house and I always loved seeing it.
Intially I reached Beth through her website and then we connected through email. We corresponded for a time and then, on my last trip back home to Iowa in late 2018, I had the opportunity to have dinner with her and Doug. It turns out that Doug and I graduated high school at about the same time and were even on competing high school wrestling teams. We Iowans just love “it’s a small world” stuff like that!
What captivated me about Beth was how she was contributing to the greater good of our world through one of my very favorite things: pie. Beth uses pie and pie baking as instruments of peace and healing in the world. That’s as much of her story I’m going to tell you here because there have been articles written about her, she has a TED Talk, she has written books, and she has a YouTube channel – and most of these are accessible from her website. You can learn more about her in her own words. She has a wonderful story and I hope you’ll take time to learn more about her.
Actually, Beth and Doug have been on my mind a lot recently as I’ve been following the creep of COVID-19 toward my home state. I count them as friends and I’ve had good intentions to drop them a note just to check in but never got around to it with everything else going on.
This morning I opened my email and found this subject line in preview: Love your daily posts. “Who could that fool be?” I wondered. After running through a list all the fools I could think of, I finally opened the email.
I was delighted to find it was not from a fool at all, but from Beth. I felt honored, and a bit embarrassed, to learn she was reading my drivel. But the really exciting news is that she is back to caring for others through the power of pie during this pandemic. She has done six YouTube episodes to teach people how to bake different pies. In episode #7 (below) she features all the pies people have been baking using her lessons.
Check out Beth’s website and subscribe to her YouTube channel, The World Needs More Pie where you can find Episode’s 1 through 6…and start making pie! I bet your mouth is watering anyway so you might as well bake your own, right? Look, Beth has Doug to test the pie she makes and you need a taste tester too. Just sayin’! So, to help you out, I’m volunteering! Email me for my address and box up a piece of your pie. 🙂
Beth, thanks for all you do for the greater good through the power of pie and your caring spirit. At a horrible time like this, the world does need more pie and the love it conveys.
The View from Jeff
The Adventures of Chickenman – Episode 20
Our Fearless Feathered Fighter calls Ms. Helfinger from the Chicken Cave in dire need of her assistance. Will Ms. Helfinger be able to help?
Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and bake two pies – one for yourself and the other for someone who needs a pie today.