This weekend, many will celebrate Latino culture with various Cinco de Mayo festivities, such as Cinco de Mayo on Cherokee Street in St. Louis.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican defeat of an invading French army. “By defeating the French at Puebla in 1862,” states Donald W. Miles in his book Cinco de Mayo: What is Everybody Celebrating?, “Mexicans gained the confidence that they could eventually take their country back from foreign invaders and regain their sovereignty.” According to Miles, the defeat was also significant for the United States because it helped to thwart the French plan to conquer and use Mexico “as a base to help the Confederacy defeat the United States in the American Civil War.”
Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in the U.S. than it is in Mexico. However, this year Puebla officials are encouraging American tourists to visit the city where the historic battle took place.
Some Mexican-Americans fighting to counter the popular concept that Cinco de Mayo is merely a drinking fiesta see Puebla’s push as a chance to teach Americans about its significance, and restore at least some of its original meaning as a celebration of self-determination and liberty.
— Huffington Post Hispanic Heritage writer Carlos Harrison in “Cinco De Mayo 2012: How A Mexican Battle Became An American Party“
If you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend, why not include some authentic Mexican recipes in your festivities? Check out the following books from the Culinary Branch of the Hickey College Library:
Culinary Mexico: Authentic Recipes and Traditions (TX716 .M4 H69 2005)
Rick Bayless Mexico One Plate at a Time (TX716 .M4 B29523 2000)