Wednesday, September 16th, is Mexican Independence Day. Many Americans falsely believe that Mexican Independence is celebrated on Cinco de Mayo, or the 5th of May. Perhaps because the 5th of May sounds so like the 4th of July, and it is at a time, in the calendar year, that ushers in the warmer weather after a chilly Spring, always a cause for celebration! Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This event occurred almost 50 years after Mexican Independence was secured.

A brief history about how Mexico gained its independence from the Spanish. Mexico was known as New Spain and was under Spanish rule up until 1810. Jose Bernardo Guitierrez de Lara went to the town of Delores to ask a Roman Catholic priest to aid in the effort to free New Spain from the grip of the Spanish Empire. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bells of his church as a call to arms. This action is credited with igniting the Mexican War of Independence. It was Mexico’s “shot heard ‘round the world.”

Today, as tradition would have it, the President of Mexico re-enacts “The Cry of Dolores” every year on September 16th, ringing the same bell Hidalgo did in 1810. The town of Dolores is today known as Dolores Hidalgo, in honor of the bell ringer, not for Guitierrez de Lara, who requested the action and began the revolutionary movement. Clearly there is so much more to this story that cannot be relayed here, but such heroic actions may very well have been inspired by newly independent countries France and the United States of America.

Perhaps one of the best ways to honor this celebration is by serving up some delicious Mexican recipes. Look at three below, then click on the image of your choice to be directed to its recipe. Once you have made your selection, contact your Quaker Valley Foods sales representative to get pricing and availability on the items you need.

Chorizo Tamales ( Photo: Keith King

Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Potatoes and Guacamole ( Photo: Ramulo Yanes

Skirt Steak Fajitas with Grilled Cabbage and Scallions ( Photo: Marcus Nilsson