Attention Vagabond readers! I’m about to blow your mind! Have you ever had Pozole? No? Que lastima! What a shame! Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup comprised of oh so many delicious ingredients! But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me set the scene, an occasion that warmed my heart and uplifted my spirits, and reminded me that I am happy to be doing what I am doing no matter the hardships I encounter. I was invited by a tutor with my program to the birthday party of one of the children of his students. To be honest, I was quite nervous. I hadn’t yet had to speak Spanish very much and was anxious that I would say or do something wrong. I was introduced to the wife and was happy to discover that I had met her before. She and I chatted and we talked with the children (laughing that their 2 year old cried whenever the tutor tried to talk to him). The godparents arrived, and he spoke broken English with the tutor while I chatted in Spanish with the godmother. Eventually, more families came, giving us sideways looks, and we helped set up the tables and chairs. Brad (the tutor) stuck close to his student Federico and the godfather, while I chatted with Maria (Federico’s wife) and the godmother. She kept offering me a taste of the soup, or a drink, or some chips, and gave me a questioning look whenever I declined. (I have discovered that most of our students think it strange if you decline something they offer.) Finally, the godmother told me to go sit next to the men because her husband spoke some English. We chatted, I made fun of Brad (in Spanish which he doesn’t speak) but he got the gist and was happy to be the subject of laughter. In a mix of Spanish and English the godfather told stories that made us laugh in between large spoonfuls of Pozole, which they taught us how to eat. Federico said that Maria was going crazy getting things together for the party and hadn’t sat down, so I went to tell her how wonderful everything was and how delicious the food had been. Brad played with the children while I talked with the godmother. We left the party far sooner than everyone else. I kissed each cheek of the godmother, and told Maria again how wonderful it had been. The godfather thanked me for keeping him company, and as I walked out the of the door, Maria took me by the arm, smiled, and thanked me for being there, but she was so serious that she said it twice. With teary eyes, I gave her a kiss on the cheek and said goodbye to the children, laughing again as the youngest ran away from Brad. I felt the happiest I had felt since moving to Reno. Later, I was told that Pozole was like a traditional chicken soup to us gringos, and that I should feel really cool to have been part of the celebration. This Vagabond was home….
Pozole, is hard to describe. There is a tasty broth, slightly spicy and oily, but that doesn’t make up the soup. The major components are a kind of exploded corn, which I guess is hominy, and pork roast. The soup (which is really a stew) is ladled into a bowl and topped with radish, onion, cabbage, lime juice, and for the brave of heart, chili sauce. It is definitely a meal in and of itself.
Check out this link for a great Pozole recipe: