Thursday, December 28, 2006

La Fiesta en El Jaguey

Yes; yet another fiesta. Yesterday, we had to choose between a large celebration in El Jaguey, about 3 miles east of Las Cuevas, or the local one, at Mateo and Chucha's house. As we had already committed to attending the El Jaguey*, so we went.
(*Jaguey- a pond or charca.)

First, we picked up Mari, her mother and her son, Alejandro at their house. When we arrived at the crossroads entry to the pueblo, several people excitedly rushed up to our Ford Windstar. It turned out that they were expecting the imminent arrival el Obisbo de Morelia. There was a small band, there were dignitaries, there were señoritas bonitas vestidas como guarecitas, there was a police pickup to act as an escort.
The Obispo was late, but eventually arrived. The band struck up, the march commenced, the
cohetes launched skyward, and 10 minutes and one half mile later, we arrived at the church. We left our camioneta at the crossroads but later brought it in closer.

This time, Susan and I sat outside with Alejandro and did not attend the Mass, which was already far beyond the capacity of the larger church. I wandered about, talking with the men cooks in the dining area across the street. They were preparing two huge cazos each of barbacoa a la penca y carnitas. As it turned out, we didn't get to eat any of this, as Mari had an invitation to some friends' home on the outskirts of El Jaguey.

After the Mass, we went to the car and drove less than a mile down and unpaved side road. This area is notable
for its extensive irrigation. A small acequía ran alongside the road.
Soon we arrived at the rancho of Sr. Águstin and Sra. Ángela. They have extensive farm holdings by the look of it. Their several grown daughters were in attendance and displayed great enthusiasm and offered us plates abundantly heaped with mole rojo de pollo (o de guajalote—no estoy seguro de cual), arroz y tortillas. There were plentiful cervezas y refrescos a la mesa, and several dishes filled with pickled chiles Jalapeños of especially fresh, crisp, snappy character. I should have asked where they bought them.
The mole was especially appreciated because it was rich but not excessive, and did not have much, if any sweet taste in it. Further, to our benefit, the bird in question was skinless.

I was still dipping rolled tortillas in my mole when a plate heaped with carnitas arrive. I was just able to try a modest slab of chewy, tasty fried pork. These are the kinds of Mexican foods I most appreciate: relatively simple but well-prepared, unpretentious fare served among friends and family.

We were preparing to leave, when the desserts arrived: a huge sheet cake and at least two large basins of gelatinas. Of course, we had to stay to sample these, although Susan and I had no gelatina. The Primera Comuníon girl, her mother and aunt cut and served the desserts.

After thanking our hosts for their generous and warm hospitality, we drove Mari and family home. Then we had a few minutes to catch our breaths before going over to Chucha and Mateo's house for a sip and some conversation. Their son-in-law, the man married to Verónica, asked me my opinion of the demonstrations
that had taken place in the US by Latinos. I replied that I had a policy of not discussing politics. But, when pressed, I ventured to say that although I was sympathetic to their cause, I thought that the method they had chosen was no effective, but perhaps alienating US citizens. The conversation ended amicably.

Click image below for more photos)

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