Culture

Mole Is One Of The Most Recognizable Foods In The World. Here’s How It Came To Be

Literally all we know from our Mexican childhoods is that mole is the special sauce that mami brings out for special occasions. Like the day after Thanksgiving, or Noche Buena. I come from a family of lazy Latinos, so we never make mole from scratch, but somehow, it was still always reserved for blow out meals. No back story, just thick, spicy, chocolate sauce all over turkey leftovers.

Nobody really knows the origin of mole, but Puebla and Oaxaca claim that they are the sauce’s home.

CREDIT: @ricarpach / Twitter

There are dozens of different types of mole sauces, but the two most popular come from Puebla and Oaxaca. If you’ve ever had mole negro, you’ve had the most complex and savory moles around, from Oaxaca. What makes it different is the hoja santa, a native plant to the region that tastes like a combination of eucalyptus, licorice, anise, nutmeg, mint and black pepper.

Like every Latino origin story, nuns are at the center.

CREDIT: @iwitnest / Twitter

There are a few different legends, but the most famous takes place in the colonial period in Puebla at the Convent of Santa Clara. The nuns were told an archbishop was going to unexpectedly join them for a meal. The broke nuns started praying and started combining bits of what they had on hand: chili peppers, spices, old bread, nuts and some chocolate.

God answered their prayers and with that, mole was born.

CREDIT: @hereandnow / Twitter

They killed an old turkey and served the sauce over him/her. The bishop loved it and asked the name of the dish. She just said, “Me hizo un mole,” i.e. “mix” and the name stuck every since.

On average, moles require an average of 20-30 ingredients.

CREDIT: @MiaMBloom / Twitter

Mole poblano uses an average of 20 ingredients while Oaxacan moles can use over 30 ingredients. The chocolate is always added at the end of cooking, if used at all.

Back in the day, all the women in the family would come together to make the sauce.

CREDIT: @isaidominguez / Twitter

Traditionally, it would take a whole day to roast and grind the chiles, tomatillos, dried fruits and spices by hand. This is why it’s something reserved for special occasions. You have to make it in a large batch for it to all be worth it.

Thank God for Doña María.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Walmart. 13 October 2018.

I am certain that it doesn’t taste as good as fresh mole, but ain’t nobody got time to spend a whole day making sauce. Unless you dare tell your mama you’re bored and then she’ll put you to work.

Fact: mole goes on turkey if formal and chicken if casual.

CREDIT: @CHOW / Twitter

It’s just how it is. It’s how the nuns did it, so the turkey is more sagrada or something. Either way, remember to mmmm and ay, que rico after the first bite or you’ll cause a fight with the chef.

Don’t worry, veganos. Mole is easily veganized.

CREDIT: @mrgan / Twitter

Instead of using chicken broth to dilute the paste, you can use veggie broth or water, and top it over some roasted delicata squash. Disfrute.

Fun fact: Mexico City airport once admitted that mole can register a positive for explosives.

CREDIT: @mathewrodriguez / Twitter

As visitors leave Mexico City with pounds of mole powder and pastes that carry a very strong odor, they are often stopped by security agents are alerted. Our stomachs are steel.

One step removed from tradition is pouring it over enchiladas.

CREDIT: @chef_bryantk / Twitter

And by “tradition,” I mean the old tales of nuns killing old turkeys to impress an old guy. In my carb-loving opinion, enchiladas are far superior to any kind of meat.

Mole belongs on literally everything. Try me.

CREDIT: @eatdrinkvegan / Twitter

It’s the American way. Replace protein with fried corn chips. You’re basically looking at a metaphor for you, the Latino-American.

Some chefs have started to use mole sauce in lieu of tomato sauce for Mexi-pizza.

CREDIT: “Chicken Mole Pizza – lacocinadeleslie.com” Digital Image. La Cocina de Leslie. 13 October 2018.

I am 100 percent here for that. Tomato sauce is the mayo of the sauce world. Bring on the mole.

Go ahead. Pour that mole on your fries.

CREDIT: @LAist / Twitter

Again, here we go replacing tomatoes with chiles and chocolate. It’s a no-brainer which one will taste better, because mole simply tastes delicious on everything.

Meet the Mexican Benedict:

CREDIT: @lasandiatc / Twitter

I’m screaming. Yes, that’s a poached egg doused in mole over braised lechón on a sope on a “bed” of refried beans. Someone make this for me.

Another example of how you can use mole in lieu of ketchup for every occasion:

CREDIT: @lilwoodys / Twitter

I mean, am I wrong? If you live in LA, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a burger joint that doesn’t have a “Mexican-style” burger that is not covered in (probably Doña María) mole sauce.

Some Mexican spots are experimenting with Thai fusion.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Twitter

The Blank Ant in New York City serves mole over deep fried egg rolls and it looks incredible. It’s deep fried, so it’s effectively Mexican.

An NYC restaurant has been reported serving mole over crispy duck dumplings.

CREDIT: @jeaniuseats / Twitter

Chef Mario Hernandez at The Black Ant NYC has been serving “Holy Mole to Mexican Crispy Duck Dumplings.” He opts for a Oaxacan mole negro, pears and sprinkles of creamy queso fresco.

If you’ve heard of the Black Ant before, it’s because they’re known for serving ‘gourmet’ insects.

Claro, se puede ponerlo en burritos.

CREDIT: @VictoriasTavern / Twitter

It’s a given, but it’s worth mentioning the next time you consider getting Chipotle. Remember: they don’t have la salsa sagrada.

Use it as a base for chili.

CREDIT: @BetterForYou1 / Twitter

At that point though, you might as well just toss in a few Doña Marías. I mean, all those tomatoes are straight up drowning out the flavor, but who am I to judge?

I pray for a world where we can just buy traditional mole in bulk.

CREDIT: @davidrpoliti / Twitter

Oh, espera. That world exists. It’s Mexico, baby, and next time I go, I’m setting off all the TSA alarms.


READ: You May Know Them As Tamales, But In These Countries They’re Known As Something Else

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Glass Gem Corn Is Getting A Lot Of Love After A Man Tweeted His First Harvest Of The Season

Culture

Glass Gem Corn Is Getting A Lot Of Love After A Man Tweeted His First Harvest Of The Season

While the Internet might call it “Ghey Corn,” this rainbow-colored corn variety is officially dubbed Glass Gem corn. Not only are there a rainbow of colorful kernels, but they’re also shiny, prompting the ‘Glass’ description. The person responsible for our new favorite, gay-friendly corn is a man by the name of Carl Barnes, who passed in 2016. Barnes enjoyed his life in Oklahoma and cultivated his own personal seed bank passed down from his Cherokee ancestors. Barnes chose to save and replant the seeds from the cobs with the most color, and eventually developed strains of vibrant corn.

One day, Barnes decided to move and asked his friend, Greg Schoen, to protect the seeds. Schoen grew a small handful of the seeds and was shocked when he peeled back the corn stalk to reveal rows and rows of shiny, rainbow-colored corn. Schoen was so excited, he posted the image to his Facebook, and it promptly went viral. Soon, the two cultivated enough seeds to sell online, and people around the country have grown gorgeous varieties.

Green thumbs around the world bought satchels of the precious seed and the following season, were “blown away.”

Credit: @watermicrobe / Twitter

While Schoen may have initiated the first viral sensation over Glass Gem corn in 2012, Ameet Pinto’s viral post has become Mother Nature’s best queer bait yet. With over 7k likes, “I STAN GAY CORN” is the most liked comment. Then, “Taste the rainbow.” 

Some people literally cannot believe this is corn, accusing Pinto of creating a jelly bean cob.

Credit: @mr_plantgeek / Twitter

“Those are just jellybeans ur not foolin me!!!!!” commented one unbeliever. Someone else seems to think that a profitable venture would be to sell the kernels as jelly beans as a scam. Still, others are bringing the negativity to this rainbow party, assuming that because the cob looks different from the mono-crop, that it must be a GMO frankencorn. “Glad to see people trying to live in Chernobyl,” tweets one disbelieving Shane. 

Glass Gem corn is not a GMO crop.

Credit: @Rainmaker1973 / Twitter

In fact, this variety likely healthier than the corn you might buy at a store, which may have been genetically modified rather than artificially selected. Barnes artificially selected the prettiest corn from his crop and decided to grow from those seeds the following year.

When folks hear the story of Carl Barnes, it just adds a whole new depth to the color.

Credit: @CwdickD / Twitter

“Fun fact about these is that they were discovered by a dude who was half-Cherokee and he started growing a sh**load of different corn types to reconnect with his heritage,” tweeted one person. As Barnes was artificially selecting which corn kernels he’d store as seeds for the next year, he grew closer with his Cherokee heritage.

For those of you expecting rainbow colored popcorn, don’t.

Credit: Glass Gem Corn / Facebook

All that’s left of the kernel when you pop the corn is usually that brown kernel skin that gets stuck in your teeth. In the case of Glass Gem corn, you can sort of make out the varying colors of popped kernels, but the popcorn itself is the same color as regular Joe Schmoe popcorn.

The Glass Gem corn isn’t that sweet.

Credit: @SlowFoodUSA / Twitter

According to Pinto, the corn isn’t sweet like yellow corn, so it doesn’t make for good fresh esquites or elotes. All popcorn comes from different varieties of corn that you have to dehydrate to turn into cornmeal or popcorn. “We’ll be eating some colorful popcorn this winter,” Ameet tweeted.

There’s even a Facebook group for Glass Gem growers to share their growing tips and cooking tips.

Credit: Glass Gem Corn / Facebook

In case you were wondering, the Facebook group “Glass Gem Corn” says you can prepare creamy Glass Gem polenta by following these instructions: “Pour into a shallow pan to cool. Cut into squares and lightly brown in a sauté pan.” We don’t know how you do it but keep on making gay polenta, please.

All in all, the Internet is pretty a-maize-d by the gay corn.

Credit: @DonConklin5 / Twitter

“Corn says lgbtq rights,” tweeted one stan. We’re with them. This is one of those moments that we’re allowed to be in wonder over how indigenous folks cultivate the land.

READ: Oaxaca Is Mexico’s Cultural Capital And Home To Its Largest Indigenous Communities, Here’s What You Need To Know

PSA: Here Is How You Can Pit An Avocado And Not Give Yourself Avocado Hand

Culture

PSA: Here Is How You Can Pit An Avocado And Not Give Yourself Avocado Hand

candypandawax / _sylviecouture_ / Instagram

So yes, there have been multiple reports of people injuring their hands while trying to cut and remove the pits of avocados. But this should not keep us away from one of the Latin American fruits par excellence. The avocado tree probably has its origin in South Central Mexico. In strict terms, the avocado is a berry with a very large pit in the middle. 

Avocado is one of the great gifts of the Americas to the world, as commercial production has expanded all throughout the world. The tree benefits from war, Mediterranean climates and thrives in semiarid landscapes. In Australia, for example, avocado, locally known as simply “avo” is perhaps the most popular fruit. Avo on toast is a staple in cafes and homes all through the country. 

However, the expansion of avocado has also brought some minor tragedies with it due to the lack of experience that some home cooks have in the arts of fruit chopping.

Credit: animationblock / Giphy

Yes, we are actually not kidding: avocado slicing has spilled more blood than a serial killer in a slasher film!

A nicely sliced avocado has got to be one of the most beautiful sights on planet Earth! We understand why people want to get it just right. 

Credit: the_chopping_block / Instagram

Seriously. This fleshy fruit gives us beautiful hues of green when opened and its firm meat allows us to shape in in all kinds of interesting ways. Close your eyed and imagine a bowl of perfect avocado cubes… you will smell a fresh tortilla heating on the comal. Taquito de aguacate, anyone?

So first things first: the infamous “Avocado Hand.”

Credit: @gabbytakesnaps / Twitter

This seems to be a sort of accidental outbreak of lack of common sense among gringos worldwide (and by gringos we also mean British, Canadian, Australian and European folk). According to Food & Wine, “approximately 8,900 emergency room visits in 2018 could be directly tied to avocados”. That is like a small town of people running around the kitchen like headless chickens holding a paper towel to their hands and screaming “Oh-My-God” while shedding a tear. 

And no, it is not an urban legend, Avocado Hand actually exists.

Credit: @mrsfergusonxoxo / Twitter

So contrary to, say, apples, avocados have a soft skin and soft flesh. And contrary to, say, watermelon, they do not have a hard bit to get through. Some people underestimate how easily the knife will cut through the flesh and end up putting too much pressure on the knife while keeping their palms or fingers directly opposite. The result: blades penetrate through human flesh, savaging skin and painting a symphony of crimson pain. But avocado is soft and cuts easily, and everyone should know that. In Mexico, the government once financed a campaign to promote avocado consumption, and called the fruit “the butter of vegetables”. 

Some people are just displaying their injuries like war wounds to be proud of

Credit: candypandawax / Instagram

In this day and age of selfies and a sometimes unhealthy obsession with self-branding, some are actually publishing photos of their avocado hands as if they were a badge of honor. Seriously, ladies and dudes, no one wants to see those stitches and gooey stuff coming out of your fingers, especially not on a closeup. Please just don’t! 

And even get tattoos to celebrate the accident.

Credit: _sylviecouture_ / Instagram

Well, we actually have to admit this one is pretty funny and kinda cool. We love the minimalist outline and the dramatic nature of this skin art piece. It is Shakespearean and hipster in equal measures. 

So avocado hand pins are a thing, apparently.

Credit: toucantango / Instagram

Do you know how Boy and Girl Scouts wear all sorts of badges on their uniforms to celebrate their achievements? Well, if you had an avocado hand incident and for some reason, you are proud of it, you can wear this pin. Alternatively, you could also wear it as a reminder of your encounter with the cuchillo, so you remember to be very careful when cutting and pitting a delicious avocado. 

Use a spoon, people.

Credit: @qvh / Twitter

So here’s the deal. Using a knife to take the seed out might look cool, but it is not for everyone. Do it safely and please use a spoon and just scoop the seed out. You might lose some of the flesh, but that’s OK (better than losing a finger). 

This technique is for expert knife-handlers only, so don’t attempt at home. Frankly, this is a show off technique for mamones.

Credit: mashable / Giphy

Seriously, this technique is a bit silly even for experienced cooks. 

If you are feeling creative, pixelate your avocado.

Credit: Anonymous / Giphy

One of the newest hipster trends in the cafe industry is to serve pixelated avocados, which basically look like this. Just use an extremely thin and sharp knife, place the avocado on board, get your fingers away from the bottom of the fruit and cut it in cubes, little by little, stopping just before you hit the skin. The results are fun and give us una onda de los ochentas

And some people take their carving obsession to the extreme: introducing avocado art.

Credit: theavocadoshow / Instagram

Just wow. This is already an Instagram trend and features some pretty dedicated avocado lovers. The fruit gets all-black quickly after being cut open when exposed to room temperature, so the most experiences avocado carvers perfect their skills in walk-in fridges. Yes, it is pretty, but with all due respect, it is also a little pointless. 

But if you think you just can’t slice an avocado without injuring yourself, you can get one of these contraptions.

Credit: takemymoney / Instagram

If you have to trust or faith in your abilities, you can buy one of these plastic utensils that cut, slice and pit avocados in a safe, child-friendly way. No blades or pointy ends to be scared of! No one if judging if you get one! This is actually a good tool to get the chamaquitos to help in the kitchen. Guacamole para todos!

But always remember avocados are not to blame.

As they say, don’t shoot the messenger. The humble avocado is just the conduit through which an entire generation of foodies has come to the realization that they suck at handling knives. We also have to be aware of the fact that thousands of farmers and workers depend on avocado crops. In the state of Michoacan, in central Mexico, many families survive working in big avocado plantations. This state has been ravaged by cartel-related violence and the avocado industry is one of the few stable sectors in the industry. So think twice before affecting the industry. 

By the way, the word avocado comes from aguacate, which comes from an indigenous word that means testicles… you are welcome.

Credit: makeitmove / Giphy

Yes, the English word avocado comes from the Spanish aguacate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl. This word, you guessed it, means “testicle”. This is probably due to the likeness of the fruit and the male body part. We dare you to eat your next avocado and not think about this. Smashed avocado, compadres? Ouch!

READ: Avocado Hand Is Sending People To The ER In Record Numbers And Abuelas Everywhere Are Left Asking Why