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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

“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.

@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:

@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:

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

@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

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

Things That Matter

Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com