In the midst of this intense summer heat wave, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice cold paleta. Question is, if you were a paleta, which flavor would you be? Avocado? Pepino con limón? Take this personality quiz to find out…
We don’t know what the rest of the world does with corn, but Latinos know how to treat corn right. That’s probably because corn comes from Mexico, and through colonization and globalization, the juicy vegetable has spread to all corners of the world. The corn industry is massive–used to create ethanol fuel, alcohol, cornstarch, and even animal feed. Nope. Not for us.
Mexicans and other Latinos have a more one-on-one relationship with the crop. We’ve turned corn into a staple dish–using the masa to make tortillas, tamales, and desserts. Eloteros have been lovingly feeding us elotes and esquites for a century. Before the elotero proper, it was all of our mamis turning one husky crop into a delicious variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Only a Latino could turn this…
Typically, the elotero will boil corn in their husks (to retain the most flavor) and transport them for the elotes. For esquites, they boil the corn in the husk and then dehusk and kernels are taken off of the cob. It’s typically seasoned and kept warm in a big pot, ready to be scooped and topped with cotija cheese.
That said, an elotero with a grill on hand has been feeding us for generations. There’s nothing better than an ear of crispy charred corn on the cob drenched in cheese and Taki dust.
Into something so beautiful and drool-worthy: 🤤 🤤 🤤
Throughout the years (and the advent of Instagram), we’ve gotten a lot more creative with presentation. We’re trying all different kinds of dustings and flavorings for the Instagram post and the flavors.
How’s it done? Chef German Correa, the possible source of the “Unicorn Elote,” said that he uses food coloring to dye mayo and then “paints” the elotes. The blue is made of blue mayo, and the rest is actually multi-colored cheeses. Rainbow elotes don’t have to be your thing.
The Pavlov test works best with a classic elote, imho.
If you didn’t feel a pang of hunger or a little extra drool than usual, you haven’t had a good elote. The classic fixings of butter or mayo, melted cheese, and chili powder are enough to make anyone an addict. It’s not the worst vice. 😉
In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, elotes are topped with lechon, cheddar cheese and bacon. It’s no snack or side dish. It’s the whole main meal. The further North in Mexico you go, the more toppings you’ll get on the elote. That isn’t quite true in the U.S., but you get the picture.
Latinos are the most creative and resourceful people. Don’t @ me.
Like everything else in our culture, there are a million different old wives tales about the origins of this brand of elote. More specifically–the variety of accounts range in who came up with the idea. We all know it was someone who shamelessly pours the Taki dust into their throats at the end of the bag and realized if it sticks so well to my fingers… imagine on an elote.
Regardless of which Latino came up with the idea, it’s going down as a Wonder of the World. Only our generation could combine a traditional Mexican food staple with junk food to make its own food group. It’s kind of our generation in a nutshell–the foundation comes from our padres with a sprinkle of the 21st century.
Only a true elote fan could taste test the difference between a Flaming Hot Cheetos and Taki elote.
To be honest, this seems like a low bar for our people but watch anyone else try one of these and start crying because of the spice. It’s how corn was meant to taste, honey. Spicy. 😛
Cuidado, apparently doctors are alerting the public to an influx of children in their emergency rooms because they ate too many Flaming Hot Cheetos. Not to fear–the base spice is chile and it’s the spice that helped all our ancestors flourish. Spice is in our blood.
Let it be known that San Francisco has an Elote Festival coming up this June 22-23.
For all you NorCal Latinos who are missing the Angelino luxuries of an elotero or five in almost every neighborhood in Los Angeles, some relief is coming your way. Prepare yourself. It’s called “ELOTE–The Corniest Festival Yet!”
Apparently, it’s the first elote festival in NorCal but promises to have all the classics plus elote tots, esquite topped corn dogs and more. There will be at least ten eloteros serving “elote specials,” plus a Mercadito del Encanto. All vendors are Latinx and dogs are welcome! You can find tickets on Eventbrite or search for the “Corniest Festival Yet” on Facebook. So corny.
In our world, there’s no competition between the elote and esquites.
They’re both literally cut from the same tasty cloth, and frankly, the choice almost always comes down to whether you feel comfortable looking like a slob in your company or not. You have esquites on your lunch break and you bring that elote home to eat while watching Vida. Either way, you need 4-47 napkins handy to wipe up a very beautiful mess.
Fun fact: the word esquites comes from Náhuatl’s word ízquitl.
Ízquitl and icehqui both mean “to toast.” You would do that on a comal (which means griddle). The story goes that esquites were created by Tlaxocihualpili, the woman ruler of Xochimilco from 1335 to 1347.
The truly ‘classic’ esquites is made with chopped onion, fried green chile, and pollo. It’s topped with lime juice and mayo or sour cream, cotija, chile, and salt.
The classic esquites is comfort food like no other.
I don’t know how we do it, given that Latinos are far more likely to be lactose intolerant than many other races, pero ya estamos. Traditional elotes have evolved in the U.S. to include an abundance of cheese.
Different states in Mexico make it in different ways. In Aguascalientes, the esquites are called chasks and have bacon, mushroom, and strips of chile in them. In Tampico, they’re made with boiled instead of fried corn. In Sonora, they’re sweet–cooked with molasses. In Hidalgo, they’re made with pulque, onion, chile, and epazote.
In Puebla, it looks more like a soup and is called chileatole.
That’s because it’s made with ground serrano peppers and even has a bit of corn dough to make the soup thicker. Add corn, epazote, salt and more water than usual and it’s Puebla’s version of esquites.
Even Dodger’s Stadium, in Los Angeles, is serving up esquites in little helmet bowls.
There’s a reason we root for the Dodgers so hard. The stadium’s menu includes a ‘Dodger Dog,’ which is famous for being topped with esquites. You can also order esquite fries with your michelada.
While there are a couple of healthy carts, the vast majority of Dodger Stadium food consists of carne asada fries, tacos, and so much esquite.
Another beautiful example of the resourcefulness of our people:
We’ve been saving plastic containers for eons by using husks and plantain leaves to wrap up our version of a sandwich (read: tamal). These husks make decent napkins, too. Don’t play like you haven’t done it before.
Tajín is a special chile y limon spice mix that is as much a part of Mexican culture as elotes and paletas. You can use it on so many different foods and the most obvious choice is on fresh fruit. That brand of salty sweet crystals that you put on top of pieces of fruit is fast becoming the recognizable spice of choice for chefs and foodies around the U.S. It is just one way that Latino culture is permeating American culture.
The New York Times is finally giving Tajín, the most iconic Mexican kitchen staple, a moment to shine in the national spotlight.
Any Mexican and Mexican-American will swear by this seasoning. It is everywhere and on everything. The taste of the spicy-lime flavor amplifies the naturally sweet flavor of ripe fruit and gives a deep profile to frozen paletas on hot summer days. The aroma wafting out of a freshly opened bottle will change the world as you know it.
The New York Times recently published an article praising the bright red chile salt and, honestly, it’s about time.
Tajín has been around for over three decades, since 1985. However, the iconic concoction didn’t break into the U.S. market until 1993. It is literally as well-known and adored by Mexican families as Chamoy, a sauce created using fermented chiles and fruits also used on all kinds of foods.
Legit, people never leave their house without this seasoning because you never know when you’re going to need it.
Legions of ride-or-die Tajín fans have been sprinkling the seasoning since they were kids. It’s almost a rite of passage—start off with fruit and then as you get older, rims of margarita or cocktails get a dash of Tajín. It’s the cycle of life so many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have enjoyed.
The article, written by Daniela Galarza, gave people a look at the history of the incredible seasoning.
If sprinkling tajín is a lifestyle, then everyone from your corner bionicos shop that has just the right amount of red dusting on your spears of pepino and chunks of sandia, to Bon Appetit magazine’s recipe listings, are stanning tajín—just the way food royalty should be treated, tbh.
It’s one of the most spectacular fandoms known to the food world.
The article explains that even though the company was founded in Guadalajara in 1985, the U.S. has become a massive market. According to The New York Times, 40 percent of the market for Tajín is in the U.S. where Mexican-Americans make up 11.3 percent of the total U.S. population. Mexican-Americans also make up 63.2 percent of the Latino population in the U.S.
In case you weren’t sure, the love for Tajín is so strong and transcends man-made borders.
“I can’t even imagine a time before Tajín, or before salts flavored with lime and chile,” Mariana Gomez Rubio, a culinary consultant in Mexico City told The New York Times.
This social media user said the red seasoning was there for her when she had a health condition.
The popularity of this chile-flavored salt (its main ingredients include dried chiles de árbol, guajillo and pasilla, dehydrated lime and salt) that has its roots in Zapopan, Jalisco.
And it looks so good when it is used appropriately, which it is hard to use it inappropriately.
It is a great way to make sure that you are eating all of your fruits and veggies. After all, we could all be eating more of the heathy stuff and is this makes it easier, then why now.
Imagine coming across these spice and citrusy cucumbers in your house after a long day at work.
Grab a tissue so you don’t drool on your phone. We know you can’t get enough of Tajín and that is normal. We all have a love affair with this one-of-a-kind treat.
Recipes for everything from desserts (this innovative chef paired the chile-lime salt with chocolate and bananas to make fluffy banana bread) to NYT reader-suggested pineapple chunks have been making the Internet and social media rounds from true fans.
The sight of red chile sprinkled #TajinMoments is only going to increase. The brand has announced collabs with Pinkberry, On the Border spiced tortilla chips, and Snak Club for peach ring candy, peanuts and trail mix.
The company is betting on its continued success and is expanding into a larger facility in Jalisco later this year. It has also started looking into making a push into Pakistan, India, and Japan—countries that also like to use spices in their cooking.
Nice, nice—getting worldwide, Tajín!
Along with its buddies chamoy and Tapatio sauce, we see Tajín enjoying its golden days for years (and perhaps decades) to come around the world.
Are you a fan? Tell us your favorite tajín recipe in the comments and share this article with your friends!