Culture

These Taquerias Are Trying To Fool Diners With #MockGuac Made From An Ingredient You’d Never Suspect

Few things go together quite like tacos and guacamole. Or really fill in the blank and guacamole. Many of us are totally fine with putting avocado, and it’s condiment hermana, on pretty much anything.

So when news broke that taquerias in Mexico City have been serving more and more fake guacamole – or as we prefer to call it, “mock guac” – we were super incensed. I mean when I’m chomping down on tacos de bistec I expect to taste the rich and creamy topping that is guacamole.

But that tasty pleasure is becoming less and less common across Mexico. The reasons: the gigantic demand, the bad harvests, the Americans, and the drug cartels.

We first learned of this ultimate betrayal thanks to a story by Chilango magazine who released a shocking expose.

Chilango, the magazine that covers all things Mexico City, was the first whistleblower that exposed the breach of avocado security last week. In the article, they reveal that a Twitter user named @Karligrafia was the first to tweet about the scam and become viral for it.

Tacos are staples of Mexico City palates. Thousands, if not millions of residents eat them every day from the thousands of street stalls and restaurants that dot nearly every corner of the capital. And if you can’t trust your taquero…who can you trust?

The country is not only the world’s largest exporter of avocados but also the largest consumer. A Mexican eats, on average, more than seven kilos of avocado.

But it’s not just Mexican demand causing it. The Americans are to blame as well.

Credit: @LATACO / Twitter

Americans’ insatiable appetite for avocado is causing more and more tacos with fake guacamole to be sold in Mexico. Rising demand for the fruit in the US, caused by the craze for brunch dishes such as avocado on toast, as well as a weak crop in California, is increasing demand and forcing prices up in Mexico. 

Last year alone, Mexico sold more than US$2.5 billion worth of avocados to the United States. A greater value than oil exports.

Even the Super Bowl is to blame.

Credit: Warren Brown / YouTube

For the 2019 Super Bowl alone, Mexico exported 120,000 tons of avocado to the United States, says APEAM, the Association of Avocado Producers and Exporters. 20% more than last year.

But it’s also a drug cartel problem.

Credit: @dw_business / Twitter

And now even Mexican drug cartels are involved in the avocado business. In the state of Michoacán, the center of synthetic drug production and, thanks to geographical and climatic conditions, a “paradise” for the cultivation of avocados, drug traffickers extort the peasants, who pay for alleged “protection” or “land use rights” for the cultivation of “green gold.

But even worse: in order to increase the surface area of avocado crops, illegal logging of forests is increasing. Avocados need tons of water. A scarce commodity. And, to top it all, climate change is adding to the problem.

So what exactly is in this #mockguac?

Credit: @IreneMia_EIU / Twitter

Well, as avocado prices have soared, Mexican chefs have had to turn to a cheap and plentiful alternative, the humble calabacita – or Mexican zucchini squash.

Once the squash are boiled up and blended with the rest of the ingredients – green tomato, coriander and chili peppers – and pureed into a creamy, smooth consistency, some culinary experts claim few could tell the difference.

“The scariest part is that it tastes almost exactly like your standard taqueria guacamole: bright, spicy, rich, and very satisfying,” said Javier Cabral, editor of LATaco, a food and culture site and producer of Netflix series, Taco Chronicles. 

This shocking news got us like…

Same child. Same.

Many were surprised that this news of #faceguac wasn’t making bigger headlines around the world!

Credit: @LATACO / Twitter

We are in 100% agreement. I mean this story has everything you need to go big – betrayal, lies, drama.

But at least one Twitter user reminded us that things could be much much worse.

Credit: @LATACO / Twitter

I mean…mayo with guacamole. Noooo thank you. I’ll take a Mexican vegetable substitute any day over this. Although, it’s not totally far fetched. For awhile there were rumors that Chipotle was adding sour cream to it’s guacamole to make it last longer and prevent it from browning too quickly.

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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.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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