Culture

Latinos Never Do Basic Snacks And These Elotes And Esquites Prove Why They Are The Greatest Snacks

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…

@GtoMeConquista / Twitter

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: 🤤 🤤 🤤

@elotefinder / Twitter

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.

@eloteslapurisima / Twitter

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.

@elotefinder / Twitter

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.

@elotefinder / Twitter

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.

@liamslemonaid / Twitter

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.

@elotefinder / Twitter

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.

@Gerardo80842511 / Twitter

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.

@eloteslapurisima / Twitter

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.

@king_rugge  / Twitter

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.

@LADExecChef / Twitter

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:

@Vaainilla_ / Twitter

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.

READ: Latinos Never Do Basic Snacks And This Incredibly Photogenic Elotes Are Just Part Of The Wonders Of Latino Foods

13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad

Culture

13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad

This year don’t bring some basic bland food to Thanksgiving. Bring something that will surprise your jefitos, impress your primos, nourish your vegan/vegetarian friends, and showcase your Latinidad. Forget boring mashed potatoes, over-salted, cream-sauced vegetables, store-bought pie, or being afraid of vegan/vegetarian dishes.

You’re an adult now, this is your chance to show your love through home-made food like your family has done all these years.

1. Tamales de Green Chile y Queso

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There’s nothing more festive than tamales over the holidays, and you don’t have to wait until Christmas. Prepare a dozen or so of these for yourself and anyone else who’d rather fill up on hearty Mexican food than dry turkey. This recipe is vegetarian if you make your own masa as instructed, but if you don’t care if they are fully vegetarian, or you just don’t have much time, you could buy prepared masa con manteca from any Latin American food market. Some of us never make our own masa!

2. Brussels Sprouts with Mexican Chorizo

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If you want to bring something a bit more traditional, or you’ve been asked to bring a vegetable side dish, try these Brussels sprouts. Don’t be afraid that people don’t like Brussels sprouts, cooked this way in the fat from the cooked chorizo, they are sure to impress. The red Mexican chorizo will turn the light part parts of the sprouts red, resulting in a festive, and Mexican flag-colored, green and reddish.

3. Sqirl’s Brussels Sprouts

http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/2013/11/thanksgiving-side-recipe-sqirls-brussels-sprouts/

Or maybe you’d rather put chicharron powder on your Brussels. Cooked in butter, sherry vinegar, and fleur de sal. Sqirl LA’s food is so good people from all over the country, often come straight from the airport to eat there. It happens so often that the restaurant will happily store your luggage in their stock room. Bring this Latin-flavored recipe to Thanksgiving and show your friends what all the fuss is about.

4.  Tropical Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

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Many think that this Thanksgiving staple shouldn’t be messed with, but I can assure you that American Indians and English settlers didn’t eat cranberry sauce out of the can. That said, why not try something different and add some chipotle and pineapple to some fresh cranberries for sweet, sour, and spicy version.

5. Apple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

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Thanks to all the Latino’s in the US, chorizo is making a strong showing in Thanksgiving dishes. If you’ve been asked to bring stuffing not cooked in the bird, make this savory cornbread chorizo stuffing. This recipe also calls for cumin, oregano, and cilantro to help round out the Latin flavors.

6. Abuelo’s Papas Con Chile or Mexican Mashed Potatoes

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These mashed potatoes use Velveeta, but people all over the internet swear by this recipe. If you were asked to bring the papas try this dish. Tell us how it went.

7. Empanadas de Camote

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This recipe combines sweet potato, bacon, and queso fresco. Hearty and filled filled with protein and iron, these empanadas are a lighter alternative to bringing masa heavy tamales. With pretty folded edges, these empanadas will look pretty on any Thanksgiving table.

8. Pan Amasado or Chilean Bread Rolls

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So you’ve been asked to bring some rolls, but you don’t want to just go to Safeway and grab whatever they have, why not make Pan Amasado? The recipe, only calls for nine every-day ingredients, including shortening, egg, and butter. Sabroso!

9. Blistered Peppers with Lime

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Blistered Padrón or shishito peppers topped with spicy sea salt are common now on menus in upscale restaurants all around the country. They are super easy to make too. Bring this to Thanksgiving at your adventurous family/friend eaters, as in the same batch, one pepper can be quite mild and the next one quite hot.

10. Puerto Rican Mofongo

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If you’re looking to bring a taste of the island to Thanksgiving make this traditional style mofongo. Made of plantains, garlic, and pork rinds, this dish is an adaptation of a West African slave dish by Taino Indians made with ingredients available on the island. A similar dish is made by Dominicans.

11. Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

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If you’re a vegan attending a non-vegan Thanksgiving, make yourself these hearty tamales. This recipe will show you how to make both the vegan masa (made with coconut oil instead of lard) and the adobo potato filling. The recipe also calls for garlic, oregano, clove, cinnamon, and cumin. Tamales without masa are lower in calories and saturated fat.

12. Vegan Chile Rellenos

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Okay, so many of the vegan recipes here are from the same person, Dora of Dora’s Table. This mujer, Dora, who was born and raised in México and to culinary school in New York, works extra hard to create vegan versions of traditional Mexican dishes, using traditional Mexican ingredients. Her Vegan Chile Rellenos use poblano chiles and vegan cheese. On her website, Dora warns that this recipe isn’t what she’d call healthy.

13. Empanadas de Argentina

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If you’re looking to bring the taste of South America to Thanksgiving dinner, make these Argentinian Tamales. They are made with ground beef, bell pepper, and Latin-flavor spices. You’ll save time on the dough too because it’s made with store-bought puff pastry flour.

Sure, Pumpkin Pie Is Great, But Here Are 12 Latino Desserts That Are Even Better For Thanksgiving

Culture

Sure, Pumpkin Pie Is Great, But Here Are 12 Latino Desserts That Are Even Better For Thanksgiving

josie_delights / guatemala / Instagram

We Rounded Up Our Favorite Latino Desserts That You Should Have At Every Thanksgiving Dinner

12 Cold Weather Comfort Desserts Every Latino Should Make For Thanksgiving

From Churros To Buñuelos And Atole—12 Latino Desserts That Are Perfect For Thanksgiving

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a good old pumpkin pie, but if you’re lucky enough to attend a Latino Thanksgiving, boy oh boy, you’re in for a treat. Latinos don’t settle for just one dessert option, we have plenty to choose from and you best believe a few tías will bring different ones. From pastel de tres leches to churros and all the drinks that go with them, there are some wonderful treats in store. Yes, more often than not, a good cafecito will pair up perfectly with your postre, but how about a Mexican ponche? Or a Guatemalan Atol? We rounded up our fave cold-weather desserts that every Latino should whip up for Thanksgiving.

1. Alfajores

Credit: nosjuntapaula / Instagram

These soft, delicate and buttery cookies are held together by the addicting caramel sauce, an elixir of the gods; dulce de leche. This option goes perfectly with a good old cafecito and chisme. That sobremesa is sure to get lit with all that sugar pumping up the tías and abuelitas. 

2. Arroz con leche

Credit: aliceesmeralda / Instagram

A foolproof winter classic. Arroz con leche is the ultimate Latino comfort dessert any time of year tbh. Try it calientito with a good amount of cinnamon and raisins. Provecho!

3. Buñuelos —Colombianos and Mexicanos

Credit: nachoecia / Instagram

The Colombian iteration isn’t quite a sweet treat as it’s filled with cheese, but the addition of brown sugar, butter and tapioca make it a dessert in our book. As for the Mexican version, they’re usually made during the winter holidays. Mexican Buñuelos are made of fried dough, covered in cinnamon sugar and if you’re not about fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar, idk what to tell you, there’s something wrong going on.  

4. Chocoflan

Credit: dolchecakes / Instagram

Also known in Mexico as ‘Impossible Cake’, this delicious mass of goodness combines two great things into one god-sent hybrid. If you love flan, but would also like to have a slice of chocolate cake, Latina moms everywhere say; “¿Por qué no los dos?” The rich dense chocolate, topped with creamy vanilla flan, drizzled with a thick layer of cajeta is, quite literally, what dessert dreams are made of. 

5. Churros

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There’s something so satisfying when biting into a warm, doughy, crunchy and sugary churro. You can find these delicious treats all over Latin America, and they’re particularly yummy when paired with a cup of hot chocolate! Extra points if you stuff them with cajeta or chocolate. 

6. Flan

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Almost every Latin American household will have its own version of flan. From Puerto Rico to Costa Rica and everywhere in between, Latinos love flan. The creamy vanilla-flavored concoction is basically irresistible. 

7. Natilla Colombiana

Credit: josie_delights / Instagram

This Colombian custard dessert is very traditional during Christmas, but we like to think that it’s also good at any time of the year. Natilla is a rich, custard-like dessert traditionally served alongside the deep-fried cheese buñuelos we told you about earlier. You’ll definitely have to forget about la dieta if you want to have this option. 

8. Suspiro de Limeña

Credit: rodolfo1913 / Instagram

Its name literally translates to “Sigh of the lady from Lima.” This Peruvian dessert is definitely sigh-inducing. The creamy, caramel-like custard, topped with a Port flavored meringue is an extra sweet treat for this cold season. The dessert originated in the city of Lima, and it is said that it gained its name after a poet said it tasted soft and sweet, like the sigh of a woman.

9. Pastel de Tres leches 

Credit: tallerdenoemi / Instagrm

This quintessentially Latino cake is made with three types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. This is definitely not for the lactose intolerant. The cake soaks up all these liquids, making it a super decadent treat. If you’ve never had this traditional Latino dessert, prepared to be delighted, and have the coffee pot a-ready. 

10. Ponche Navideño

Credit: mexicoinmykitchen / Instagram

Traditional Mexican fruit punch is a hot, delicious concoction. Made with more than ten fruits including apple, tamarind, jamaica, tejocotes, raisins. This punch is spiced with cinnamon, clove, and piloncillo. It’s basically Christmas in a cup.

11. Camotes en dulce 

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Mexican candied sweet potatoes are a must. Día de los Muertos, on Nov. 1, marks the beginning of Camote season. ‘Camotes Enmielados’ is made of sweet potatoes, simmered in a cinnamon and piloncillo syrup. This dish makes for the perfect fall treat. 

12. Guatemalan Atol

Credit: guatemala / Instagram

Made of ground corn, the flavors of this drink range from cinnamon to black beans to chocolate to cajeta. Guatemalan Atol, or Atole in Mexico, is a drink made differently in many countries of Latin America, but there’s one thing that remains the same everywhere, and that is that it’s a fall-winter staple you can’t miss out on.

READ: 13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad