Culture

Chefs In Mexico City Have Created The World’s Largest Torta And It’s Truly Enormous

Granted, you probably thought that you’ve already confronted the world’s largest torta, thanks to your abuelita’s talents in the kitchen and propensity to stuff you full. But, you’d be mistaken if you thought that good ol’ abuela didn’t have some serious competition last week. That’s right, good people: we’re talking about the world’s largest torta.

What do you mean, abuelita’s got competition?

Youtube / @New China TV

Well, July 31 saw what was practically an army of chefs in Mexico City create a 236-foot torta. Basically, these geniuses took festival food to a new level – although, it would be pretty difficult to carry this torta in one hand. And, do you know how long it took for them to make it? Less than three minutes! At least you know who to call on next time you’ve got a grumbling stomach.

So…what was the point in all of this torta mayhem?

Instagram / @New China TV

A combination of local authorities and local businesses teamed up to put together the massive Mexican sandwich, which contained a combination of lettuce, onion and tomato, mixed with gallons upon gallons of mayonnaise, mustard, and spicy sauces. Each section of the torta was made by a different chef, who added a new signature flavor to the mix by using ingredients such as ham and seafood. The stunt culminated in not only the biggest torta ever made in Mexico, but the biggest torta made in the whole of Latin America. 

But why did it need to be so massive?

Instagram / @tortacompany

Sure, making a hella big torta is going to attract a crowd. Someone’s gotta eat it, once it’s been made, right? But, these torta chefs weren’t making the iconic Mexican sandwich for the fun of it – that’s only part of the story. Rather, it was a challenge that was part of a three-day annual torta fair organized by the local government in the Mexican capital. 

The hope in creating and executing a challenge as delectably iconic as this one was to try to draw attention to businesses in the region that specialize in the torta, and give them an economic boost. When previously interviewed about the event, locals have said, “What we want to do is to show people that the torta is very important. It’s important for our diet and we’re bringing together more than 100 (torta) businesses.” They’ve also stressed that the event is “… a good idea to bring tourism to Mexico City and to give an idea of our gastronomy, into what normal people eat daily.” 

But do we really need to have a conversation about the torta – it’s just a sandwich, right?

At the end of the day, while the torta functions very much like a sandwich, it’s anything but. Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic. But, it is part of Mexican culture. And, the torta does differentiate itself from being a plain ol’ sammich. It tends to be bigger in size, and actually has ingredients like avocados and refried beans on both the inside and outside of the sandwich. They can be heated, or eaten cold. The trick to a genuine torta is using bread that doesn’t fall apart under the weight and moistness of the ingredients. The businesses that participated in the event are part of preserving the secrets to a great torta.

The thing is, with the rise of fast food, consumer interest in tortas has declined. And, don’t get us wrong – some days, only a good McDonalds cheeseburger will suffice for those particularly nasty hangovers. However, less desire for tortas means that businesses suffer losses, and may potentially close. From there, less consumer access to tortas means that, again, consumer interest can then further decline. It’s a vicious cycle. But you know what? It may just be that making a gigantic torta is part of the process of revitalizing interest in the torta, and preserving cultural legacy.

Do you have any fond memories of devouring a Mexican torta? Or are you yet to try one? Let us know on Twitter – you can find us through the icon at the top of the page.

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Google Paid Tribute To Mariachi Music With A Doodle And Break Out The Mezcal Because It’s Gonna Give You Tears!

Things That Matter

Google Paid Tribute To Mariachi Music With A Doodle And Break Out The Mezcal Because It’s Gonna Give You Tears!

ULISES RUIZ / Getty

Mariachi is officially getting the search engine clout it deserves!

Google Doodle’s latest feature celebrates the musical genre of mariachi. As an ode to the anniversary of the week that UNESCO inscribed mariachi on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The genre of Regional Mexican music goes back to the 18th century.

Google’s latest Doodle features an animated video of mariachi serenading.

Remote file
Google

Singing “Cielito Lindo,” which is a song that encaptures Mexican pride, the doodle features a band of mariachi members.

Together they sing the following lyrics”De la Sierra Morena/cielito lindo, vienen bajando/Un par de ojitos negros/cielito lindo, de contrabando/ Ay, ay, ay, ay/Canta y no llores/Porque cantando se alegran/cielito lindo, los corazones.”

The lyrics translate to “From the Sierra Morena/Lovely sweet one, is prancing down/A pair of little black eyes/Lovely sweet one, is sneaking by/ Ay, ay, ay, ay/Sing, don’t cry/Because singing makes rejoice/Lovely sweet one, our hearts.”

For the doodle, the mariachi band wears traditional trajes de charro (charro suits) while strumming the traditional instruments of the genre.

Plucking away at the guitarrón, vihuela, and violin, other members use a trumpet and harp. According to Newsweek, “The tradition of mariachi originated in west-central Mexico around the turn of the 19th century, though its exact origins are murky. The musical genre began as entirely instrumental, made up of the sounds of stringed instruments, before vocals and the trumpet were eventually added.”

No doubt Google’s latest Doodle has won over the hearts of various searchers.

“What a beautiful tribute… thank you!” one user wrote.

“The Google doodle for today is a tribute to mariachis & it’s a little video that plays cielito lindo I am not okay, cielito lindo is my favorite mariachi song, it’s too cute,” another commented while another user wrote “I was so shocked when I clicked on this last night. What a wonderful surprise.”

Sweetly, the doodle really seemed to hit home for so many. “The Google Doodle today nearly made me cry,” one very happy user noted. “It was so unexpected and made me miss home for the first time since I moved.”

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Former Nickelodeon Star Drake Bell Has Rebranded as a Latin Artist and People Are Confused

Entertainment

Former Nickelodeon Star Drake Bell Has Rebranded as a Latin Artist and People Are Confused

Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage

When you think of successful Latin music artists, the name “Drake Bell” probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, the name “Drake Bell” probably doesn’t come to mind when you think of any musician–the man hasn’t been on the radar much since his Nickelodeon went off the airwaves in 2007. But recently, the former teen star has been making headlines for his unexpected career pivot.

Fans were confused when Drake Bell posted a video to Instagram advertising his services on the celebrity “shout out” app, Cameo on Saturday. While the message was run-of-the-mill (find me on Cameo! Pay me money!), the content was what was surprising: Bell relayed the message in both English and Spanish. A deeper dive into Bell’s social media history quickly explained the perplexing post.

Last November, Bell announced on his Twitter page that he would only be posting in Spanish on his social media pages from that point forward.

Shortly after, he changed his profile name from “Drake Bell” to “Drake Campana” (get it?). He also reps a Mexican flag next to his name.

As of now, Bell has released a dual Spanish-English language album called “Sesiones En Casa” with songs named “Fuego Lento” and “La Camisa Negra”. According to Spotify statistics, Bell’s strategy seems to be working. Out of the dozens of songs he’s released over the year, two of Bell’s Top Five streamed Spotify songs are Spanish-language ones.

It seems that Drake “Campana” Bell is truly committing to becoming a full-time Latin pop star.

Bell described his decision in a July interview with Esquire Mexico. ““I wanted to do something with Latin rhythms for my fans in Mexico,” he said. “I wanted to do something like what I have heard on my tours and visits to Mexico. I love writing in Spanish, it is a beautiful language.”

He explained that his love of Mexican culture comes from growing up in Southern California, which is geographically close to the Mexican border. Growing up near Mexico made him “fall in love” with the culture. He also posted a picture to Instagram of his own Mexican ID with a Mexican address, suggesting that he’s made the country his new home.

Photo: drakebell/Instagram

Some fans are skeptical of the timing of Bell’s image re-brand.

Earlier this year, Bell’s ex-girlfriend, Jimi Ono, took to TikTok to accuse the singer of abusing her while they were together from 2006 to 2009. Ono outlined the accusations in a disturbing TikTok video.

@jimiono

This is my truth. I hope this message reaches young girls, and that no one has to go through what I did. #2020survivor

♬ original sound – Jimi Ono

“When I started dating Drake, I was 16. I was homeschooled. I moved in with him,” Ono said. “It wasn’t until about a year when the verbal abuse started, and when I say ‘verbal abuse,’ imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got. It then turned to physical–hitting, throwing, everything.”

Bell publicly denied the accusations, calling them a “misguided quest for more money or attention”. Other observers have noted that Bell began his re-brand about a year ago while Ono’s accusations become public just a few months ago. So, it seems like Bell’s decision to focus on his Mexican fans had been in the works for a while.

It’s likely we’ll never know the true reasons behind Bell’s decision to become a Latin artist, but it’s most plausible that his sales were simply doing better in Mexico. And if his re-brand was simply a stunt for more attention, well…it’s working.

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