When I was a kid and I had friends over for dinner, my mom would make a big deal of it and cook a traditional meal. While the food was very delicious, I always had to come up with ways of breaking down for my friends exactly what we were eating. They came from homes where the average meal was pizza or burgers and the average snack was Pringles or Go-Gurt.
Here’s just a few foods I had to explain to my white friends when I was growing up:
Gansito Snack Cakes
CREDIT: @GANSITOMARINELAUSA / INSTAGRAM
OK, look, Gansitos might not have the same name recognition as Hostess or Keebler, but at my family reunions, these are as valuable as cigarettes in prison.
Not since the Alamo has something from Mexico left such a bad taste in so many white people’s mouths. First of all, this isn’t exactly Baby Ruth or Skittles. In fact, many people would argue this isn’t even candy. Oh, and it has been known to contain lead. That said, I don’t know what I like more about it, the taste or the disgusted faces my friends made the first time they ever had it.
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CREDIT: @CILANTRO_TACOS / INSTAGRAM
Yes, this is some of the best food you’ll ever eat. But because it was covered in spice and other foreign objects, I had a hard time convincing my friends to even take even a bite. They still didn’t trust me after the Lucas Gusano incident. Be careful introducing this to your friends: Elote is a gateway food that can only lead to harder street foods like chicharrón and esquite.
CREDIT: @GRACIEGRAS1 / INSTAGRAM
OK. Let’s be adults here. They’re called fartons. All joking aside, these are delicious and, yes, they do smell good. No, I don’t know how to make them, and no, I’m pretty sure it’s not in a Dutch oven. Problem is, when you’re 10 years old and you offer one to your best friend, they’re not going to stop laughing long enough to try one.
CREDIT: @JENNYPARKREALTOR / INSTAGRAM
When it come to hangovers, menudo is probably more effective than a priest at an exorcism. Sadly, this is why I could never get my childhood friends to try the tripe soup. They were still several years away from drinking their nights away. Of course, the morning after their 21st birthdays, I always had a batch ready to go. And then they couldn’t get enough.
CREDIT: @TXBUT / INSTAGRAM
I learned as a kid that it was best not to tell my friends what this was. Usually, I’d just wait until they’d eaten a few bites before breaking the news to them. Most children lack a palate refined enough to enjoy the finer points of face meat. When they found out, I explained that it was still better than hot dogs, which are fabled to come from far worse regions of an animal’s body.
Obleas con Cajeta
CREDIT: @NAINCAROLINA / INSTAGRAM
I’m sure that several of the cavities I got as a child were from these things. My tío brought them when he came back from his trips to Mexico, where he also picked up two-dollar bottles of tequila for my parents. I thought they were delicious, but my friends weren’t adventurous enough to try out anything with goat’s milk back then. Side note: Treats like these are what make tíos better than “uncles.”
CREDIT: @LETSEATMIAMI / INSTAGRAM
When I was younger and my friends asked me what a gizzard was, I told them it was meat from a goose that was also a wizard. (That actually worked, in case you’re wondering.) To be honest, I just looked it up, and I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now. All that time, we were just eating the digestive mill of some dead, non-magical bird.
Beef Brains and Eggs
CREDIT: @LUUCKAS03 / INSTAGRAM
Sometimes you get eggs on the brain. Other times, your friend barely makes it to the toilet in time to evacuate the contents of his stomach when he finds out he’s eating eggs and brains. And then there are times when you realize this is why Taco Bell never broadens its breakfast menu.
CREDIT: @CMW1022 / INSTAGRAM
Sadly, yes. Thanks to Taco Bell, most of my friends thought the only tortillas in the world were bleached, white and flour-based. Thankfully, I was there to show them the truth about tortillas. Corn tortillas not only make every meal better, but you can eat them plain or lightly seasoned for a delicious snack. I’m not a snob, but I would rather eat the stomach lining of a cow than a flour tortilla.
CREDIT: @DAYANA.GOES / INSTAGRAM
My mom made this with very little sweetener, maybe just some vanilla, and so while it looked like your average cup of rich, hot chocolate, it tasted like something else entirely. My friends grew up drinking Hershey’s syrup by the gallon, so you can imagine how much they hated their first (and last) taste of hot champurrado.