Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, and so begins "La Cuaresma" (Lent). "La Cuaresma" is the 40 day period before Easter, that represents the time Jesus spent in the desert, constantly tempted by Satan. During "Cuaresma", it is customary to promise to "sacrifice" or refuse a certain temptation for the 40 day period. Some people promise not to smoke or drink alcohol, some promise to go to Mass daily. Even the children get involved, promising not to drink soda or eat junk food and even promising to be nice to their siblings! I'm trying to convince my kids' to make that same promise!

Another very important part of "Cuaresma" is to refrain from eating meat and poultry on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. This practice opens the door to an amazing gastronomical feast that can only be enjoyed during "Cuaresma". Today, as I walked to the market, wonderful aromas emanated from each home I passed. Talk about temptation! The most common dishes prepared during "Cuaresma" are "Tortas de Camaron" (shrimp cakes in a molé sauce) and "Chiles Rellenos". Both are favorites of mine!

Chiles Rellenos

Tortas de camaron
But the most popular food of "Cuaresma" is "Capirotada". "Capirotada" is a Mexican bread pudding, made with bread, peanuts, raisins, cinnamon, piloncillo and cheese. My father-in-law actually referred to today as "Dia de Capirotada" (Capirotada day), not Ash Wednesday! It's just one of those things that you look forward to, kind of like Christmas morning. There is actually a reason as to why "Capirotada" is made during "Cuaresma". "Capirotada" signifies Christ's suffering on Good Friday. The bread represents the body of Christ, the syrup is Christ's blood, the cloves are the nails of the cross, the cinnamon sticks are the wood of the cross and the melted cheese represents the Holy Shroud. All I know is that it's delicious! And since it's only made during "Cuaresma", I'm going to my mother-in-law's to enjoy a piece of this sinful dessert!


Love to all,
Leslie Limon

Sunday Get-togethers!

Every Sunday, the entire family gathers at my in-law's home for lunch. We're a small group of 19, counting all the adults and children. The number of guests increases on holidays and birthdays. The table in the dining room seats 8 at a time, so it's first come, first serve! The menu is almost always the same: Tostadas de lomo (pork tostadas). This is the one meal we all seem to agree on, plus, tostadas offer an extra bonus in that no reheating is required! The menu also changes on holidays and birthdays. During these times, we are treated with my mother-in-law's "pozole". Pozole, a is a pork and hominy stew/soup in a chili broth, which is then garnished with chopped onion, shredded cabbage and sliced radishes! Delicious!

You may be wondering why we gather for lunch, instead of dinner. It is customary, especially in the smaller towns such as ours, to go to "El Jardin" (the townsquare), on Sunday evenings. People, young and old, walk around or sit on benches in "El Jardin" mostly to peoplewatch, talk with friends and to catch up on local gossip. But we also go to "El Jardin" to eat! You can snack on churros, homemade chips, ice cream, aguas frescas, nachos, corn-on-the-cob, hot dogs, hamburgers or tacos! I'm hungry just thinking about it all! There is also entertainment, such as a local marching band playing in the kiosk or visiting music and folkloric dance groups perfoming in front of city hall. It's a fun time to be had by all, and not a bad way to end the weekend! 

Ready or not, here I go!

I'm new to the world of blogging. I wish I had known about it 8 years ago, when I first moved to Mexico. I could have written hundreds of blogs about adapting to my new life. For those of you who don't know me, I am an American, born and raised in the good ol' U.S. of A. But 8 years ago, my husband, Alfonso and I decided to move to a small town in Mexico, with our two very young children. (Hope, was almost 3, and Nick, turned 1 the day after we arrived.)

Why Mexico, you ask. To be closer to my husband's family. And close we were, indeed! For 3 and a half years we lived with my in-laws. Which isn't as bad as it sounds. Lucky for me, I have been blessed with wonderful in-laws. My father-in-law, Don Chuy, is a very old-fashioned man. And my mother-in-law, Doña Esperanza, is just an amazing person to know. But that's not all. My husband, is the youngest of 6 children. 2 are currently living in The States and the rest live here in our small town. They are all married and have children. If we don't see eachother during the week, we all get together on Sunday afternoons for lunch at my in-laws, all 19 of us!!!

In the 8 years that we've lived here, I have given birth to another 2 children. I went back to the States to have my daughter Ashley. And my youngest son Jack, was born right here in Mexico.

Well, I hope everyone will enjoy getting to know our family and learning about the wonderful culture and traditions that Mexico has to offer.

God bless and take care,
Leslie Limon