over territory, taking control over entire towns, and seating corrupt officers and officials. In the early decades of colonialism, it seemed that Mexico was constantly under occupation and in upheaval. Mexico also fought with the Allies in World War II and has seen several rebellions since then within its own borders. The country gained independence from Spain in 1821 after an 11-year war, more than 300 years after Francisco Hernández de Córdoba and the Spaniards arrived. In Puebla, Mexico was able to stave off invading French armies in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. France was determined to make Mexico one of its colonies, and though outnumbered by the French, the Mexican army earned the victory. This triumph is now celebrated on the Cinco de Mayo, or May 5 th , holiday. However, most of Mexico doesn’t really celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It’s not a federal holiday, and there isn’t much ceremony around it. Yet, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated much more in Puebla, with militia parades that attract almost 20,000 people and


Mexican cuisine includes more than 40 different types of tortillas. Examples range from sopapillas (a honey-drizzled donut-like dessert) to flautas , which are rolled tortillas stuffed with meat like arrachera (skirt steak) or cabrito (goat meat) and cooked, often topped with fresh avocado, crema, and vegetables. The tortilla is the foundation of several famous Mexican dishes. Sometimes they are served open-faced like a tostada on a corn tortilla or folded, rolled, etc. The key to making a great tortilla is a hot cooking surface. Sometimes this is a clay stove or brick oven—or just a really hot pan.

Chapter 1: Poblano


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