Have you been lucky enough to score an invitation to a Mexican or Latino family party for Christmas? You’re in for a treat, mi amigo (my friend). Literally! Because you’re about to discover the ins and outs of Mexican Christmas food or drinks in this video!
Psst… Also: if you decide to throw a Mexican influenced Christmas party, you’ll discover what to make and to buy today, too. Lo único que les pido, es que por favor no olviden invitarme. (The only thing I ask for, is to please don’t forget to invite me.)
I’m Spring Spanish Paulisima and let’s start with the main dishes!
A. Los platos fuertes.
1. Pavo relleno
¡El pavo es el rey de la cena de Navidad! Antes de que mis compatriotas se quejen de que no incluí en este video los platillos de su estado. (Turkey is the king of Christmas dinner! And before my fellow Mexicans complain about me not including in this video the dishes from their state.) Here is a little disclaimer… Mexico is huge! And our foods vary from state to state.
The foods and drinks that I’ll refer to in this video are mainly from central Mexico. This, and the kind I myself grew up having on Christmas in Cancun.
Como les iba diciendo: ¡El pavo es el rey de la cena de Navidad! O al menos lo es en mi casa. (As I was telling you: Turkey is the king of Christmas dinner! Or at least it is in my family.) Unlike Thanksgiving turkey, the stuffing is not made with bread, but with meat. ¡Miren nada más qué belleza! (Look at this beauty!)
Here’s a great chunk of Spanish to learn when you’re invited to a Mexican dinner:
¿Le ayudo? (May I help you?)
You use this when you’re talking to someone who is older than you. How do we know that? Because we’re using the indirect pronoun “LE” not “TE”. But don’t think too much about it, it is very difficult to memorize rules and try to apply them. We don’t do this at Spring Spanish.
Instead, we use Conversation Based Chunking, a system that allows people to expedite their way into fluency. To learn more about it and to download our free essential Spanish Chunking Kit, check out the link in the description.
Continuemos… (Let’s continue…)
So, you’re sitting at the table and the head of the family is going to cut the turkey. You could say:
- ¿Le ayudo a servir el pavo? (May I help you serve the turkey?)
- ¿Le ayudo a servir el relleno? (May I help you serve the stuffing?)
El siguiente platillo fuerte que seguramente encontrarás en una cena navideña mexicana, es la pierna. Es pierna de cerdo. (The next dish that for sure you’ll find at a Mexican Christmas dinner is leg. It’s pork leg.) Usually, it is marinated with a chili sauce and spices.
Since you’re a guest, you’re free to ask about every delicious item you’re looking at. How do we do this? Learn this:
¡Ay! Eso se ve muy rico. ¿Qué es?
(Oh! That looks very good. What is it?)
Practiquemos (Let’s practice)
¡Ay! Eso se ve muy rico. ¿Qué es?
(Oh! That looks very good. What is it?)
Pierna. ¿Te sirvo?
(Pork leg. Do I “serve” you?)
Bacalao o bacalao a la vizcaína. Es un platillo hecho de bacalao con tomate, aceitunas, alcaparras, cebolla, chiles güeros. (Cod or cod “a la vizcaína”. It is a dish made of cod with tomato, olives, capers, onion, and “güero” chili peppers.)
Children usually don’t like this dish. ¡Mejor! ¡Más para nosotros! ¡A mí me encanta el bacalao! Especialmente en un sandwich. (Better! More for us! I love bacalao! Especially in a sandwich.) You might like it too, so learn this chunk of Spanish to ask for more:
- ¿Me puedes servir más bacalao, por favor? (Can you serve me more cod, please?)
- ¿Me puedes servir más….? (Can you serve me more…?)
- ¿Me puedes servir más pavo, por favor? (Can you serve me more turkey, please?)
- ¿Me puedes servir más relleno, por favor? (Can you serve me more stuffing, please?)
Do stay until the end to learn what Christmas drink got me drunk for the first time in my life!
Pozole is a soup made with hominy and meat, usually pork or chicken. Se sirve con rábanos, cebolla, lechuga, aguacate, limón, orégano, chilito. (It is served with radish, onion, lettuce, avocado, lime, oregano, chili flakes.)
En mi familia, cenamos pozole no en Navidad, sino en Año Nuevo. El pozole es mi comida favorita. (At home, we have pozole for dinner not on Christmas, but on New Year’s Eve. Pozole is my favorite meal.)
Since it is served with plenty of garnishing, learn this phrase:
- ¿Me pasas…? (Can you pass me…?)
- ¿Me pasas la cebolla, por favor? (Can you pass me the onion, please?)
- ¿Me pasas los limones, por favor? (Can you pass me the limes, please?)
¿Te está gustando este video? Si es así, suscríbete al canal. (Are you liking this video? If so, subscribe to the channel.) Ándale (Come on), subscribe to the channel, ahorita (“little now”).
I’m pretty sure that you know about this dish made with corn dough and meat, but I bet that you didn’t know that “tamale” is not a word! Just one piece is called a “tamal” not “tamale”. Tamal. The plural is “tamales”. Un tamal, dos tamales. (1 tamal, 2 tamales.)
¿De qué son los tamales?
(What’s in the tamales?)
De salsa verde con pollo.
(Green salsa with chicken.)
Esta receta es 100% del centro de México. (This recipe is 100% from central Mexico.) It’s a dish that consists of tender sprigs of seep weed, which are boiled and served in a “mole” sauce that’s been seasoned with dehydrated shrimp. También lleva nopales y papas, y la verdad es que a mí no me encanta. (It also goes with nopales and potatoes, and the truth is that I don’t love it.)
Very important: Mexicans can get very sensitive about their food, so rejecting something you’re not crazy about has to be done sensitively.
Pro-tip: If you blame your lack of enthusiasm about a certain food to the fact that you’re crazy about other food, you’re in the clear.
¿Eso qué es perdón?
(Excuse me, what is that?)
Son romeritos. Están riquísimos. ¿Te sirvo?
(They’re romeritos. They’re delicious. Do you want some?)
Un poquitititito, por favor. Es que quiero dejar espacio para la ensalada de manzana.
(Just a tiny little bit, please. I want to leave aroom for the apple salad.)
B. Side dishes
1. Ensalada rusa
Ensalada rusa. It’s a Latin American interpretation of the Russian Olivier salad. En mi familia la hacemos solo con papas, zanahorias, chícharos, mayonesa y chiles en vinagre. (At home, we make it only with potatoes, carrots, peas, mayonnaise, and pickled jalapeños.)
1. Ensalada de manzana
¡Este postre le encanta a mis hermanas! Lleva manzanas, crema, nueces, uvas, leche condensada, pasitas y durazno y ya… y uvas y uvas… (My sisters love this dessert! It goes with apples, sour cream, walnuts, grapes, condensed milk, raisins, and peaches, and grapes, and grapes…)
Hey, I love talking about food, and when we did a video about cooking, it seemed you guys liked it. Let me know in the comments if you would like us to make more of those.
This is like a churro but flat. Check it out! ¡A mí la verdad casi no me gustan, pero a mucha gente sí! (The truth is I don’t like them that much, but a lot of people do!) It’s like a disk, made of a crunchy dough that is covered with molasses and cinnamon syrup.
Next dessert is… I’m joking, there’s no more! What?! ¿Por qué Paulísima, por qué? (Why Paulísima, why?) I mean, I’m pretty sure that there are, some families would order a Christmas cake… Yeah, but Mexican food in general and Latin American food are not known for its desserts.
Like yeah, we like them and have them, but they’re really supporting characters, not the main characters of the feast! What do you think about desserts in Latin America? Let me know in the comments!
El ponche de frutas navideño. (The Christmas fruit punch.) It is a hot infusion that is usually made in large quantities. Lleva caña de azúcar, ciruela pasa, manzana, tejocote, guayaba, tamarindo, jamaica y piña, y va sazonado con piloncillo y canela. (It goes with sugar cane, prune, apple, “tecojote”, guava, tamarind, hibiscus flowers, and pineapple, and it is seasoned with “piloncillo” and cinnamon.)
Just like punch in the US, ponche can be spiked, we call it “piquete”.
(Do you want ponche?)
(Is it spiked?)
Entonces, sí quiero.
(Then, I do want it.)
¡La sidra! La famosa sidra. (The apple cider! The famous cider.) In Latin America, cider is a big part of the end of the year festivities. When I was 15, I got drunk on cider! I had like 3 glasses and I lost it! My sisters had to shower me with cold water! Oops!
Now, you know about Mexican Christmas food and drinks, but what about other Mexican traditions surrounding Christmas?