Mar 3, 2008

How to Host a Cinco de Mayo Party

by Natalie Mitts

Cinco de Mayo was named such because of the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexicans were able to hold off the French from taking over. Now Cinco de Mayo is a popular holiday in the United States to honor Mexican culture.

This year, celebrate Cinco de Mayo with friends or a Family Home Evening group (it's on a Monday). Make festive invitations and encourage everyone to dress Mexican-style (sombreros permitted).

Make some easy guacamole: combine 1 can of salsa (12 ounces), 4-5 medium avocados (mashed), 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

For queso, heat 1 block (16 ounces) pasteurized cheese and 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and chiles over low-medium heat. This can be heated in a microwave, slow cooker or on the stove. Stir frequently to prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom. Add 1 pound ground beef (cooked) if desired.

Try out Chef John's Chiles Rellenos with Grilled Chicken and Cheese, found under Recipe of the Month on the contents page. Other menu ideas include chicken with mole sauce, enchiladas, nachos, quesadillas, rice, tacos, tamales or tostadas. Drink some horchata and finish off with a piece of Tres Leche Cake.

As for decorations, any kind of bright colors will work. To play up the Mexican theme, buy miniature Mexican flags at the BYU bookstore for $1.95 each. Use the flag colors of red, white and green throughout the room with crepe paper, cups, plates or even the food.

Mexican music is a must. Buy a Mexican CD, check out a local Spanish-speaking radio station or even go all out with a live mariachi band. Impress friends by watching instructional dancing videos beforehand and having fun imitating the Mexican dancing style.

End the night with a piñata. Find one at a grocery store or Mexican food store and fill with candy. Each person takes a swing at the piñata and all get to bring home candy.

Warning: Making a piñata bearing the face of a fellow student may necessitate a visit to the principal's office, as Pedro learned in "Napoleon Dynamite."

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