Here’s a bit of trivia about me: My great-great-grandmother on my dad’s side was a full-blooded Mexicana. For whatever reason, this trace of Mexican blood manifested itself quite strongly in me – more so than in my other family members – and I credit my swarthy skin, thick black mane, and Pancho Villa-like mustache to this lineage.
To celebrate our family’s Mexican heritage, on Christmas Eve we would eat tamales, enchiladas, sopapillas, and pozole. Both my brother Larry and I eagerly devoured everything on the menu except for the pozole, which we despised. (For those of you who don’t know, pozole is a traditional Mexican maize stew that usually includes chilies and some sort of meat, like pork or cow tripe. I don’t know why we didn’t like it. I actually find the dish quite delicious nowadays).
Our bellyaching about pozole would begin in the morning, as soon as my mom started putting the ingredients in the crockpot. As the day progressed Larry would start to pretend/actually have dry heaves thinking about eating pozole that night. Larry and I even came up with a song to celebrate our hatred of the dish. (“Paaa-so-ley, paa-so-ley, leave meeee alooooney!” Inspired by Boney from Nickelodeon’s Weinerville)
When we sat down for Christmas Eve dinner, we were served our mandatory bowl of the dreaded gruel. The deal was we had to eat at least half of it or there would be some sort of consequence. I can’t remember what exactly – maybe that Santa would leave us a lump of coal in our stockings. My dad would gobble up the pozole and carry on about how it was so good and how eating it would put hair on your chest.