All the fixings for a festive fiesta
May 1st, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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The fifth of May is once again upon us; crunch time is on the horizon.

Contrary to what some people think, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It, instead, celebrates when a much smaller Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Since then, Americans have loosely translated said victory into a celebration of Mexican culture - and an excuse to stuff themselves like a piñata with molcajetes of guacamole and pitcher after pitcher of ice-cold margaritas.

We're not going to argue with that translation - and are here to help.

Shake up your fiesta with a little help from our experts:

Margarita madness

Chefs with Issues: The Mexico I know

Cinco de Mayo menu essentials

Five misconceptions about Mexican cuisine

Five offbeat/unique taco fillings

Don't get too schmancy with your margarita

Five refreshing tequila cocktails to sip this summer

Five things you should look for in a great tequila

Cinco ways to spice up your Cinco de Mayo fiesta

Five myths about Mexican food

Out of the fryer and into the salsa bowl

The inside scoop on homemade tortilla chips

Micheladas across the parking lot

iReport: Street food of Mexico

A long-simmering rivalry in Los Angeles: mole

Podcast – Out to Lunch: Tacos beyond the box and Bell

Eva Longoria's guacamole

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Filed under: Bite • Cinco de Mayo • Cuisines • Holidays • Mexican

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Jorge

    So sorry that the mere thought of cultural and culinary diversity grate the nerves and the IBS of the socially frail commenting here, perhaps you'd like to quietly sit at a park bench with your Buspar and your oatmeal, feeding the pigeons while someone among the rest of us call a waaambulance for you...

    May 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  2. VladT

    I'm always feel left out with Mexican food. As someone who loves to eat foods of all cultures, I was cursed with a tongue that does not enjoy the combination of peppers and onions. However, a good Mole ( the chocolate kind, not the rodent, don't know how to type the accent over it ) tastes great.
    Wish I could enjoy Mexican food more

    May 3, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Thread (never hamburger) Helper

      While I'm not a fan of peppers or onions OR molé sauce, I can help you with the accent égu if you have anything but a Mac: hold down the alt key and type 0233. ;)

      May 3, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  3. Fed Up

    I love the street trucks for tacos. I can do without the visit to Mexico. I'm paying enough for that country already.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

    Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light,
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
    O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming
    And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
    Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
    O'er the land of the free and the home of not the mexicans

    May 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Jose@GBT

      The song starts with..." Jose can you see"? What am I looking at or for?

      May 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

        Can you see my boot in your a$$ and I send you illegal butt back to mexico?

        May 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
        • Jose@GBT

          Oh..I get it..We are playing @ Corpus Christi Hooks Stadium. Ha,Ha, A punt,pass and kick from Messyco,SI?

          May 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
        • Jorge

          Q.-Who invented the toothbrush?
          A.-A Texas r&dn&ck.
          A.-Because if it had been invented by a Hispanic, it would have been called a teethbrush.

          May 4, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  5. Janus

    Good thing the food section of CNN is full of political trolls. Go eat some rat poison

    May 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • RichardHead@Janus

      It has salmonella from all the kids playing with Turtles and Hamster's.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
      • Dorothy Gale

        Turtles and hampsters and vegans, oh my.

        May 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  6. Joseph Filburt


    U S A
    U S A
    U S A

    May 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • andreas

      Miller Lite? Must be a rookie.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Irish by Blood; Mexican by Cuisine

        Rookie? Maybe. Pre-k? Definitely. Either way, the caps & spelling are a dead giveaway. Or s/he's been overindulging in said Miller.

        May 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  7. Bionikwmn

    People.... really????? Just have a taco and a margarita and stop whining.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Bill

      U S A
      U S A
      U S A

      May 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        AMERI-CUUHHHH! F@&*% YEAH!

        May 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
        • Joseph Filburt


          U S A
          U S A
          U S A

          May 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
        • LACEY

          No self respecting Irish American would drink Miller. We only drink Busch Light or better.

          May 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  8. Irish by Blood; Mexican by Cuisine

    Nothing better than a carne asada salad with salsa for dressing and fo'real margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Oran'gelo

      The only thing better would be if you lazy irish would go back across the ocean!

      May 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • Irish by Blood; Mexican by Cuisine

        Why? Because you want it? Guffaw!

        Everything I could possibly want is here. Among other rights:
        Freedom of expression
        The right to vote
        The right to bare arms (gotta get that tan)
        The right to choose
        For pot-stirring bigots like you, the right to hate.

        Tener un día maravilloso, Sunshine!

        May 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
        • El Patron

          I like cabrito with Irish potato's and Texas Chili..clears my sinus.

          May 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chaz McKillington

      irish heathens

      May 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • andreas

      Exactly. all you need is tequila, couintreau, lime juice and sugar water. I've yet to find a pre-mix that didn't s*ck.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • Jorge

        Now if we could only put Cinco de Mayo and St. Pattie's together for an ALL WEEK BENDER!!!

        May 4, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  9. tazzer

    Wow Scott.....Did you have to make your ignorant point twice? I seriously hope you don't intend to poplulate the world!!Your "facts" are wrong:
    average number of children per family in Mexico: 2.5
    average number of children per family in Ireland: 2.03
    •From the U.S. Census Bureau, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2010, Average Number of People per Family Household:
    ◦Average Family Household Size: 3.24

    May 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Captian Obvious

      Um, since when are "average number of children per family" and "Average Family Household Size" the same thing? Are you that uneducated to not know the difference?

      Household includes adults (parents/adult children/elderly) as well as children. You are an insult to whatever creature birthed you.

      May 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Sessler

      That's funny. The troll wants to prove that Americans have more kids but then his own math fails.

      3.24? The average American Family is 2 adults and 1.24 children. According to the Real Math, 1.24 children is much less than 2+

      You are obviously a product of the disgraceful American Educational System.

      May 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Typical Liberal Stoner

    Hey man somebody said tacos! Let me cash my well deserved welfare check that I earn by sitting around on a couch all day and voting democrat. LEGALIZE IT MAN

    May 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Lover of Cake

      *shakes head and walks away*

      May 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Don't forget my free healthcare

      May 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  11. andreas

    How long before some choad makes a comment about immigration? 3,2,1...

    May 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Texas Born and Raised

      WE needs to send them illegals back to their hole of a country. Obama has litereally destroyed the once great USA and is allowing mexicans to march across our borders. Notice how Bush was able to lock down the borders after Clinton basically left the gate open for 8 years? Now Obozo might as well sign the death certificate for the USA right now with our patriotic blood.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Obozo the Welfare King

      Nobody else wants to work in America, why not let the mexican's do the work. I'll just go back to sittin' on the porch and yelling at children.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  12. South4evr

    Dear ranting fanatics,

    I was only pointing out the fact that American culture is not of any great importance in Mexico. Up until now, folks from other countries came to the United States for the opportunities it offered, bringing their rich cultures with them. HOWEVER, they acclimated themselves to be AMERICANS (the great mutts of the world!!!) and were proud of it. Too many Mexicans expect the U.S. to be the Mexico of their dreams, not a new beginning.

    98% of Mexico's wealth is controlled by 2% of the population (who run the country) and they do not want anyone living there that can't support themselves. In other words, the people sneaking into the U.S. are not wanted in their own country.

    May 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Father O'Malley

      Go back to England you pigdog!

      Gimmie another bottle of whiskey and make sure there's no spit it in this time chap.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • The Statue of Liberty

        If you had ever taken the time to read me, you'd see that the phrase "IF YOU ARE IRISH TURN AROUND" appears no less than a dozen times on me.

        May 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  13. JBird

    It's just a fun day to get a group together and have some great food and drinks. Don't over analyze it. No one is making you celebrate anything. I like the little "holidays" to look forward to! Try some new recipes and hang with friends. It's a good time.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • andreas

      Exactly. Any excuse to grill up fajitas and barbacoa and get lit on homemade margaritas (stay away from mixes).

      May 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  14. Scott

    Their food sucks. Just a holiday made up to get dumb Americans to buy booze, just like St Patricks day. Two losing cultures that really have not contributed much to the world except excessive breeding.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Mike McCarthy

      What an ignorant statement. Not surprising though, you're probably a southerner. A culture devoid of, well, culture and education.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • andreas

      Yeah, you should expand your horizons beyond Taco Bell.

      May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
      • Taco John

        Indeed. Taco Bell is the devil. Come to my place and I'll show you the true power of the force! I mean... taco.


        May 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          En Route. Get them Ole's ready for me.

          May 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
        • andreas

          I'd rather drink bleach than eat in one of your filthy hellholes.

          May 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
      • andreas

        Appreciate the offer John, but I've been cooking mexican and Tex-Mex for 20 years. Have fun Saturday.

        May 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • tazzer

      Wow Scott.....Did you have to make your ignorant point twice? I seriously hope you don't intend to poplulate the world!!Your "facts" are wrong:
      average number of children per family in Mexico: 2.5
      average number of children per family in Ireland: 2.03
      •From the U.S. Census Bureau, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2010, Average Number of People per Family Household:
      ◦Average Family Household Size: 3.24

      May 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Rupert

        Made up facts are fun! Would you like a job at FoxNews?

        May 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Jorge

      Scott esta cabreado porque tiene c@c@ en su sopa...

      May 4, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  15. Javier

    who cares if is not a holiday. Just be happy and enjoy the day with your friends and family, No need to be so uptight about it. everyday is a holiday.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Sí, señor.. Más cerveza para ti.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • cindy

      That's right Javier.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  16. noel

    REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!! what cnn, no publicar?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • David

      The officer leading the Mexican army was from Texas. He came back to Texas and celebrated the victory every year. That is how we started celebrating it here in the USA. Mexicans do not celebrate as much as we do.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  17. bradleygunner

    ok im not a racist, i do live very near the border... but why do we in america celebrate a mexican celebration? can i go to mexico and celebrate the fourth of july,presidents day,colubus day etc... not we cant so why is it tolerated here?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • jpw

      Anyone that starts a sentence with I'm not a racist, is of course a racist.
      Get a life.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Tom

      Most of us mexicans don't celebrate Cinco de mayo unless we are from Puebla. It's all the corporations in the US that capitalize off of this holiday because you believe it is a national Mexican holiday. Try the internetz dude, I hear they are great for research!

      May 2, 2012 at 10:16 am |
      • Senor RicardoHead

        I prefer Miracle Whip...Not just any Mayo. Found it on The Internets.

        May 2, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • David

      Just like St. Patrick's day or any other celebraton opportunity, it is "Big Beverage" at work to liqour up the people.
      Follow the money!!

      May 2, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  18. Senor RicardoHead

    Brisket Tacos,Brisket enchilada's,Brisket Fajita's,Brisket quesadilla's,...I've got this Fiesta covered.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  19. Proud to be an American

    Americans stop celebrating Cinco de Mayo it is not an American Holiday, it is foreign. Cinco de Mayo should not be allow in this country as well as any other foriegn celebration.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Matthew

      You're an idiot.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Fudgeman

        Amen brother! many of our own holidays come from the diverse ethnic heritages of our forefathers. I'm sure this dude isn't calling for the end of St. Patty's day....

        May 2, 2012 at 9:53 am |
        • Matthew

          Exactly. It is called the First Amendment. When did American's become so intolerant of other people customs/views/practices? It saddens me to read the comment section of even CNN now.

          May 2, 2012 at 9:57 am |
        • Fudgeman

          I also do like Mexican beer........ so... just saying.....

          May 2, 2012 at 10:03 am |
      • roman

        Thank you Matthew, Being an American we celebrate all sorts of hoildays from different cultures. People who come on here with their anti-mexican views are not happy with themsleves when they look in the mirror and see that their heart is full of hate. If we could stop being so divided we might actually go places as a nation of americans. Regardless Mexico and the USA will always be tied as we our neighbors

        May 2, 2012 at 10:54 am |
        • Katie

          I'm sure it's not so much anti-Mexican views as that fact that La Raza wants to take over this country and Mexicans and others who are coming here don't seem to want to become part of this country, just suck it dry. If Mexico is so great and worth celebrating why don't they stay there? Want to be in America? Become an American legally and celebrate our Independence Day. Get rid of that Mexican flag and learn to speak English too.

          May 2, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • @ proud to be american

      WOw idiot.. your proud to be an idiot?? because then you only have 1 real holiday. 4th of July. EVERY other so called American holiday is derived from other cultures and religions.

      May 2, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Even More Proud to be American!

      Darn tootin'! Get foreign holidays out of this country. Like Christmas. Celebrating the birthday of some miracle baby born in the MIDDLE EAST! How anti-American can you get? I bet the so-called wise men gave him a bomb for his birthday, along with frankincense and myrrh. And New Year's? Celebrating a holiday on a calendar invented by an Italian, the very same people who sided against America in WW2. You must really hate America to celebrate New Year's! So by all means, let's purge America of these foreign influences!

      May 2, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • die die

      hahaha. more like, "Proud to be a Moron."

      May 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Jorge

      Go sit on your porch and yell at the little kids.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  20. AGuest9

    Independence Day is in July, not May.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Fudgeman

      You realize that Cinco de Mayo isn't independence day in Mexico right? that is in September for them....

      May 2, 2012 at 9:51 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        It's people like Aguest9 that is so knowledgeable about everything that their opinion to deport anyone without white skin must be correct, as well.

        May 2, 2012 at 11:29 am |
        • Scott

          You do realize both Mexicans and Irish have never done anything useful in the world except overpoulate. THAT is a FACT.

          May 2, 2012 at 11:46 am |
        • Irish by Blood; Mexican by Cuisine

          Just because Scott is a brand of TOILET PAPER, doesn't mean you can be sh!tty 'round here.
          Think in terms of beer and try again Chumley.

          May 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
        • Mike McCarthy

          Beer, whisky....the entire legacy of Western civilization in the dark ages, Presidents, Prime ministers, police, firemen, soldiers, captains of industry... yeah, The Irish have done nothing.

          May 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  21. AGeek

    I'm with Jon. Why wait for some made-up Bravo Sierra "holiday" that not even the Mexicans care about? Want to celebrate something amazing? How about the weather! ..or make it "We're celebrating days ending in 'day'."

    May 2, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  22. jon

    Great food but no need to wait for a made up holiday to fix it

    May 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |

    Beautiful photograph.

    May 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  24. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    I lived in Mexico for a short time and much longer in SoCal when I was 4-5 yrs old. Grew up on Mexican culture in food. It's hard to beat. ARRRRRRRRRRIIIIBBAAAA

    May 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • LACEY

      Pepto Bismuth beats Mexican Food every time.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
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