This year, I was more festive about celebrating Cinco de Mayo than in years past. I think it’s because, earlier in the week, my husband and I booked our travel to spend five weeks in Guadalajara, Mexico this August/September. No, it’s not an extended vacation, but we’ll be participating in a Spanish language and cultural immersion program, and we’re looking forward to the experience to inspire us both as writers.
We’ll be in Mexico this year to celebrate their true independence day on September 16th, but for Cinco de Mayo we settled for having my parents and aunt over for a Mexican-inspired dinner.
My husband made his “signature dish” guacamole — avocados, chopped onion, freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped garlic, cayenne pepper and chile powder. He wouldn’t divulge the percentages.
I made this sangria recipe from one of my favorite celebrity chefs, Emeril Lagasse. The addition of a bottle of sparkling water, added just before serving, lowered the overall alcohol content and made for easy sipping. And of course, there were a few tequila shots to go around.
The crowning achievement of my weekend culinary adventures was this chicken mole, made in our slow cooker. Seriously, it was pretty easy, and rather tasty. We paired it with these flour tortillas, a Caesar salad and cilantro-lime shrimp made by my mom to round out the meal.
With minimal prep time for the dinner (only about 15 minutes of assembly in the morning for the slow-cooked chicken and another 15 minutes in the afternoon for the sangria), I had ample time for reading. Thus, this weekend, I completed the first book in my 100 book challenge: Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
According to the American Library Association, this books has been repeatedly challenged and banned in high school settings, for among other things it allegedly “glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juveniles and contains descriptions of bestiality, bizarre violence, and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination” (this quoted from a 1974 case from the Strongsville, OH board of education).
I didn’t really get that from reading this book, but I did find it interesting that the story was told from the point-of-view of an assumed-to-be deaf and dumb half-Native American man who had been institutionalized at an Oregon mental hospital. The hero of the novel is a new, rebellious resident who loves gambling, chain smokes and frequently challenges the establishment of the hospital. The true villain is the medical establishment, especially the authoritative “Big Nurse,” who exerts her power over just about every mundane situation.
It’s a novel about what happens when a collective of people rebel against an institution, and in the end both the good and the bad results of the characters’ actions are evident.