The lexicon of Mexican gastronomic succulence is vast: unfathomable. It ranges from the popular tacos and tortas, in an infinite range of variants -soft and golden- and flavors, to pozole and menudo, passing through uchepos, corundas, zacahuil (“the largest tamale in the world”), without missing desserts such as ates, chongos and coyotas, drinks such as champurrado, tejate, tejuino or cebadina, in addition to some spirits (“agüita que ataranta”) such as mezcal, tequila, pulque, sotol, charanda, bacanora and an endless etcetera.
Add to all the previous ones and to the many more that were omitted (because of the reduced space and the precarious erudition in this matter), the tlayudas.
It is, in case anyone ignores it, a classic of Oaxacan cuisine. It consists of a large corn tortilla – it can measure up to 40 centimeters in diameter; its dimensions contrast with the most usual ones for head tacos, confetti size, with flavor and consistency very different from those of the traditional tortilla. It is usually complemented with Oaxaca cheese, roast jerky or beef cecina and hot sauce. Uncommon in Mexico City and its surroundings – where, on the other hand, it is relatively easy to find “Cuban” cakes (totally unknown in Cuba) or tamale cakes – the tlayudas achieved an unusual celebrity last Monday thanks to the fact that Juanita, a A street food vendor, unknown to the world until then, she saw in the inauguration of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport a niche opportunity for her worthy trade.
The anecdote, of course, has infinite antecedents. One of them: at the 2010 Bicentennial Expo, held in Silao, Guanajuato, with seven themed pavilions on the Independence of Mexico and exhibits on the independence processes of various Central and South American countries, there was, of course, at the disposal of visitors, a food area. At the entrance, clearly signposted, were the two main options: to the right, the “international cuisine”; to the left, the “Mexican cuisine”. For those who took the first, there were, in turn, three options: hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza… For malinchistas eager to change course, there were tacos, tostadas and “huaraches”.
On Monday, as far as was known, there were no actual international tourists at the brand new “international” airport in Mexico City. If there had been, many would have understood, from their own experience, how much wisdom is contained in the Mexican saying that teaches that “in the absence of bread, cemitas are good”… (Or, failing that, tlayudas).