Dear Mexican: OK … sour cream! Growing up in a Mexican family, my mom never used sour cream on the food she cooked. Now, when she comes to visit me, I take her to Mexican restaurants here in the Dallas area. Almost every time she orders an entrée, she always asks me why they offer sour cream as a side item.
Is it me, or is it a gabacho thing with the “need to have sour cream thing on my Tex-Mex food”? Am I too old-fashioned, too old-school?
I’ll Love Tony Romo Forever
Dear Pocha: Your mom might not use sour cream, but si es old-school, I guarantee you that she uses crema fresca, or crema salada, or even jocoque if she’s from Jalisco.
Those are the Mexican versions of sour cream—in other words, a dairy product that enlivens dishes with a tart milkiness. When Mexicans came to the United States in the early 1900s and started making Mexican food, the substitute for crema was sour cream, because there was no crema in los Estados Unidos at the time due to a lack of concentration of Mexicans. It’s the same reason why Tex-Mex food uses cheddar cheese and that pointless cabbage salad on the side of a combo plate—you make due with what you tienes.
I don’t have a problem with it, but real Mexicans like you do, because ustedes can’t comprehend that mestizaje is a two-way calle that makes our culture thrive. Man, y’all must also be mad at Mexicans in the U.S. for learning English instead of staying monolingual in Spanish—good luck with that!
Dear Mexican: I’m a gay gabacho who has been in a relationship with a Mexican for seven years. His family knows about us, and they love me. They treat me almost like a celeb whenever they come to Dallas and visit, or when we go to Mexico. At first, they didn’t like me for the simple reason that they didn’t trust white people. Once they got to know me, that was all over with. His mother is the family matriarch and treats me as if I am one of her own children.
However, whenever we get around his family or his friends in Mexico, my boyfriend acts like I am not even there. I actually spend more time with everyone else. (Between my broken Spanish and their broken English, we communicate rather well.) Is his distance from me caused by the fact that I am white, or that we are in a gay relationship? I ask only because his friends and family don’t have a problem with it, so this stumps me.
Dear Gaybacho: I can’t answer this question fully as a cishet cabrón, but I can offer this: Mexican families don’t take kindly to their kids being grabby-grabby with their significant others in front of them, because no child of any Mexican parents has ever had sex.
Your papi chulo obviously likes you—otherwise, you’d never have met the family in the first place—but he might be taking the commandment I just shared with you a bit too seriously. Check in with him, and see what’s up. And if it doesn’t work out? Get one of his male relatives. As I’ve said before in this column, what’s the difference between a straight hombre and a gay one? Three beers.
Ask the Mexican at email@example.com; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!