Participates in HEPAC Weekend Cultural- and Language-Immersion Program
Tucson Daily Star writer Andi Berlin recently wrote about a weekend she spent across the border as a participant in a Spanish-immersion program in Nogales, Mexico. Her recollections of the trip are interesting, entertaining, informative and definitely worth sharing.
While in Mexico Andi was the guest of a host family in the Colonia Bella Vista area of Nogales, where she made friends, took Spanish classes, learned how to prepare tamales and fish tacos, went on outings and sang songs around a campfire while looking down at the city lights.
But perhaps most interesting were her descriptions of culinary encounters during outings in Nogales.
She shares details about sweet treats like eating freshly fried cinnamon churros and Viznaga, a candy from the barrel cactus and drinking a beverage made from chocolate and mescal.
And enjoying more common dishes like grilled elotes (corn on the cob), gorditas and chicharron tacos, and something a bit out of the ordinary – fried grasshoppers sold as a snack at a local Oaxacan festival in a grocery store parking lot.
Andi correctly surmises that much of the food prepared in Nogales originated from other places, as did many of the city’s residents. As people have come from various parts of Mexico to live in Nogales over the last few decades, they have brought their local dishes with them. In addition to Sonoran favorites like carne asada, you can also find culinary influences in Nogales from the neighboring state of Sinaloa and from states as far away as Oaxaca, Michoacan and Veracruz.
And she did find one food item that is puro Nogalense – tacos de perro, a Nogales original, Rather than being a dog taco as its name implies, a taco de pero is a simple taco dorado (fried taco) filled with potatoes mixed with a sprinkling of ground beef. Taco de Perro is also the name of a Nogales artists collective known as El Colectivo de Arte Taco de Perro A.C., a cultural association that holds an annual arts festival every August at the Nogales Art Museum and the Qahwah House Cafe on Avenida Obregon.
The weekend cultural immersion program in Nogales, Mexico that Andi participated in is sponsored by the Hogar de Esperanza y Paz (the home of hope and peace), also known as HEPAC, a local community support organization that provides meals and other assistance in their Nogales neighborhood. Click here to learn more about HEPAC and get more information about their weekend immersion program, which is open to anyone who would like to participate.
And to read more about Andi’s adventure, click here.