Saturday, July 17, 2010

posole for the soul-y

I think posole might have some of the same healing elements that menudo has so I'm thinking it might not be as much about the tripe as I had once thought. But I am making my posole now with chicken thighs since they seem to be the only meat I can afford. I start by making like a chicken broth with celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, jalapenos and peppercorns. That broth is enriched with a smoked pork neck or turkey neck. The rich, (real)broth being seasoned with chili powder and cumin, cayenne might be key I guess.

Everything about menudo was a little mysterious and magical growing up actually. When I was little and to about my early-teens my mom & dad would take us to the mexican dances at these mysterious 'halls' in surrounding small towns in Ohio and Indiana. The live bands were happening and there was always plenty of alcohol in little plastic cups around to make it easy to get into another mind-set and lose track of time in these unfamiliar landscapes. Everyone would dance and they would break up the tex-mex country type sound with rock and roll for the kids and we'd have our moment on the floor to show our stuff. I had some James Brown moves as a really small kid that I myself thought were pretty right on the money. Later it became about the fabulous dresses and shoes I'd debut at these events. Then I sorta drifted into a way different scene and the two worlds really couldn't meld, so I quit going altogether BUT the MAIN event really was the 'after' dance drunken ride back to Fort Wayne with my dad at the wheel and the only thing that mattered was that we were gonna get to eat some really good menudo. He could always get us there even though I remember it was sort of a death ride of chance. And the place we'd eat it was not nice, it was all about the soup. It was a truck stop area of town near the slaughter house so the smell of old blood alerted my drunken head we were nearing this miracle soup.

So menudo is supposed to cure hangovers and prevent them. I think it works. But it may do even more than that and I'm trying to figure out if posole also shares some of this magical power. There's something soothing about soup in general right but that's not all. It calms the soul sort of instantly and then you start to have a feeling of being back in the womb or some shit. I've never had tripe in anything else, so I just assumed it must be something about that weird cut of stomach lining that slides down your throat that may hold some relief that you haven't drank all the lining out of your own stomach. But maybe its the broth, the combo of spices with the chili that can soothe the soul.

Menudo is like the chuppacabra though in Brooklyn, you hear about it but never actually see it. Maybe someone will have it on their menu but no one ever has it available. I have to make my own soon.

Until then, I think posole is really its healthier (although tripe is not bad for you as far as I can tell) less time consuming cute cousin that can do the job almost as well.

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