Why Don't Mexicans Like Mexican Restaurants in the United States?EXPAND
Mark Dancey

Why Don't Mexicans Like Mexican Restaurants in the United States?

DEAR MEXICAN: I love ethnic foods, and I always ask people of ethnic origins which local restaurants they like to eat at. Whenever I ask Mexicans what Mexican restaurants they like best, the answer is always "I don't like the way any of them make their food." I live in Phoenix, which has a Mexican restaurant run by Mexicans on every corner. Don't tell me they all Americanize their food for us gabachas. What gives?

Fajita-Less in Phoenix

DEAR GABACHA: Phoenix and the cities around it have a great Mexican-food scene, from the alta cocina fare at Barrio Café to the Globe-style buttered burritos at Casa Reynoso in Tempe and un chingo of Sonoran eateries with their fabulous caldo de queso, the greatest soup on Earth. But it's never good enough for Mexicans. Oh, we'll go out to eat at Mexican spots, but no one can cook like our mamí or primos during a carne asada Sunday, especially not in el Norte, because . . . well, because, okay? Don't question Mexicans! Such Mexican arrogance filters down to our soccer squad—and now you know why El Tri won't ever get to even the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup until Cuauhtémoc himself becomes our forward. And I'm not talking about Blanco. . . .

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DEAR MEXICAN: I moved to the United States 15 years ago from Mexico as a student, and now I am a full U.S. citizen with a great job. I'm now married (also a Mexican girl who came to the U.S. with a student visa), and we have a son born here. I'm aware of the several challenges my son will have to face in his life as a Mexican-American, but I would like to prepare myself and read all I can so I can help him develop without any traumas and complexes and can be a happy individual.

Atento in Austin

DEAR ATTENTIVE IN AUSTIN: N'ombre, you realize that EVERY kid born of Mexican parents in the United States comes out immediately fucked up in the caveza? Not only do the Americans consider him a perpetual potential wetback, but the Mexican relatives will also always ridicule how un-Mexican he is. He gets marked with the psychological baggage of being from ni de aquí ni de allá (neither from here nor there) and having to live up that legendary quote in Selena by the Tex-Mex martyr's fictional father: "We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It's exhausting!" I mean, pioneering Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gamio was writing about this pathology back in 1930, when he introduced pocho to the world in his Mexican Immigration to the United States. So while you are a good papí to want to help him navigate los Estados Unidos as a Mexican-American, know that it'll be harder to get him to adulthood without any psychological baggage than it is to get Americans to give a shit about all the dead in Mexico's drug wars caused by their love of heroin.

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DEAR MEXICAN: The other day, I was listening to the morning show of a popular Los Angeles rock station, and the caller contest was "worst smells" or something along those lines. A caller referred to his involvement as a military "adviser" to some unnamed South or Central American nation and spoke of the horrible smells of the charred remains of Sandinistas, jungle and napalm, post-U.S. air strike. The giddy DJs then reveled in the idea of smoldering Sandinistas as though they were a plate of sizzling-hot fajitas. Seeing as the most popular slurs for Latinos involve food, is it safe to assume that most gabachos are really just closet Hannibal the Cannibals?

Gabachas Like to Eat Me

DEAR POCHO: Nah, they're It, shape-shifting according to our fears. Learn from the Losers, and ignore them—they ain't nothing but payasos, anyway!

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano and Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

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