Living

Since When Were Black Beans ‘Upper Class’?

by


Dear
Mexican: I’m in this country illegally, but I have a current
passport from the country I am from, and I have an international
drivers license. I could not renew my California driver’s license
after my travel visa expired. Occasionally, I fly commercially within
the U.S., and these docs are always sufficient. I wish to take a
cruise to Alaska that leaves from and returns to Seattle, with no
stops in Canada. Will these docs work for that, or am I putting
myself at risk with the authorities?–La Estrella de Sinaloa

Dear
Sinaloa Star: While you can theoretically make it—your proposed
trip is domestic travel after all—it’s better not to put yourself
at risk, since the Obama administration is even cracking down on
cruise ships in their ridiculous search for the undocumented. Then
again, maybe you should take the trip. Go to Alaska, then smuggle
yourself into Canada, as the Great
Gabacho
North
continues to welcome Mexicans like they’re welcoming burritos
(Burrito Brothers in Toronto? Not too bad for a Canadian burrito).
According to the Mexican Migration Project, the number of temporary
workers who found employment in Canada grew from about 7,000
cabrones
in
1998 to nearly 18,000 in 2007. And those hosers are so darn nice that
academics writing for the
Migraciones
Internacionales
journal
last year opined, “Although results reported here suggest that
American guest workers fare much bet­ter in the labor market than
those without documents, they still do not achieve the same level of
economic welfare as their counterparts in Canada, earning less money
per hour, working fewer hours per week, remaining abroad fewer months
per year, and thus earning 28 percent less income during a season of
work.” You heard the eggheads,
raza:
time to push Aztlán into Alberta!


I
must be one low-class individual. According to the news tonight, Taco
Bell is introducing an “upper class” menu that includes
black beans next month. I never even heard of black beans until I
moved from Los Angeles to Denver. Grandma always made pinto beans and
I used to (and still do on occasion) eat them by the bowl. Since when
did black beans become “higher class”?–
Dumbfounded
in Denver


Dear
Gabacho Wab: Beans as status symbols? You know it! Although black
beans are a part of the Mexican diet, it’s only traditionally found
in the southern and Gulf Coast states; the rest of the country sticks
with pinto beans. But black beans became associated with Mexican food
in
los
Estados Unidos

mostly
because of food trends that
gabachos
loved
and Mexicans didn’t bother. They started popping up at “higher-end”
Mexican restaurants during the Southwestern cuisine movement of the
1980s, the same fad that brought us fajitas and the abomination known
as the Southwestern (or Santa Fe) chicken salad, an
ensalada
that’s
unknown in New Mexico. The megachain Chipotle, which emphasizes its
use of hormone-free meat, continued the use of black beans, further
searing into the American psyche that those legumes are somehow
healthier than pintos, even though both are equally good for eaters.
Now, Taco Bell is following in their footsteps with the use of
frijoles
negros
,
knowing that
gabachos
now
associate black beans with trendy food, and the humble pinto with
beaners. I will give Taco Bell credit regarding one part of their
Cantina Bell project: while they didn’t get a Mexican to head it,
they got some Venezuelan
chica
instead
of a
gabacho
like
Rick Bayless, thereby keeping this atrocity in the Latino family, but
not daring to pin it on an actual Mexican. Now
that’s
progress!
 
Ask
the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook,
follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or ask him a video question at
youtube.com/askamexicano!