Putting Together Traditional Pozole For My Birthday Party And Gig

I became Pozolera For A Day. It was time to prepare for our annual end-of-June bash, and we decided to celebrate my birthday on the 25th. Maria, who usually prepares her excellent pozole for our parties, was leaving that very day for Chicago (a bad choice, if you ask me, with the weather and all). But she said that she would cut up the fixings and prepare the chile, and it’d be easy for me to do the rest. An innocent enters the world of pozole. What was I thinking??

I like pozole, and I had a general idea of how it’s made, so I agreed. And thus began a long day for me. Besides getting to perform in our rock band, I made pozole! We had purchased all the ingredients the day before – four or five pounds each of pork and chicken. So at about 11:30 in the morning I put two large vaporera pots on the stove, each about half filled with water, each with a clove of garlic and a whole onion, and turned on the burners. We have a small stove, well over 40 years old, and the vaporeras didn’t fit on the stove top without touching.

And at this point we both got nervous. What the heck do we know about making pozole?

But we moved on. About an hour an a half later, the water had begun to boil, and I had been cutting the meat into small pieces. I added the meat the cooking water and waited. Maria said when the meat had begun to cook, I should toss in small handfuls of rock salt, and I did that. About an hour later I added the liquidified chiles – red chile for the pork, made with guajillo and ancho chiles, and green chile for the chicken, made with fresh poblanos. I also added the prepared corn (thank goodness I didn’t have to do that the night before!) and at this point the wonderful smell intensified, and my two huge pots filled the kitchen with the wonderful aroma of pozole.

Meanwhile, in the world outside the kitchen, our large patio was being transformed with white tables and colorful (new!) chairs, and the stage was being set up with fairly large equipment for our performance. I normally help with this heavy job, but today I was otherwise occupied. Lots of photos follow.

Early morning:

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Well, we’re farmers, too! Later:

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And then:

Yeah – it rained.

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But our crew kept on working. It was lucky that the rain came early.

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And working:

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We had help with the serving and doing of so many small things that must be handled. Nena, and Lupe, nieces, took care of that, including taking charge of the youngsters that come in without being invited, and get excited running around  and playing hide-and-seek, ignoring the barriers we had put up to keep them from getting into our garage and the bags of fertilizer and seed.

IMG_3488The guests began to arrive.

Josefina brought a gift:

IMG_3489I’d never seen such an amazing petunia before. And she brought a beautiful hanging basket of different colors!

Here it is:

IMG_3490We got a bit of a late start, and when we began to play, I admit, I found it very difficult to to focus. There was a small group of little boys running through our garden, grabbing at each other’s food and pieces of lemons (who’d have thought?) and it was the very first night that I saw June bugs this year, and they were attracted to the bright light on our stage.  They adorned my hair, crawled up my bare arms with their stickery little legs, found spots they enjoyed on my keyboards, and generally made nuisances of themselves.

Things improved, and we played until – it began to rain in earnest. That ended my day as a pozolera, and happily, the pozole really turned out to be tasty, especially when I had time to enjoy it today.

Tomorrow we head back to the fields with 1400 liters of water and 5 workers – gotta keep the young corn plants happy and healthy!

 

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