Many dishes that come to mind when Mexican culture is mentioned started in Jalisco. Interestingly enough, the majority initiated from the fusion of indigenous cuisine with the newly introduce Spanish elements, like …well …mainly lard. Think enchiladas, quesadillas, gorditas, tamales, pozole, menudo and the infamously spicy and delicious tortas ahogadas. We’re going to make you really hungry, so hope you have a snack at hand.
Enchiladas, which literally mean “to make spicy,” are probably the most well-known Mexican dish. There are green ones (made with tomatillo salsa) or red ones (made with chile de arbol). The corn tortillas are dipped and then rolled up around fillings – sometimes cheese, chicken, beans etc. Originally the Mayan people wrapped up fish in corn tortillas, which the Spanish liked, and thusly added large quantities of the aforementioned funk – lard. Yeah, that’s right. You might be able to find the healthy version nowadays, but you inherently don’t like them as much (and probably don’t know why …until now.)
Gorditas have a similar story: a thick corn tortilla pocket stuffed with meaty or cheesy (or both) goodness. Gordita means “little fatty” which is exactly what you’ll be after you eat too many of them, thanks to the Spanish. Sometimes it’s even stuffed with deep fried, salted pork skin called Chicarron. Yeah, that’s right. I can hear you getting fatter.
Tortas Ahogadas are a special kind of sandwich on bolillo bread (it has a hard crunchy crust and a soft interior) that is immersed (or “drowned”) in the hottest salsa you’ve ever tasted in your life. The sandwich usually consists of (more) fried pork, but may also have chicken, beans or cheese as well. It remains crunchy, despite being dunked until bubbles rise to the surface in set-your-ass-on-fire salsa made from chile de arbol, because of the consistency of the bread. If you can’t handle that heat (which basically means you’re a wus) you can have it media ahogada (half-drowned), but don’t be surprised if they chuckle and nudge each other with their elbows. Wus. If you’re not sweating, you’re not in Mexico.
I personally like to imagine it was in this lard-infused frenzy that the Mexican people decided to revolt against the Spanish. I know that’s what lard does to me. It makes me down-right ornery. It also makes me up my tequila ration …which is always a good thing. Tequila calms even the savage beast.