Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fearing Mexico and A Big Enchilada Recipe

Many Americans are afraid of Mexico or at any rate, the Mexicans who have emigrated to the United States. That’s probably why agreeing on a reasonable policy concerning the 11 to 12 million undocumented people living among us has been so intractable. Are they really alien (a la E.T.) or are they our friends, neighbors, and co-workers? And do some persist in calling them “illegal aliens” in an attempt to visualize them as the former?

These issues are explored fully in i put the fear of méxico in ‘em the play that premiered at the Chicago Dramatists Theatre presented by Teatro Vista. Taking place in a back alley of Tiajuana, the play, written by Matthew Paul Olmos, has two couples, one white American and one Mexican confronting each other about these issues. Do we look past and through each other as if the other is not even there? Does the Mexican couple really need to hold the American couple up at gunpoint to get their attention? How do we react when our children reach out to the Other in friendship or in dating? Is a real relationship possible with all the factors that rear up to divide us? Teatro Vista dramatized the dilemmas quite effectively forcing us to examine our true feelings about them. i put the fear of méxico in ‘em is  no longer playing, but hopefully it will arrive at a theatre in your city or get revived in Chicago. Therefore, I won’t reveal the ending. You should see it and contemplate it for yourselves.

In the meantime, don’t be afraid to try this recipe for low-fat enchilada casserole. At least we can enjoy learning each other’s foods although this recipe seems like an American adaptation. Once we know each others’ cuisine, it’s impossible to feel alienated from each other. The preparation time is about 20 minutes and it serves four to six people.

                                                Low Fat Enchilada Casserole

 2 14 oz. Cans of Black or Red Beans with most of liquid drained
½ cup chopped onions
chili powder, ground cumin, ground pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup water
cooking oil
non-stick covering or margarine or butter
11.5 oz jar taco sauce
6 corn tortillas
1 ¼ cup shredded 2% sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese
2 green onions finely chopped, shredded lettuce chopped fine, tomatoes, and fat free sour cream for garnish.

Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit. Grease a casserole dish or spray with nonstick covering.
Heat cooking oil in a skillet. Add the onions, garlic, and other spices and cook for about five minutes. Add water and beans and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Lightly cover bottom of 9” by 13” casserole dish with half of taco sauce. Place three corn tortillas in bottom of pan cutting tortillas to fit. Spread half of bean/onion mixture over it. Sprinkle half of cheese. Repeat the layers.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions and other toppings. 


Janet Parker said...

Yes, I saw the play and was moved by how racism can affect "the other". Janet Parker

Lisa Sachs said...

Thank you, Janet. I thought that Teatro Vista did a great job of getting their message across.