Hispanic contributions

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Todd Olsson
  • Hispanic Heritage Month committee member
Your alarm, as usual, went off late again this morning. Maybe it didn't even go off at all. Maybe the kids were running late, so you had to run the two minute drill to get them on the bus before you scurried off to work. Perhaps you couldn't find your keys--but you're still hungry, and you still need a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Whatever your excuse may be, there's no denying the fact that on-the-go meals have become increasingly popular in today's fast-paced, hectic world. The next time you microwave a hot pocket or grab something portable to eat, thank Juan Mendez for the idea.

Around the time of the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1921, Mexican folklore tells the tale of Mr. Mendez, a merchant in the streets of Ciudad Juarez, a city in the northern state of Chihuahua. Mr. Mendez wanted to keep the food at his taco stand warm for his customers, driving him to wrap his foods and meats in to large flour tortillas. To keep them extra warm and to enhance their portability, Mendez then wrapped his new concoction in several napkins. A culinary legend was born.

Mr. Mendez transported his treats back and forth from his street stand via his donkey, hence the name for his product, burrito, which literally means little donkey. The burrito is mainly streamlined in popularity throughout northern Mexico. Traditionally, they consist of one or two ingredients, seasoned to fit the palate of the native population.

Burritos in the United States are typically larger than the original Mexican dish and contain more than one ingredient besides the primary meat or vegetable filling.

Burritos are just one of many Hispanic contributions to the American culture. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through Oct. 15, a variety of activities and events are planned at Hanscom. Latin dance lessons will take place Sept. 30 and Oct. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Minuteman Club. A food tasting event will be held Sept. 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Memorial Park. The food tasting is free, but donations will be accepted. The rain location will be in the Tennis Bubble. To cap off the commemoration, a luncheon will be held at the Minuteman Club on Oct. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details will be provided about the luncheon as the date draws near. For further information about Hispanic Heritage Month activities, call 781-377-5030.