On December 31, our young neighbor Areli and I went to Coatepec to run some errands. We had to go to an animal feed store for rabbit food and to inquire about baby pigs whose mother had stopped suckling them. The store is opposite the market. The owner is very knowledgeable and helpful. Areli explained that one of the pigs in the small pig nursery behind her house had had three piglets die after our recent bout with cold and had stopped nursing the survivors. The owner explained what the dueña of the nursery should do and prescribed some temporary food solutions. Areli also bought food supplement for her two very healthy rabbits. Most of the time, Areli and here sister walk down the road outside the colonia and select appropriate greens for the rabbits, but she said they also should have some supplement.
We then went to the market. Areli and I both bought veggies, but Areli also had a special mission. Her sister had manage to get $70 pesos during Las Posadas in our neighborhood and wanted Areli to use it to buy her a shirt. Las Posadas is when the neighborhood kids go door to door and sing for some small amount of money. They bring with them a decorated branch of a special tree. I always associate it with the Jesse tree, but I'm not sure I'm right. During Las Posadas, each main street in our Colonia sponsors a night. The people of the colonia sing and carry candles in procession. They deliver to designated homes or capillas statues of Mary and Joseph who then remain till the next night. They are awaiting the arrival of Jesus. We paid for the piñata that was used for the Las Posadas celebration on our street. it cost about three dollars. Jim has some pictures which I may or may not put up in the future (he stores about 1000 pictures on his camera at a time so access on my part is a bit iffy).
Anyway, Areli and I went to a stall which sells a huge variety of t-shirts and blouses in the market and picked one out for Rosy.
On the 31st of December, groups mostly of boys and men gather together and go out to sing and dance and generally to behave in delightfully foolish ways. They dress as women and babies as well as old men. The idea is to honor the old New Year, represented as not just one but many old men and to welcome the new, a boy with a diaper on. The boys and men sometimes also dress as women. As of now, I still don't get it all.
Here is a picture of some of the boys in a group in the mercado:
Here is a picture of the creche that was sponsored by the mercado. It was quite large.
Kids and piñatas go together at most celebrations in Mexico, though I think Buenanoche, or Christmas Eve might be the most important. On December 31 there were still plenty of piñatas for sale for New Years Eve.
The five-pointed star (which these are) is the most traditional piñata form. It is descended from los Aztecas and probaby earlier people as well.
To change the subject completely, Jim and I were walking along the road from the bus a few days ago and saw that the flowers below had started blooming. They are perhaps a quarter of an inch in diameter, a pure yellow, almost flat, most unusual. I picked just a couple and put them in a vase.
And finally, flowers for breakfast. This is gasparito season. Gasparitos are beautiful, deep red, dagger shaped flowers that people boil and serve in scrambled eggs, beans, and various other dishes. So when Doña Gloria came by on Wednesday selling some, I bought them. I buy them every year, but I've had no idea how to cook them, so unfortunately, they've gone to waste until now. This year, Areli and her mother gave me cooking lessons. Here are some pictures of the process.
Above you see a cluster of buds, the gasparito flower and the part you take out of the flower before cooking. You eat the buds and the flowers. The part you take out which I think is the pistil and/or stamen is apparently too bitter and tough to eat. This is definitely not instant oatmeal. It takes time to separate the flowers from their innards.
Here they are waiting to boil.
In the picture above, they've been boiled. Next, you fry them lightly in oil and add eggs and scramble, as below
The gasparitos really don't have any flavor of their own. Per Areli's instructions, I added a bit of oregano to the boiling water. The gasparitos do add a pleasantly crunchy texture to the eggs (huevos revueltos en español), but no flavor. They are very popular, and they can be free, since all you have to do is walk into the country a bit to find them littering the ground at this time of year. I wonder what nutrition they provide. They certainly bulk up the eggs and, as I said, add a pleasant texture.