Martha Garcia: Transcript

Mexican food expert
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My name is Martha Garcia. I come from Mexico. We have some friends that moved to Marshalltown a long time ago—probably 13 years ago. And they told us about a Mexican restaurant. And we like the food, the tradition, and we tried to make more food like really Mexican food—like a pescato frito, like a fish fry, or mole--like is really traditional for us. I mean, show the people what it is a little different. It is not like a Mexican Texas food. It is really Mexican food.

Every state has a different kind of food—like a mole. I give my mole, what we used to use in Jalisco--that is my state. But if you go to Puebla, you need to do without seeds, but you need to do by hand; they made it by hand. I give my recipe what is the easier way to live in the United States. But if I go to Mexico, my mother-in-law and my mother make the mole little different than me.

And if you go to another place, as example—posole—it is a traditional meal for us in the night. Everybody go out, and instead of go and take an ice cream, they go to take a--not supper because we have the big supper--we have like at two o’clock. But at eight o’clock, everybody is getting a little hungry and go to eat. And a lot of places where they are open they have—I don’t know how to say it in English, but this one in Spanish is antojitos. It is something like a little snacks, good snacks. Okay, you can go ask for posole, tacos, tostados, sopes, enchiladas. The posole in each different state is really different. In my state it is red; in Colima, it is white. Why? Because they don’t use the chile.

One time, my grandpa went to Vera Cruz; it is really at the end of the Republica--the Mexican Republic. He went over there and he asked for sopes. And in my town, the sopes is like the size of the crispy toast or something like that. Well when he went to Vera Cruz, the sopes is like the size of one serving plate. And he asked for six, and the lady asked him, “Are you sure you want to eat the six?” And she said, “I don’t want to be mean with you. I can only bring you two. If you done, I will buy for you the other four!”

When I come to Marshalltown—in September 1996, we decide to move. We build the restaurant, and I arrive in here, September 15. Everybody move, settle down, put the kids in school, and open the restaurant. Of course, the first month, the people are afraid to eat the fajitas, saying, “What is that?” I mean, most of the time, I need to stay in the table describing what is the food and tell them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not hot. We told you when something is hot. This one is not hot; this is good.” And they told me, “Well, tell me what it is okay.” I describe what is a plate, and I tell them how it tasted, and they decide to try it. A lot of plates they don’t want to try--like menudo--everybody think it is yucky, it is not very good. Well we grew up with that one, and for us it is not that way! My kids say sometime that it is not very good, but, oh well. Right now I am going to start doing in my home hamburger and macaroni and cheese and pizzas, But it’s--sometime my kids come back to the tradition of saying “Mommy! We need mole now!” or “We need carnitas.”