I doubt most Americans can remember a time when so many of us were gathered around large screens to watch the World Cup. Having had a crush on an Arsenal player in my 20s, my interest was always peeked but this year, it’s on every screen as I traipse through the hotel lobby bars and restaurants. During the early contests, in the heat of the game, my youngest child asked me, “Why are you cheering for Mexico?”
In case you’re not following it, the Netherlands came out winners in a World Cup round against Mexico. With the score tied at 1-1, Arjen Robben got himself into the box and won a penalty. Was it a penalty or was it a dive? That answer will remain unknown.
What I do know is why I do and will cheer for Mexico. Mexico is our neighbor – certainly more so from my own vantage point in the desert Southwest but it butts up squarely against the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Despite incredible travel opportunities, Mexico is and always will be the country that I’ve visited most. I love the colors and the food and the language and the diversity of terrain from crystal blue waters and pyramids to the cool pines of the Copper Canyon and the extreme density of culture in Mexico City.
But I also cheer for Mexico because their prosperity is good for us, especially those of us in border communities. In any given year, Arizona experiences more than 24 million legal border crossings by Mexican nationals. I have no idea what the number is for California or Texas but would be surprised if our crossings do not pale compared to those. They come for leisure activities like visiting friends, vacation and shopping and they come for business. Because of our proximity, less than one percent of the visitors fly to our state. Many are daytime crossers and the rest visit via automobile.
Each and every day, Mexican visitors spend over $7,350,000 in Arizona stores, eateries, hotels and other businesses and in some border communities, more than 50% of the sales tax revenue is attributable to Mexico.
As a state and as a country we wrestle with border issues of immigration, useful guest worker programs, unaccompanied minors, and human trafficking. There is no simple solution to these issues but there is no denying that if it is bad for Mexico, it is bad for us. That is why I cheer for Mexico.
70 percent of Mexican recipes rely on beans. As a college student, they were my staple and now, my boys love them as much.
Adapted from Seasoned with the Sun
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 cup pinto beans
- 5 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 sliced onion
- 3 Tbs chopped green chiles
- Chile powder
- For a non-vegetarian option add salted pork or diced bacon
Rinse beans and soak them in water overnight. Discard water and cook in boiling water. Add the garlic, onion, and chiles. If the beans dry at any time, add more water. Simmer for 3 – 6 hours until tender.
For variations, try adding a bottle of your favorite salsa, cumin or tomatoes. I often do these in a slow cooker for ease.
Cheer for Mexico!