Do you want to travel the world exploring exotic cultures, languages, art and nature? Why, yes, of course you do! So rather than spending months scouring Expedia and spending thousands of your hard-earned dollars, simply stop by Retreat by Random House every second Wednesday. We’ll help you experience alluring locales like Korea, South Africa, Israel and many more.
Last week we payed a visit to Russia; this week, Mexico!
¡Hola! ¿Cómo estas?
When your fellow book club members arrive at your door for your Mexican-themed book club, greet them with this friendly and enthusiastic welcome. Hola pronounced [oh-lah] means hello. And ¿cómo estas? means how are you?
Appies and Bevvies
If you live anywhere in North America, you will most likely be familiar with a variety of Mexican dishes, made in different ways depending on the chef. You will also most likely have your ‘faves’ so combining these with what’s easiest to serve to a large group will result in a very tasty, quick and convenient buffet of Mexican deliciousness.
Tortilla chips served with salsa, sour cream and guacamole is easy and always a winner. You can also set up a make-your-own tortilla stations with crunchy or soft tortillas, chicken and beef (seasoned with taco seasoning), lettuce, tomato, salsa, refried beans and Mexican rice.
I also love this recipe for mini taco cups. I made them for a Mexican party I attended, and they were a huge hit!
Once you put all this food out, trust me, your guests will know exactly what to do with it.
As for drinks, tequila is a popular spirit in Mexico and if your guests are margarita fans, they are an easy and refreshing option. Alcohol-free margaritas are also delicious! Beer is another popular drink in Mexico with Corona and Dos Equis being two of the most common brands.
For serious Mexican cooking, such as chimichangas, burritos, fajitas, gorditas, quesadillas and tamales, try:
The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider
Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid
Paletas by Fany Gerson
Now to get to the nitty gritty of all book clubs. The books! Mexico plays a central role in all three of these suggested picks: Irma Voth by Miriam Toews, Trouble by Kate Christensen and Mexican High by Liza Monroy.
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
19-year-old Irma Voth lives in a Mennonite community in northern Mexico, surrounded by desert and both physically and culturally isolated from the surrounding towns and cities. It’s been six years since her family up and left Canada to escape the prying eyes of the government and preserve their religious freedom.
But Irma and her younger sister, Aggie, are forced to flee again. As they begin to understand the truth of the tragedy that has their family in its grip, Irma and Aggie use their love as a source of strength to help each other move on from their past lives and work toward a future that can truly become anything they want it to be.
Read an excerpt here.
Trouble by Kate Christensen
Josie is a Manhattan psychotherapist living a comfortable life with her husband and daughter. Raquel is a Los Angeles rock star with a platinum album and the attendant money and fame. When Josie realizes her marriage is over, and Raquel finds herself at the center of a scandal, these old friends take off for Mexico City where sweltering heat, new acquaintances, and tequila-fueled nights rapidly spiral out of control. Trouble is a bewitching tale of lust, loyalty, and the limits of friendship.
Read an excerpt here.
Mexican High by Liza Monroy
Mexican High is a coming-of-age story about identity, belonging, and first love. In a setting rife with sex, drugs, and political corruption, it is also a revealing look at elite Mexican society and its freedoms, dangers, and excesses. Monroy’s flawless evocation of the brink of adulthood, in many ways mirrored by the turmoil of Mexico City itself, makes this a truly memorable story.
Just For Fun
Mexico is a country full of culture. The homes are decorated with bright colours and textiles which can easily be incorporated into vibrant party decorations. Green, yellow, red and blue are all popular colours.
If you are able to purchase or borrow some Mexican ponchos and sombreros, they make a very festive addition.
In honour of this week’s Mexican-themed book club; Cass, Lindsey, Ainsley and I decided to pay a visit to our local Mexican taco and tequileria and enjoy some truly delicious Mexican food.
We enjoyed quesadillas, chimichangas and a very interesting ring of tacos. Needless to say we were absolutely stuffed and satisfied.
Next stop, Morocco!