Cultural Lesson

There's been a crumpled beer can on the other side of the chain link fence that separates my train platform from the grass hill beside it. Every morning this week, while waiting for the train (2 days out of 5 in the POURING rain), I've tried to figure out if the beer can is really labeled the way that I think it is. It seems to suggest that it is beer... plus clam and tomato juice. Clamato is the one word I can really read on the discarded aluminum can. And it really looks like a beer can.

After a couple days I was getting ready to get down on my knees and try to reach under the fence to confirm this. Fortunately instead a friend with laptop and a wifi card was able to look it up for me on the train ride home.

Yes, indeed a chelada or michelada is a mixed drink starting with beer and adding something like clamato. Bud Light Chelada as a combination of lager, clamato, lime juice, and salt.

"The drink dates back to the 1940s, when mixing beer with hot sauce or salsa became popular in Mexico. In recent years, the drink has begun to become popular in the United States, and now various ready-made mixes are marketed and sold to US consumers."

Mystery solved, cultural learning absorbed, all without dirtying my pants or hands to excavate the discarded beer can.
Not sure whether I will venture for a taste test...but I can still compliment myself on the value of living in such a multi-cultural neighborhood.


Andra Sue said...

Yep, this is a Mexican thing. I've never had it, but it's on menus in San Antonio and I've seen other people drink it. Typically also includes A LOT of cracked black pepper. Yuck!

james wells said...

Hot DAMN! As a lover of spicey food I have long bemoaned the lack of spicey beverages. Now you're telling me that Mexicans have been mixing hot sauce and BEER since the 1940s? Why has no one told me this?!?!?! Claire, once again your blog proves invaluable. Thank you.

jck said...

maybe it is the resurgence of morning sickness, but bleh! The thought of clam juice, tomato juice and beer makes me want to throw up. Thanks a lot.

Claire said...

No, it sounds a little troubling to my tummy too. But I guess it could surprise me. Ironically there's a new uncrumpled beer can on the other side of the fence this morning. Much clearer to read.


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