Anyone living in a foreign country cannot resist a little (or a lot) of amateur anthropologizing. I listen avidly to my walking companions’ descriptions of the round of groups, pot lucks, baby showers, children’s parties, birthday parties and other events that they attend and that tie together life in the Mexican provinces.

I’ll spare you the anthropologizing. But I do find it interesting to report from time to time on what is actually eaten in Mexico as opposed to the recipes presented in books for the American public. Last time I reported on what my neighbors would serve as an economical home meal. Here we’re going to the other end of the scale.

The last two days we’ve been dissecting a wedding that took place last week end. Here’s the menu, served to the 650 (yes, 650) guests in the marquee in an ex-hacienda.

To start.

Jamon serrano on Italian chapata, a polenta of some kind, and salmon with cranberries.

For the main course.

Smoked pork loin with blackberry sauce

For dessert.

A choice of different desserts

To drink.

A choice of rum, brandy, tequila or cognac plus soft drinks.

That was for the comida at the usual mid-afternoon hour. The party went on, the dancing to a live band was enjoyed by all so that about about 10 a cena was called for. For the roughly half the guests that remained, there were tacos al pastor.

I find it hard to wrap my mind around serving 650 people in a place without any kitchen facilities. And I was interested in the commentary that midday weddings were more expensive than evening ones because you had to serve two meals (though it is true that for an evening wedding you have to serve breakfast about about 5 or 6 in the morning) and because the staff and the facility have to be rented for longer.

Edit. By sheer coincidence, Bob Mrotek has a post on a rancho wedding about 30 miles away from this society wedding. Check it out. Oh those carnitas. The only way to have carnitas is from a whole, freshly slaughtered hog with all the little odd bits, the innards, the skin, the lot.

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