Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Latino Contribution To U.S. Culture: Gas Station Horchata (Yummy!)

Photo by Blog Utopia

If you've never tried the rice based drink called "horchata," you are missing a treat. The first time I had horchata I was in Hermosillo, Mexico, doing volunteer work in a slum. We were hot and dusty but full of positive energy. A Mexican woman came out of her little house with a big glass vat of  something...I thought it was iced milk.

My first mouthful was a revelation. It was light and yet slightly creamy, sweet but not cloying, exotic and yet oddly familiar. It was both exotic and "comfort food."

Though there are many variations of "horchata" around the world, click here for Wikipedia, Mexican horchata is based on rice and contains cinnamon. Sometimes, not always, Mexican horchata contains vanilla.

For many years, I could only get horchata by finding powder packets in the ethnic food sections of well-stocked grocery stores. Sometimes, in Latino neighborhood markets, I can find the bottled ready-to-drink version.

But, recently, I was in a gas station fueling my big ol' truck, and I was told "free grande size beverage with any fill up." I was heading for a hot cocoa when I saw one of the options was HORCHATA.

Wow. This stuff used to be so hard to find and now it's appearing in gas stations.

Try it. You'll like it.

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